Starting a business can be expensive, but it doesn't need to be. If you're cash strapped you can get set up and ready to trade for much less than you think. Here's a few money-saving tips on how to start your own business on a budget.
Get a free website
Go to a web designer and you're looking at a lot of money for them to build you a custom website. The great news is that there are now a huge range of tools that mean you can build your site yourself without any coding skills. Wordpress is what's known as a CMS (content management system) meaning you can get a site online without any technical knowledge. First, you'll need to register a domain name and get hosting. Most web hosting companies will have a 1 click install to get Wordpress setup immediately. All you need to do now is download a theme which customises the design of the site. There are lots of free and paid for themes available online, the most popular theme library is www.themeforest.net Then just enter your content and your business is now online!
Register your company
When registering your business it's always a good idea to get advice from a lawyer or accountant who can advise you on the best type of business for your needs. Professional advice doesn't come cheap however, and you may look to research company formation and register your company online. You can do this direct with Companies House in the UK on their website for around £20, much less than a lawyer would charge to do it for you.
Get a 'real' phone number
Having a landline phone number gives your business some credibility. It gives the impression you have a fancy office somewhere despite the fact you might still be working from home. To get a business landline number you don't need to get an expensive new line installed. Instead, you can get a virtual phone number from Skype that redirects either to your PC or mobile phone. This is great because it means you can have a landline number but you're able to answer it remotely, great for when you're out and about!
Get a proper address
Before you get your first office or shop you may be trading from home but don't want to share your home address with your customers. This is where a virtual mailbox comes in that enables you to rent a physical mailbox and collect your post at a time convenient for you. Most mailboxes allow you to register your business to this address as well. Look out for places like Mail Boxes etc available on most high streets.
Find somewhere to work
Working from home is always a great place to start but isn't always practical if you need to escape the kids and concentrate on your work. Research co-working spaces in your area and you'll find you can rent a desk for not a lot of money. London has some great co-working spaces available for new businesses such as the Google Campus in Old Street. It's also a great place to meet new business people at a similar stage to yourself. Another great place to work is your local coffee shop, they often have fast, reliable Wi-Fi and can be a place to work for the price of a cappuccino and a muffin.
If you have any extra money saving tips or questions, comment here or reach me on twitter @twr88