How to Start a Business on Shoestring Budget

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A lot of people are hesitant to start their own business. The reason for this hesitation is that they think that starting a business requires a substantial initial investment. This can be true for some businesses but there are ways to start a business with minimal investment.

The market has changed and people are no longer doing business the way they used to. Millennials have changed the way business is done and the advent of technology has also changed how we do business.

Here are the things to contemplate when you are considering starting a business:

Hiring interns: Unpaid interns in departments such as traditional marketing, and social media marketing can really help. You may be shocked by the word “unpaid”, and be thinking to yourself well how am I going to compensate them for the work they do? We have had huge success with students who were unpaid and they came to gain experience as part of their work semester. For us, it was free labor when we were starting out and for them, well, they gained the experience necessary to advance their studies and career. The intern program in our company was so successful, we even had interns come from France and Germany on their own dime and we did not even pay them a cent!

Starting an information/service-based business: A service-based or information-based business has a very low overhead cost.  All you need is a place to sit, a laptop, and a service you can offer to people.  Some great examples of this type of work is administrative assistance, social media marketing, software-based services, etc.  In today’s technological society the list is getting longer. For more information on how to work effectively from home, please see our article

Use online meeting services: Online meeting services have become popular during the pandemic. We have been using online meeting services such as GoTo Meeting since the inception of our business in the early aughts. Recently, Zoom is very popular and has a limited free service (limited by time and meeting size). However, there are other services such as Google Meet that are available for free. The benefit of doing online meetings is that it saves both you and the client time and money associated with traveling.

Using “lite” versions of software: Most software and apps in the market have a “lite” or free version.  Other more popular software have a subscription version which is cheaper than buying the full version, for example, the Microsoft Office Suite has a subscription version that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of the full version. And you still get the benefit of the boxed version. There are also alternatives available for certain software. I used to pay for Microsoft Visio – and then I was introduced to and LucidChart ( and immediately switched over. These software did a comparable job to Visio at no cost.  Finding the right software (at the right budget) takes time but it’s worth digging for especially when the cost is zero!

Where you should spend your time and money:

Good quality internet – as this impacts your business and any downtime may affect your business negatively.

Marketing yourself – people need to know what you are offering, they need to know that you exist as a business. Initially, my business partner had a practice of calling three people and telling them about what we were doing on a daily basis. When we coach business owners, one of the first things we look at how effective their marketing is and how to take on practices that allow them to market their business effortlessly.

The Company Charter – Clearly defining the companies Vision, Mission, Values, and Strategic Intent sets up the company culture from the get-go. It’s worth your while to spend time (and money) working on the charter documents. Having personally worked with over 200 companies, I have seen the positive effects of having a clear charter for the company versus companies that are running on default settings. We have helped companies develop charters that have ultimately led to their success and are available to help you develop yours, should you need this.

Training/educating yourself – Having the training to set up your business powerfully and being able to advance the vision and mission of your company, with the knowledge that everything is being done correctly is an investment into yourself and the future of your business. Just like no athlete has ever made it to the Olympics without a coach, the same goes for business owners.  You wanna play big, you gotta go big! We offer coaching for small businesses and have a flagship training course that you can also participate in.  You can read all about our course at


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Navigate Your Business to Success

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