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written by
Charlotte Harwood

Top tips for starting a business on a shoestring

Top tips for starting a business on a shoestring

If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss, starting up a business is the way to go. Just think, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself – you set the deadlines, decide on the workload, and take control of every aspect of the business. But there’s one thing in the way: money. 

It’s widely known that setting up your own business isn’t cheap, but it also doesn't have to be financially crippling. It is possible to start up on a tight budget – you just need a few money-saving tricks to help you do it.

Work from home

Premises tend to be one of the biggest overheads when setting up a business, so it makes sense in the early days to work from home. This is a logical step if your business is one that’s largely desk-based, but it’s also an option if you work in a trade that requires workshop space. 
If working from home isn’t viable though, look a little further afield for cheap working space – and the more out-of-town you go, the cheaper it tends to be. 

Utilise the people you know

Taking on additional members of staff is another major expense, but when you’re just starting out it pays to ask your friends and family if they’d be happy to help you. You might not necessarily have the funds to pay them a wage, but as long as you don’t take advantage of their kindness then you should be able to come to some sort of agreement. So don’t be afraid to ask, and make sure that you remember their help when your business gets off the ground.

Get some training – or teach yourself

Many start-ups demand you to be a Jack of all trades in those crucial early days, so it pays to get some training in key areas of your chosen business. This doesn’t necessarily mean forking out for courses and formal qualifications, though. There are plenty of free online courses from leading institutions on everything from business and management right through to marketing, branding and even data analysis.   

Of course, you can always use online resources to teach yourself and gain a basic understanding of the foundations that build a business. 

Don’t discount used equipment

Kitting out your home office, workshop or studio can be pricey, but not if you buy second hand. Used doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality, and many items are as good as new if you look hard enough. You can find furniture like desks, chairs and cabinets at bargain prices, saving you plenty of money in those all-important early stages.

For things like tools, machinery and catering equipment, you can also lease rather than buy to save a chunk of cash that can be put into launching and growing your new business. Items that are leased tend to be kept in good nick, so search online to find your nearest outlet or warehouse.

Extra savings with XLN

Whatever business you go into, you’ll need all the essentials like phone, broadband, and maybe even card processing machines. These can be costly, but thanks to XLN you can save a bundle with our business packages, including Business Broadband, Business Fibre, Business Phone, Business Energy and a range of card processing terminals. Click here to find out how we can help you save money.


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