Great businesses you can start on a low budget.
Perhaps the biggest barrier in the way of budding entrepreneurs is the cost of starting up a business. It seems that if you want your venture to be a success, the more money you can pump into it, the better.
But this isn’t necessarily the case. There are plenty of small business ideas that don’t require masses of financial investment. And the best bit? Once you’re up and running, you can always increase the funds you put back into your business. So here are our top five businesses that you can start for under £5,000 to help give you some inspiration.
1. Market stall
Markets are the age-old shopping outlets that give customers a break from the drudgery of the high street. And with prices significantly lower than those found in the shops, the popularity of the market has some serious staying power. But you don’t have to be fluent in rhyming slang or deft at shouting ‘four for a pound’ in a sonorous voice to run your own market stall. In fact, there are very few requirements needed to become a market trader.
Perhaps the most important skill to hone if you want to make a success of a market stall business is communication. Markets are bustling places with stalls selling a vast array of goods, so if you want to catch the attention of potential customers you’ll need to be able to draw them in with enthusiasm and personality rather than corporate sales patter.
Renting space for a stall is relatively low-cost, so contact your local market to find out how much you’ll need to pay per day. In terms of the money you can expect to make from your market stall venture, it really depends on what you’re selling and how often you trade. A full time trader of artisan goods, for example, is more likely to make a profit than a once-a-month trader.
If you’re a dab hand at DIY or specialist areas like carpentry or plumbing, turning it into a successful small business is a great way of making money from your skills. There’s always demand for it, and with the right amount of effort it can become a very successful enterprise.
It’s also comparatively inexpensive to set up your own handyman business, with the only major expense being tools and a vehicle to cart them round in. The obvious choice is a van, and you can find plenty of cost-effective options on sites like Auto Trader. But make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality for cost and end up with a clapped out old banger that won’t get you from A to B without breaking down. Sometimes it pays to spend a little more.
Once you’re all set up, don’t just sit tight and expect the phone to ring. You need to market your business in order to spread the word and build a customer base. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of doing this is with your own website. You can design it with your branding, and from there you can advertise all of your services, prices, and even provide an online booking form.
If you’ve ever watched ‘How clean is your house?’ and thought you could do an even better job armed with a mop and bucket, then why not do it? Starting up a cleaning business requires little in the way of financial input but can prove to be a nice little earner – and all you really need is the right equipment and a bit of elbow grease.
There are two routes you can go down with a cleaning business: domestic or commercial. Commercial cleaning tends to be in buildings like offices and is the more profitable of the two. But it also requires more investment to get started, so if you’re on a shoestring you could start with domestic cleaning instead. This involves cleaning people’s homes, and is a much more personal cleaning venture as it gives you the chance to build rapport directly with your customers. But if you do go down the domestic cleaning path, you’ll need to market yourself to the right audience in order to build your business.
Babysitting and childminding isn’t just a way of making some pocket money; it’s actually a viable business venture. But it’s also a saturated market, so it’s important to make yours stand out from the crowd.
In order to do that, you’ll need to find a niche. There are examples of this in already thriving childcare businesses, with companies targeting their services at specific instances when parents might need some extra help with the little ones. So think about what kind of situations this might be and market your childminding business around that – but make sure that it isn’t so niche that there are hardly any customers.
It’s strongly recommend that you get a criminal records bureau (CRB) check before you decide to go into professional childcare. It isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for casual babysitters, but since you’ll be offering it as a service then it’s a good idea to get one to give parents peace of mind. It’s also worthwhile to invest in first aid training for yourself and any additional staff that you take on.
If you’ve got plenty of experience working with children then this could be a very rewarding career path to go down. But be prepared for hard graft and lots of paperwork, especially where CRB checks are concerned.
If you’re brimming with knowledge that you’re itching to pass on, tutoring is a logical business move to make. It’s a flexible enterprise which you can run from the comfort of your own home, your clients’ homes or even remotely, and you can teach anyone from children to teenagers right through to adults.
You’ll need to be at least one level above that which you’re tutoring – so for example, if you specialise in GCSE maths, you should have a maths A-level or higher, and so on. You’ll also need a computer (especially if you’re tutoring remotely) and the latest textbooks relevant to the subject and level that you’re teaching. If you’re tutoring specifically for exams, make sure that you have access to sample test papers and the syllabus so that you work towards the right goals.
If you choose to tutor children, you should look into getting a CRB check – and the same applies to any tutors that you take on if you choose to expand your business. Parents understandably want reassurance, and a CRB check helps with that a great deal.
How much you decide to charge for your tutoring service is entirely down to you, but it’s not unreasonable to charge around the £15-£20 an hour mark. You could sell lessons in blocks of, say, four or five, and charge upfront. Then, if all goes well, you’ll get repeat customers and word-of-mouth recommendations.
How can XLN help?
So now you’ve got some inspiration, hopefully you’re on the way towards making your first steps into the world of small business. And with that, why not save some money on the essentials like broadband, phone and energy? Click here to find out more about our bargain business packages and see how we can help you.