It can be painstaking starting a business and with the added pressure of a shoestring budget, it can feel like an uphill battle you may never win. Believe it or not, much like when your parents told you to eat your greens when you were growing up, starting a business on a shoestring budget can have long run benefits which leave your business much healthier and shaped with many good habits. If you are feeling exhausted by the constant battle of starting a business with limited resources, here are some thoughts to revitalise and remind you why everything you are going through will put you in good stead in the future:
If you have started your business on a shoestring budget then you probably felt the urgency of needing to make your first sale to get some cash in. Perhaps delivering your very first sale was a time consuming nightmare while you muddled through your own processes to meet the promises you made to your client. Or maybe you found out your processes were completely wrong and your real life customer was completely different to your Ideal Customer Profile and you needed to have a complete re think once your had got through your first sale.
Now, think back to how much you learned by being forced into a position of have to expose yourself and your product/service to your customers. Next, imagine a start up with thousands in start up capital who took months to perfect their offering before taking it to market only to realise their customer didn’t quite want what they had to sell or a competitor beat them to it. Look how quickly, by comparison, you have managed to launch your business learn important lessons and tweak your product with valuable lessons learned or trash your original concepts in order to pivot to something entirely new. This is a point a cash rich startup can take months to get to at which point they may or may not have the cash they need to start again or make changes because they have been wrapped up in achieving perfection and bureaucracy.
When you start a business on a shoestring budget you are forced to do as much as possible for yourself, learning all sorts of new skills – selling, web developing, marketing to name a few. You may feel like you are torn into many little pieces but think about all the new things you are learning and how as your business grows you will be better able to take on a management role within it. Imagine the difficulty of launching a new business, putting in place directors, non exec directors and staff who need managing and distract you from learning about your market and customers offering the perfect products and services. Remember, no one understands your business better than you.
Launching with a shoe string budget forces you to get started in the cheapest possible way considering every purchase carefully. You may have been in a position where you thought you really needed something for you business:
- Come up with cheap or free alternatives;
- Forced yourself to make one extra sale to cover the cost of what you need;
- Done nothing and realised later it wasn’t necessary and would have been a waste of money.
Businesses with lots of money in the bank tend to race in, buying things they think they need before they have even really taken their product to market to test it. Not only that, if they do experience growth, costs are not reviewed until a later point at which they discover that they could have saved themselves a lot of money. A lean startup will stay lean as it grows because it committed to its initial costs with the right consideration.