Shortage of capital is always a common problem faced by many home business owners. Yet, as many of us can attest, the lack of start-up money did not exactly deter our dream of starting our own businesses. We have found that there are ways to get around the problem of insufficient funds. Through creative means, many of us are able to successfully jump-start our businesses with shoestring budgets.
Below are ways we can save money when starting a business:
1. Work from home.
If you are struggling to start a business on a shoestring budget, a beautiful office space downtown is the last thing that should be on your mind. Instead, opt to work from your home. Working from your own home will allow you to save on rental or leasing fees, fixtures or equipment, cost of decorating or fixing the office space, and other fixed or recurring expenses associated with an office or retail space. You can also choose to simply use equipment and furniture in your house that are still in good working condition, instead of hiring a designer to do a complete make-over to transform an unused room or unutilized space into your home office. The savings can allow you to put your limited resources to creating an excellent product and providing good customer service.
Plus, you may be able to deduct certain expenses incurred from running the business at home from your tax bill. If you work from home, you may be able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage interest, as well as a percentage of your utilities as a business expense. For a complete list of what you can consider as home office deductions, visit the IRS website
2. Think second-hand.
You can also save start-up capital by buying used items for your business. While a little extra legwork may be needed, you can get substantial savings by buying used furniture, credit card terminals, lamps or other office equipment that you may need. Visit online auctions such as eBay, Internet discount retailers such as Overstock.com, online communities such as Craigslist.com, or second hand retailers such as the nationwide Aaron Rents & Sells chains for items you may need. You can also check out government auctions and newspaper classifieds for used equipment.
3. Scour the auction market.
Check out online auction marketplaces such as eBay for your office supplies, packaging and shipping materials. Online auctions nowadays offer brand new items on wholesale or discounted prices. Chances are you will find the prices so much more competitive (and lower!) than your neighborhood supply retail stores. A recent check of a box of padded mailers on eBay show listings that cost $0.98 cents per piece (including shipping) as against $0.60 cents a piece from a well-known office supply retailer chain. That s significant savings for your business!
4. Check out Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).
If you have high-speed Internet connection, you may want to junk your regular phone services and switch to VoIP technology. The technology is much cheaper than regular phone service, plus it is easy to use with superior features. Many small business entrepreneurs say that shifting to VoIP has reduced their phone bills by as much as 30 percent, and they get phone bills that are easier to understand. The downside is that the VoIP system works best for businesses with 10 or less employees, and may suffer some hiccups related to Internet downtimes. Some of the VoIP providers include Vonage and Covad Communications.