If you’ve had an idea on the shelf and you have a gut feeling it’s time to turn it into a full-blown business, you certainly aren’t alone.
After all, we all get that entrepreneurial itch at some point in our lives. Whether for the sake of escaping a soul-crushing office grind or capitalizing on a healthy economy, there’s perhaps no better time than now to assess the viability of your big idea.
Of course, the first step to doing so means figuring out your finances.
For starters, ask yourself: how can you squeeze the absolute most out of your business budget if you’re supporting yourself with no outside capital?
Doing so is possible, granted you understand what it means to operate a lean, mean business in 2018.
Below are some quick considerations to keep your budget and finances in check if you’re starting a business for the first time. Whether we’re talking about a full-blown venture or a side gig, any combination of these tips is fair game.
When in Doubt, Seek Professional Advice
There’s no replacement for legal advice from somebody who’s been around the block.
While there’s plenty you can Google and figure out on the fly, serious businesses are expected to have legal counsel. When you’re little more than a customer complaint or legal snafu away from a lawsuit, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Furthermore, doing business digitally opens us up to even more potential problems than ever before.
And that’s not even scratching the surface of issues such as business taxes or healthcare. If you’re in need of counsel and are strapped for cash, look into services like LegalZoom who can give you a hand if you don’t know anyone personally who can help you.
Put Together the Right Software Stack
It might sound dramatic to say that businesses today live and die by the tools they use, but it’s more than less true.
The better your software stack, the more you’re able to get done on a day to day basis. In addition to productivity and time-saving, the sheer amount you can learn about your customers and business itself through software is absolutely staggering.
Some areas of your business that can be taken care of via software (much of which can be found for free include)
- Invoicing and billing solutions
- CRM (customer relation management)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing and automation
- SEO (search engine optimization) analysis and research
When doing your homework on such tools, look toward the freebies first: you’d be shocked at how you can build a killer software stack while spending next to nothing. Although you may come to a point where you may need to be for premium solutions, a free stack can take you pretty far.
Hire Freelancers and Contract Workers
There’s no need to be a lone wolf if you’re a business owner today, even if you want to keep your business as small as possible. Global remote work is on the rise, spelling good news for business who want to commit to freelancers and short-term contracts rather than costly, long-term employees.
Building a business relationship with someone on an as-needed basis allows you to get any given job done at the fraction of the cost. Job boards and platforms like Upwork can lead you to top-tier talent no matter what your needs might be.
Ditch the Office
No matter what others might tell you, there’s little to no need for physical locations for so many businesses these days. If you’re operating digitally, your laptop is quite literally all you need. While a coworking space might be nice, you really don’t need to front the cash for such a luxury until you’re holding regular client meetings.
Rack Up Rewards
Spending on your business doesn’t’ have to completely drain your budget. Especially if you plan on traveling frequently for business trips and networking events, getting a dedicated business credit card for your company spending is a brilliant move. This allows you to collect rewards over time and track all of your expenses in the same place.
Audit and Budget Aggressively
And on a related note, keeping detailed notes and sticking to a budget will save you some huge headaches. This is especially true when it comes to tax time as you try to square away as many deductions as you possibly can.
Scrutinizing your financial decisions from the word “go” is a smart move for first-time business owners who need to keep as much cash in their pockets as possible. By making moves now to keep your business as lean as possible, you’ll definitely thank yourself down the road.