Starting a business can feel like an expensive task. Payroll, office space and so many other potential expenses stop potential entrepreneurs from even trying. But starting a business doesn't mean you have to have a large staff or monthly rent to be successful – you can start small and work towards growing your business over time. In fact, there are plenty of businesses you can start and run for as little as $100. It won't be easy and you'll have to wear many hats at the beginning, but it is possible. To start a low-cost business, you have to be savvy and commit to working hard and putting the brakes on spending before you start bringing in revenue. Keep reading to learn more about how to start your own business with just $100.
An essential step to running a legitimate business is registering your business with your state. Fees vary by state but are generally low cost and mandatory to run a business in most states. By registering your business and obtaining a free employer identification number, you can open up business bank accounts and credit cards as well. Additionally, research and choose a business structure . If you plan to run the business by yourself forever as a sole proprietor, some states require no additional steps. But even if you intend to run the business alone, you can choose other business structures that may be more scalable or tax-friendly. Make sure to do your research and choose a structure that aligns with your future goals – not just your current ones. Related: How to Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You need a website to market your business. It doesn’t take much to register the domain with a registration site. The tricky part is finding an affordable domain name that works for your business. Your name should be appropriate for your brand and product or service you are selling. If you're having a tough time finding an appropriate name that is not already taken, use inventive words or phrases that might be easily noticed. Keep in mind that domain names may by priced by demand — so just by virtue of you inquiring to buy the domain, the price can go up. But that doesn't mean you can't negotiate with the seller or settle for a different domain at a price you can afford. The next step would be looking into the USPTO patent office for a search on trademarks so you don’t get into legal troubles right off the bat.
Marketing is absolutely critical to your business's success but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune either. Social media is a great free way to start promoting your business. Start growing you social presence for free organically and once you start bringing in revenue you can expand to paid social media advertising to bring in new customers. Another step you can take is to start a blog on your website. If executed well, you can grow and audience overtime and even optimize your blog for SEO to bring in organic traffic from search engines. As with any form of marketing, consistency is key. Get your business's name out there with regular posts every day or every other day. And don't just advertise your service or product over and over again. Offer helpful content for free to bring in your target audience to your website where they can then learn more about your business and convert into customers.
It's important you keep your new business and personal spending separate from one another. To do this, open up a business checking account, savings account and business rewards credit card. Right off the bat, separation is key in building a dividing line between your two sources of spending. You may even get a promotional bonus from your bank just for opening up an account. If your $100 business investment is starting to run low, you may want to consider getting a startup business loan to help support and grow your business. Taking out a loan is common for new businesses – just make sure you estimate your potential expenditures to ensure you request the right amount of money to borrow. See: 10 Best Banks for Small Businesses
Joining business networking groups can be the ticket to a pool of possible clients that are in need of your business. One of the most reliable ways to grow your business is via referrals and word of mouth — it's a free way to get high-quality leads. By investing your time in engaging in relevant networking groups, you can also open your business up to investors looking for new opportunities. And if nothing else you may make some friends and mentors along the way.
You may be able to avoid extremely high costs for machines and equipment when first starting out by utilizing rental services. You don’t want to invest your life savings into high cost equipment in the beginning so renting is a great alternative. You may also be able to ask your vendors if you can get a contract with the ability to pay on the back end of the purchase rather than up front to utilize the product to see and make the profits before the cash is due to them. This option may be more common with wholesale businesses, but it is worth asking the vendor if it is possible to make this kind or another kind of deal.
Sure your business may thrive with retail or office space, but working out of your home office or garage may is the next best option and it will save on the overhead costs of rental space. If you can dedicate a space inside your home for a while and then grow into a new rental space, this will give you a better idea on how much space or the type of location you will want to operate in. Another option is to rent an office share if a home office is just not going to work as it will still cut dramatically on the cost to rent an entire property yourself. If you have a rental space without sufficient revenue, the costs will bleed you dry before you have a chance to succeed. Do without as long as you can and if you can, keep your business entirely online to avoid paying for overhead altogether.
It might not be ideal to start a business out with only $100 but it is doable. If the opportunity to start is upon you and your entrepreneur bug is itching, then it's worth giving it a try even if you don't start off with a huge investment. Then, if you don't succeed all you've really spent is your time. Slowly ramp up over time and grow at a sustainable pace. Once you do start spending more, you can still find ways to cut back such as by hiring freelancers instead of full-time employees. Evaluate each spending decision on its potential to make money for the business, not what is impulsive or desired solely to appear successful. Being successful and appearing successful are two different things — which do you want? More From Seek
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