9. Seven Tips to Start a Business on a Shoestring Budget

Tips to start a business on a shoestring budget

Step 1: Start small

One of the biggest hurdles of starting a new site council or in any new business is “I don’t have enough money to start!”  As I began my retail arbitrage and selling on Amazon and journey, I had the same thought. I did happen to stop I a bookstore that was closing and found myself in a situation where there were deals that I just couldn’t resist. I found I could buy a huge bag of books for $10.00.  I also picked up the bag of bond book items for $30.00.  I packed the bags as full as I could.  For $40.00 plus tax I was able to find my first chunk of inventory.  This was the beginning of my retail arbitrage journey.

Now, you may not find a deal as good as this.  The point is, you don’t need a ton of money to get started.  You just need to get started.  You may not get rich quick but you will be on your way to success. I took that $40 initial startup and turned it into just over $300 in a month.  That first step is the most important one. After all you will only win by doing!


Step 2: Don’t blow your profit

When you make that first bit of profit, you will be tempted to spend it.  DON’T!  Reinvest it into your business.  If it is retail arbitrage on Amazon or selling on eBay, buy more product.  If you are starting out mowing lawns because landscaping is your thing, buy advertising or save it to buy a trailer to carry all your equipment in.  In the beginning, reinvest into your business.  Consider that money you made off your initial investment, money you didn’t have in the first place.  You survived without it then, you can survive without it a little longer.

Step 3: Hit the streets

Whatever business you are stating, you need to get your name out there.  Providing local services? Walk the neighborhood communities and introduce yourself.  Driving an ice cream truck? Participate in local festival parades.  Starting an online store? Become part of the social media scene that your potential customers are part of.  If people don’t know who you are, how can they consume your services?


Step 4: Respect your customers

When was the last time you went to a local business and felt you got treated like crap?  Do you go back there?  If it was a restaurant, did you leave a tip?  I know I didn’t and also have a handful of business I don’t go back to for this reason.  On the flip side, there are places that might charge a little more for their services but return because I felt invited.  A little respect in your customers will go a long way.  A lot of respect in your customers will put you a long way above your competition.  Treat every one of you customers like you would your boss.  Train your employees (if you have them) to do the same.

Step 5: Track everything

In order to track profitability, you need to track everything.  I use spreadsheets currently to track everything for my eBay and Amazon projects.  I keep all receipts so I can use them when tax time rolls around.  Here are some of the things I track just to give you an idea of how granular you can get.

  • Product cost (this includes item name)
  • Materials cost (i.e. packing supplies)
  • Fuel while shopping
  • Meals while shopping
  • Sale price
  • Shipping costs
  • Fees
  • Date I listed the item
  • Date item sold
  • Sales channel (i.e. Amazon, eBay)

Any information that can be used as tax write off, future target marketing and provide metrics for what sells and how long it took to sell it can be valuable.

Step 6: Own your mistakes

No matter what business you are in, you will make mistakes.  It’s inevitable.  The only way to survive them is to follow these steps to get through to the other side.

  1. Identify them – recognize the mistake you made
  2. Take corrective action – Now that you recognize your mistake and the result, take corrective action to fix it.
  3. Own your mistake-don’t blame someone else. You won’t learn from it if you don’t recognize your role in the making mistake.
  4. Learn from your mistake – Learn what led to the mistake so you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
  5. Move on – probably the most important. Move on.  Don’t dwell on it.  What’s done is done.

Step 7: Win By Doing

Here, our main point we want to drive is start now.  If you don’t start the race, you wont even place.  Get off your butt and start moving.  That first step is the toughest.  Get over your hurdles and start now.

Let me know what you think.  If you have any other tips you have learned that I should add to this list, drop me a message.  I will add to the list.  As always, if you would like my monthly newsletter please sign up (I do not sell email addresses).


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