'A frequently recurring issue for start- ups & micro businesses, is finance. It’s important to all businesses, this is what it’s about. However, in terms of expenditure, some lateral thinking will go a long way, for those that have small turnovers but plenty of ambition.
The Best Things in Life Are Free?
The first thing is to look at free things, of course nothing is really free, there’s always a catch but many large businesses frequently offer freebies as a means of enticing spend.
· For example, for presence & PR, you can get free business cards & free websites but beware of the upgrade bit.
· For SEO, free web directory listings can boost marketing potential.
· Like Enterprising Female, network for free, though you may be encouraged to upgrade & of course seek out free advisory services, in your local area, often run by funded community enterprises. The down side with this of course, is that free advisory service is rarely tailored. However, you’ll have moved your business up the value chain, when it comes to advice you may need to pay for.
· Depending on the type of business; technology, green industry, grants could be available. In social enterprise, this is certainly the case.
· Free space in coffee shops for meetings, try hotel lobbies also but the coffee’s more expensive.
· In UK, some solicitors offer first half hour free, so look out for the logo. Tax (ouccch!) office offer free workshops, on filing tax returns & VAT. If you’re very small, no need for an accountant. The helpline is also good to try.
· Free business packs at banks & check out of credible business websites like Enterprising Female's, where free advice, guidance & information, is available to download, free.
What of you, the owner manager? Why not do 'free business' yourself? Try car boot or, local jumble sale to raise initial funds, even a small amount is less expenditure (always need to watch this). Why not free offers, to win your initial customer base?
Finally, how about a bit of barter? This is all trade started, sociologists say. Finding partners with whom you can engage in exchange, maybe something you want to look at, while networking, especially at Enterprising Female, where this is actively encouraged. Lots more about this, in our women focused, workshops adapted from more corporate programmes. For now, hope this sets you on the way to being a bit of a ‘free scavenger’. Do look to the full service when you must & not apply cheapest/freest logic to everything, quality matters. So be encouraged… do some business for peanuts!