Business last year Share Tweet Starting a business is going to cost money – that’s a reality. But you don’t have to put yourself in debt to get your idea off the ground. It’s possible to start a business on a small budget, however. Here are a few things you can do to get your business up and running on a small budget. It all starts with an idea. To start a business on a small budget, be realistic about your idea. Some businesses will require a lot of upfront costs, such as office space, equipment, and a larger workforce. Choose a business idea that can be launched without a lot of initial investment, so that you can start making money as soon as possible. One such business model could be something that can be done from home. This way, you can eliminate the need to pay for office space, save money on commuting, gas, maintenance on your vehicle, and other work-related expenses. In addition, in some cases, you can also write off several expenses such as internet services and electricity on your taxes if you work from home, which is another way to save money on your business. Just make sure you are aware of any potential restrictions in your area on running a home-based business. Don’t choose a business that requires you to have a lot of inventory on hand to start. If you don’t have to invest in having stock, you can save a lot of money. For example, if you have a custom t-shirt business, opt to make the t-shirts to order rather than having a huge stock of every design you offer on hand all the time. How to start a small business on a budget Next, it’s important to be realistic about the amount of money you can reasonably afford to spend on your business startup. Write down how much you can invest, then develop a budget based on that amount, calculating your expenses and projected revenues for a minimum of 6 months – a year is better. In your calculations, don’t forget to account for a backup plan if actual revenues don’t match with your projects. These backup plans could include things like reducing expenses or finding additional income streams to boost revenues. Do as much as possible yourself. Instead of paying a web designer, for example, learn how to make use of the DIY website design services that are available. The more you can do yourself, the less money you’ll have to spend on paying someone else to do things for you. Of course, there are things you’ll have to find people to do if you don’t have the know-how to do them yourself (taking care of accounting or legal matters, for example). Even in these cases, it’s usually more cost-effective to contract these jobs out to a third party rather than hiring an employee to do the job. Buy second-hand and buy only what you need right now. There is no rule saying that your office furniture, equipment, or even your car must be new when you start a business. Buying second-hand or refurbished equipment can be a very effective way of saving money. Moreover, buying only what you need to get started will help to minimize your startup budget as well. You can always add those other non-essential items you’d like to have later, as your business starts to make money. As you can see, there are lots of ways to open a small business on a budget. It’s about being strategic, about being aware of how much you can afford to spend, and about spending that money where it is really needed, leaving non-essential expenses aside until a later time.