How to Start a Business Even If You’re Cash-strapped

Thanks to the accessibility of the internet, more of us than ever are able to escape the rat race and create businesses of our own. An opportunity to use our skills, something we can put our heart and soul into — there’s no better way to earn money than by doing something with love. But getting started in business is difficult, many fail early on and even those with potential can struggle getting past their first year. But don’t let it put you off, if you have a fantastic business idea here’s how you can make it work without much cash.

Start from Home

Even if you have grand plans of setting up a huge, multi-million dollar company in the long run — it doesn’t mean you must have to start that way. In fact some of the world’s most successful companies were started from home, and you can too. This gives you chance to put the wheels in motion, iron out the kinks and be sure that you’re turning a profit before splashing out on expensive premises and lots of staff.

Start small, put your business plan into motion on a small-scale and make sure it works. As you begin to grow and make more money you can naturally expand from there. It saves you spending a lot of money and losing it all if things don’t work, or there’s something important that you overlooked.

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Save Money on Equipment

On the subject of keeping your business small in the beginning, rather than going out and buying lots of new equipment look for good deals. Often businesses that go bankrupt sell off what they own cheaply bad news for them but good news for you. You could scour classified sites and eBay for good deals, if you don’t have the money for even these kinds of purchases then small business loans can offer this.

Alternatively you could hire equipment. Rather than spending money up front you get to use the equipment you need but pay each week. Once you’re making enough you could purchase your own. But it doesn’t have to be right away and something like this allows you to start-up your business without spending a fortune up front.

Search for Investors, Grants and Schemes

If you have a great business idea but are lacking the cash to get started, help may be out there. It could be in the form of an investor, where they give you a cash injection in return for a percentage share in your business. It could be in the form of a grant or scheme, these are sometimes available in certain areas if you meet the criteria.

For example, some are for youths others are for people in disadvantaged areas. It’s worth spending some time searching and seeing if there is any help out there for new up and coming businesses. Whether it’s in the form of money or business advice.

Are you a bootstrapped business looking to get off the ground?

Commuting Versus Working from Home

Going out to work is both a privilege and a bugbear for most adults in full-time employment. In the market today, the fact you even have a job is a blessing, but a long commute can often be the reason you come to resent your job. Commuting to an office also means that in general, you work alongside the same people day in and day out, regardless of whether you get on with those people or not.

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It’s for these reasons that many people choose to work for themselves from the comfort of their own home instead of battling the elements and the public transport to get to work. Sure, there’s something exciting about buying a Thor laser pointer for your bicycle when you choose to get to work that way, but when you have to use it in thundering rain the shine comes off the top!

There’s a lot of pros and cons for working from home, the biggest con being that it’s rather lonely. Those people you see in the office every day may not be your general cup of tea, but they are there to talk to whereas from home it’s just you.

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Commuting often gives you a chance to get out of the house and see more than the four walls of the house. Working from home doesn’t always afford you that opportunity, unless you are working a more flexible schedule. Some people find that working at home can be more motivating, as you’re not forced to sit at a desk for eight hours in uncomfortable clothing to get the work done.

There is no one breathing down your neck for deadlines and you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas if you don’t want to. However, a commute gives you a chance to wake up for the day. It also gives you the opportunity to be present when big office decisions are made.

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The pros for commuting, however, do not outweigh the cons. The changes in the weather through the year can often make a commute unbearable, and the costs of travel or gas for the car can be higher than you would feel comfortable with. If you think that being stuck in rush hour traffic, or trapped under the arm of a sweaty commuter in the height of summer on the subway is fun, then you’ll enjoy the commute every day.

As it is, more and more people are asking their employer for flexible working that allows them to work from their own home. Thankfully, companies are seeing the good in this, as they realise that happy workers are those who are productive and get more done.

As long as the work required is done in the right time and by the set deadlines, employers are far more relaxed. This could be due to the birth of the IT cloud, as access to work systems is far easier wherever you are.

Either way, you have to enjoy your job and choosing between commuting to work and working from home comes under that enjoyment!

Is Home All the Rage? The Downs and Ups to Overseeing Remote Workers

For many employees, it’s the dream, being able to work at home without having to endure that dreaded daily commute. But on the other side of that coin, there are various pros and cons to running a company that doesn’t have a base of operations in the proper sense. While technology has made it much more convenient for anybody to work from home as has been shown by many large companies as well as the demands for flexible working conditions, there are certain risks as well as many positives to having your employees work from home. Let’s have a look.

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The Downs

From the perspective of you as a manager, it’s a lot harder to enforce rule on your employees, so it can be an issue when it comes to ensuring your staff are working as productively as possible. One way to combat this is to set definite deadlines, as well as delegate work earlier on in the week. But for you to have your staff members work at home, a lot of trust is placed in those employees to do their work well.

Another issue is the worry of the technical problems such as system downtime. Even if your employees are working off their own internet connection, because you can’t afford a server, this can cause a lot of problems if they fail to know when they are at risk.

It’s always best to have a consultation with an IT support company to get a secure network set up, or at the very least, cloud computing capabilities. For many businesses operating with remote employees, this needs to be a priority, because one simple phishing scam could set you back weeks when it comes to productivity. Furthermore, it’ll cost you a lot of money to repair the problem!

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The Ups

Because you have staff working remotely from home, one major positive in all this is cost. Not having a physical location allows for you to reduce traditional costs such as a building, rent, and various office-based expenses. This give you the ability to reinvest savings back into the company, the employees, equipment, and enhanced marketing techniques to get your company’s name out there.

If it gets to the point where your business needs to upscale that will be because your business has broken through the glass ceiling and has started to make a return on the investment. It’s possible to maintain working relationships with staff members despite limited physical contact.

However, you have to remember that it’s important to keep up-to-date with your staff on a personal level rather than just communicating via email. Avoid making it a long-winded approach to problem-solving. Teleconferences or personal meetings with staff routinely or as needed, can help to cut back on the disparate nature of remote working.

There is a lot of potential for remote workers when it comes to productivity and for the benefit of the business, but it needs to be monitored and implemented correctly for it to have any positive effect.

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How to Make Working from Home Work for You

More of us than ever want to be our own boss. That’s what makes working from home so appealing. Working remotely usually means we can choose our own hours, within reason, and are far more flexible. It’s the antithesis to the ‘daily grind’. Instead of a long commute in the morning, it’s a short stroll down the hall to a makeshift office area. We can squeeze in that gym session, a catch-up, and even some cooking because we’re managing ourselves after all. Of course, just like with any work setup, there are pitfalls too. It’s not all lie-ins, late nights, and lunching. If you’re considering a career working from home here’s a guide to doing it the right way.

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What Do You Do For Work?

This is the first, quite major, hurdle facing anyone looking to work from home. If you work as a doctor there just isn’t going to be any way for you to work remotely. Certain professions are customer, patient, client-facing by nature. It may appeal to you to work from home but it just won’t be possible. Having said that, there are lots of careers which can be set up from home.

If you’re a writer, an artist, or a composer, basically any career where work is commissioned from you, you can work from home. In fact, in these scenarios, it’s often best to work remotely. Artists can save money on studio space by converting a spare room into a place to paint. Similarly, if you’re a writer it’s ideal to work from home. All you need is a comfortable place to work and a laptop.

Making Money

Making money is the hardest part of working from home. Whatever it is you’re trying to sell, your work, your products, your services, it’s tough. Unlike working for a large company, you’ll have to market yourself. Marketing is key to surviving if you work freelance. It’s what drives traffic to a website, gets commissions, and translates into money. If you haven’t already, consider enlisting the services of a company like Octave Media. They’re experts in marketing and know the ins and outs of the trade. Whether you’re a fashion consultant looking for clients, or a would-be entrepreneur trying to sell your products, these companies can get you, customers. They do this by implementing modern marketing techniques like social media, blogging, and SEO.

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Tips For Making It Work

Once you’ve established yourself in your new work-from-home position, you may find it tough, to begin with. To start with it can feel isolating. Especially if you’re used to working in a large office or social setup. It can also be challenging to self-motivate. The main thing to do is set yourself a routine. Don’t lie-in. Save that for the weekends. Don’t sit at your desk, studio, or workspace all day either. Move into another room for lunches and any other breaks. Fill your free time with meeting people. Go out every single day, even if it’s just to the shops, this will help you to feel integrated still. Lastly, enjoy your new-found freedom! Create a schedule that gives you more free time, work from a coffee shop or the park, and savour your new work setup.

Work From Home Or Rent An Office?

A big dilemma that faces many startup companies is where to work. Many modern businesses require only a computer and a phone. This gives you free reign to practically work wherever you like whether that be an office, a park bench or tucked up beneath your duvet.

There’s a lot of commercial real estate available on the market, some of which can be relatively cheap. You can even rent a desk in a shared office space. This can be a great way of escaping the distractions of home – whether that be the comfort of your bed, the television or the kids running around. Being housebound all day also may lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Leaving the house for some can help separate home life and work life and make you not feel so trapped.

Startup Stock Photos
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That said, working from home certainly costs less. You haven’t got the extra rent of an office or the cost of travel. By setting up one room in your home and sing it solely as an office, you may also be able to deduct it from tax (10% of your rent can go on office space, 5% if you use it for other home purposes). You can claim the rent of your office as an expense, but working from home is always going to work out cheaper.

Of course, there are happy mediums. If the social buzz doesn’t distract you, a coffee bar or pub could be a good place to work from. Alternatively, a library might be a quieter option (also look into local community centres and youth centres that may offer their premises for free).

Eventually of course you may want to employ more staff. This begs the question – can your staff also work from home? Cloud technology has made sharing information easy and there are video chat tools that can make to face-to-face meeting possible without actually being there in person.

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Of course, training and supervising in the first few weeks may prove difficult. Whilst you can see people’s progress on a document, you can’t check to see if what they’re really doing with their day. On top of this, bonding with staff may be difficult online or over the phone. Having an office can provide the chance to socialise, to make one another coffee and to talk to each other without having to make a call or type an email.

Some businesses will hence bite the bullet and rent an office once employees enter the equation. The extra money that these employees will take on from lifting the load off your shoulders can help you pay for an office. Generally, somewhere small may be all that’s needed in the beginning (enough to contain four or five people so that you have some room for growth). From there you can branch out and have people working from home, whilst still having a few close workers around you to keep you regularly updated with essential tasks. Or you can build an empire and one day have your own floor on Canary Wharf. Your choice!   

Working From Home And How To Be Your Own Entrepreneur!

Working from home has never felt so good! The benefits are there for everybody to see and you can work at your own pace as long as you reach your personal numbers by the end of the day. Being your own entrepreneur is sometimes stressful, but by working from home, you can do your own thing and reap the benefits.

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You’ve made a lifestyle choice and it couldn’t have gotten any better. You can now prepare your own healthy meals, do exercise when you wish to and run your own business from your office at home. You’re passionate and driven about your business so you’re not prone to distraction during working hours. Procrastination has been the downfall to many a work- from- home- business and you’re not about to fall into that trap. Okay, you have the radio turned on, but there’s nothing wrong with tapping your foot to the beat occasionally is there?

You’ve done your own website, which has been a hit with your dedicated social media followers. There’s an array of eye catching images highlighting the products you’re selling and the concise and friendly, yet persuasive language you use to describe them, relate well with the reader. Your contact details are at the forefront of the page in big, bold lettering, and highlight both your phone number and your work email address. Social media has also been a big plus for you.

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It’s tough for lifestyle based businesses to get going, but you’ve hit the nail firmly on the head by advertising your company, using the many benefits of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Interest in you has never been so high and you save money too, as this form of marketing is entirely free. Yet whenever you struggle with any aspect of your business, you look online and seek out IT support. You’re not too proud to sometimes rely on others.

You save time and money in other areas of your business too. There’s no commute to work in all that heavy stressful traffic every morning, plus you can make your lunch from home instead of going to that shop every day and purchasing an overpriced sandwich. There are family benefits too. Instead of only seeing your kids just before lights out, you can now do the school run with them and then pick them up after school. You make sure you get your work done before then.

Work time is work time and family time needs to be focused on family time. At the end of each working day, leave the space you operate your business from and don’t go back in there until the following morning. You need to create that barrier. Always ensure you sleep well the night before. Don’t make it a late night. That’s what weekends are designed for. Ensure you’re up and at ‘em the next morning and ready to bring in those high numbers once more.

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Being your own entrepreneur is such an exciting challenge and one that you have relished. You’ve combined the best bits from the office together with your home life and made a great mark on the business world.

Are Homeworkers Making An Impact On Your Homelife?

Working from home is a dream I think we all aspire to at some point. Who doesn’t like the idea of getting out of bed, putting your dressing gown on and casually heading to the living room nice and warm to sit in front of your laptop to do some work for the day? It certainly beats the early morning commute in the rain! But is it as rosy (and cozy) existence as it sounds? There are boundless positives to working at home, but is it all cracked up to be? If you’re running a business that has homeworkers, or you’re thinking about ditching the premises to conserve costs, have a read of this before you tell everyone to “go home”!

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The Technical Impact

The question you need to ask yourself is, can you run a business from home with the same efficiency as in an office environment? You need to factor in things like logistics. This is where technology comes into play. With the internet, it is incredibly easy to send emails, IM’s, etc. In an office scenario, you would have the standard landlines, with a staff member quickly reachable at their extension. In a working from home situation, can you guarantee efficient contact?

Concerned business owners may wish to install a phone system like a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). It’s a way of being able to make phone calls via the internet. If you are looking for certain phone systems for your business, there are many services online, like VoiceOnyx business phone service. VoIP systems also provide mobile options. This gives remote workers access to a business’s phone system from their mobile device. So if you are contemplating the idea of running a business from home, you need to make sure that your colleagues are with the right tech. Or supply them with the tech, especially if one of the staff doesn’t have a mobile phone- it’s rare, but it happens!

When it comes to VoIP systems, if you are in an area with poor internet connectivity, this can cause frustration. Having poor phone reception is annoying at the best of times, so if you are reliant on constant phone contact, it may not be the best approach.

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The Impact On Productivity

Working from home from the perspective of the business owner and the employee’s point of view are entirely different.

The employee could treat it as a working holiday lasting from Monday to Friday, and the boss will need to make sure the business is running smoothly. But the owner will also be busy with meetings and the like. In an office, there are people delegated to keep the organization running in the absence of a leader. Line managers, team leaders, whatever you want to call them. In a home working environment, that role is almost reduced to basic email contact.

So, how can productivity be tracked? Regular contact is one way. But making sure a back-office system is installed will be one way to “police” your staff.

Ultimately, when it comes to home working, the onus is on the worker to be productive. So, having self-reliant staff is a fundamental way of making a gamble like this payoff.