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Starting a business on a shoestring

Tonight is the start of another new series of the Apprentice on BBC One with Lord Sugar at the helm as usual. Lord Sugar famously started by selling aerials out of the back of a van and within days he was earning several times what his father was earning. Since then of course, he has gone on to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK. His story is an inspirational one which has caused, I am sure, many people to go ahead and start their business on a shoestring. But how does one go about it?

Create your own website!

First of all, I must inevitably plug the services of AB Publish. All businesses need a website and what better way to get started with your new business than a great looking website that requires no up-front fees and only costs a few quid a month? There are many other things to consider.

Make use of a priceless asset

The early stage of any business is a unique opportunity to make great use of an asset that you will not have for very long...  your time. Once you are up and running, you will have to find time to develop and grow your business and it will be very difficult to do. However, in the early stages you will be time rich and you need to use this to great advantage because it is not something you will have later on. Hopefully though, you will have money by then which will allow you tp pay others to do the things that you have no time to do.

So before you do anything, sit down and have a think about all the things your business will require. Which things will you be able to create for free as you have the time to do it and on which things can you cut down costs by investing your own time and skill in doing it? There will be things that you cannot do and for which you must pay experts. You need these to be the exception rather than the rule. But as you have the time, you may find it surprising just what you can achieve on your own.

Follow others' experiences

The Internet is now full of stories of how people got started in business and they have all been through all the things that you are about to face. Read these articles and spend a lot of time searching on the Internet for them. It is all valuable education and along the way, you will probably pick up quite a few money saving tips along the way.

You may also want to consider an interim business that raises funds for the next business. For example, if it is your dream to open a five start restaurant, it is not realistic to think you can do this on a budget. However, you might come up with an idea for a much smaller business that turns over lots of cash in the short term and although you may not want to do this long term, it might be the method whereby you generate the funds necessary to start the business you eventually want to run.

The time is ripe for people to start their own business right now. Offer services and products that offer real value for money and your success is an inevitability.

Tue 10 May 2011 15:57:25

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