Have you ever checked franchise listings and sat utterly stunned at the startup costs? Watched Shark Tank and can’t imagine the hundreds of thousands needed to make business happen? Or, maybe even approached a bank in hopes of raising capital but were met by a big, red denial?
Startups don’t have to cost a lot of money — in fact, many business ideas are realized with a couple hundred dollars and a strong work ethic. This post shares some of those inexpensive startup ideas.
Laying the Groundwork for a New Startup
Every great startup idea is backed by a business plan helping you align budgets and resources with sales and marketing goals. Failing to create a plan is like throwing money to the wind — you’ll invest but stagnate.
Explore these (then come back for the ideas):
- Create a one-page business plan detailing your idea, target market, and competitors
- Create an advertising & marketing plan including budget, platforms, and assets
- Create a customer avatar template of who’s your ideal customer and where to find them
These three will provide telling data if your startup idea has legs as it reveals gaps and opportunities you could fill and begin attracting clients/customers.
Startup Ideas on a Small Budget: Try These
If you’re going to fail, then fail quick so you can start the next idea without wasting tons of time, money, and resources chasing a pipedream. This may feel counterintuitive as you want to succeed but you’ll learn more from failing than throwing money and time at something dead on arrival.
So, what business ideas could you explore on a small budget?
An understanding of the human anatomy, strong hands, and certification (optional) can launch you in this billion-dollar industry. Your market is just about everyone! Stress is at an all-time high and many carry injuries from work/activities, this startup satisfies one’s needs to correct muscle pain. And, relax.
Startup costs are rock-bottom sourcing massage tables and supplies through Earthlite and local suppliers. Then, it’s a matter of rolling-out a word-of-mouth, print, and online marketing campaign.
Startup cost: $500 – $1000 or $5-7k with certification
Most people want a great looking lawn. Some locations have HOAs requiring homeowners constant upkeep and maintenance. You can start this business with existing equipment if mowing and trimming are a normal routine around your home.
Startup costs are very cheap when starting lean via push mowers and gas weed eaters. Marketing is typically done door-to-door or through strategic business card placement. Then, personal referrals.
Startup cost: $100 – $200 (used, basic) or $2-3k (new, better)
Take what you know from work, hobbies, and experience and package it as services. Viola! You now have a service-based business offering skills online set to your price and hours. There are thousands of businesses needing skilled labor. Millions of people seek tutoring, coaching, Web development, dog sitting, and various gig-based tasks.
Startup costs with online services are one of the lowest needing nothing more than a website and free time. A portfolio site is essential as it shares your skills/experience and provides contact methods.
Startup cost: $30 – $50 (domain, hosting, free theme) or ~$100 (domain, host, premium theme)
Take your creativity and apply it to a startup offering anything from hand-painted rocks to custom wire jewelry. There’s a market for just about everything creative if you put time and skill into it. Platforms like Etsy are an easy “in” for craft-based business.
Similarly, flipping items has parallels — finding unique items and selling them online. Or, buying supplies at thrift stores, creating something new, and selling the piece. The startup costs are mostly the craft supplies or flippable item and online listing fees.
Startup cost: $Variable (Supplies) or sometimes free!
What to Do After the Launch: Quick Tips for Startups
Ideas are worthless without action — they’re a money sink if you invest in startup resources but fail to put them to work. Here are a few quick tips to getting your new business into the market and making sales.
- Social Media— Get on social media, build it with friends & family, and start attracting leads by sharing great content, exclusive deals, and participating in conversations. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are easy wins with their groups, business pages, promotions, and tagging.
- Print Materials— Get a package of basic business print materials including business cards, flyers, postcards, and brochures. You’ll want these on hand when people inquire about your business when meeting via networking/local events and business meetups.
- Reviews — Push, hard, for great reviews from your initial customers so your online listings show high ratings. This is also effective in getting word-of-mouth referrals through real-world interactions. Respond to these reviews with positivity helping sculpt your reputation, too.
You’ve got the ideas and you’ve got the strategies… what’s stopping you from launching a startup?