Running a Business on Limited Resources


Running a business on limited resources is probably a skill most business owners and entrepreneurs would like to have at one time or another during their ownership of such an entity. In fact, during the last four years – between 2008 and 2012 – many businesses failed as a result of the economic crises and, perhaps, a few of them might have been saved if the proprietors could have scaled down budgets and operational expenses. Of course that’s only one person’s opinion.

Let’s take a look, though, at some of the challenges some new entrepreneurs are faced with. First off, When an individual decides to start a new business, s/he might consider going to the bank for a business loan. As long as the business plan in order, along with the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully run the business, as well as all the necessary documents to present to the business loan lender, one would think the loan would be approved. But, believe it or not, in the majority of cases these loans are denied. You may ask why?

The answer is seldom one that seems satisfactory to the new business loan applicant, because it’s usually not due to readily apparent reasons, like satisfactory enough credit to back up a loan approval, or how excellent or poor a business plan is; but rather, a seemingly abstract statistic about the success-failure rate of new businesses during the first year of operation. Can you imagine being denied for a business loan and being given this as the reason, ‘you do not understand that over 90% of businesses fail within the first year, and you are not prepared in case YOUR business fails accordingly?’

While the lender became an adviser who was attempting to look out for the best interest of the applicant, it does seem rather presumptuous to not even extend the opportunity to fail. On some level, everyone that goes into business for themselves understand that chances are, the business will not make it past it’s first year, but that’s information that, in most cases, the new business owner has already taken into consideration.

Confidence in one’s ability, knowledge, experience and persistence is obviously not taken into consideration when the reason for denial is so abstract. Another potential result the business loan lender is concern with is, the new business owner is likely to spend his/her life savings before giving up, and should not be assisted in financial ruin by providing the means with which to do so. The means, of course, is busiess loan approval and subsequent issuance of proceeds.

So what does a new business person or entrepreneur do? Left with what s/he determine to be a great business idea, and everything else required to start a business, s/he does the next best thing. Go it alone! Gather whatever resources possible and set out on the adventure solo. Buy second hand office supplies and furniture. Buy the small cheap laptop instead of the multi-thousand dollar computer that would probably make life easier. Without the proper money for advertising, it would be necessary to get a little more creative than s/he might otherwise be.

Advertising methods would have to be unconventional, but workable. In other words, this is the stage at which Running a Business on Limited Resources becomes a required skill, and if that skill is developed and managed effectively, large amounts of money in order to get the business to the world becomes an afterthought.

When success is achieved in your new business on limited resources, you can always engage in the “what if” nostalgia that often results when people become successful and think back on all the trials and hardships s/he endured to achieve such success: “So would I have been so successful had the loan processor gave me the business loan?

Let’s face it, when you achieve success, especially in your own business, without money or other resources from others – even banks – you can always wonder what would have happened if you would have had the proper start-up money for advertising, payroll or other operational expenses, but those thoughts are quickly dismissed and replaced by Whatever the case may have been, I am glad things worked out the way they did, because as a result you are usually able to better understand some of the challenges that other entrepreneurs and new business persons face.

So how can you run your business on limited resources? Here are a few things that I learned along the way.

1) New vs. Used – When starting your business, you do not need everything to be “new.” Second hand items cost substantially less then new items, and work just as well. Plus, if you think about it, customers will be more comfortable around your office if it feels “broke-in”, rather then new and sterile. It gives them the feeling that you have been in business awhile.

2) Creative Advertising – You do not need the hundreds of dollars that it takes to place ads in papers or put commercials on TV. It costs very little to design and print you own flyers and put them in places where your potential clients would gather. Turn your vehicle into a moving billboard by investing in a vinyl signage for your doors or windows. The best thing? Face to Face meetings with your potential clients do not cost a penny, so look for every opportunity to talk with our potential clients.

3) Work At Home – Depending on your type of business, you may consider working at home rather then renting office space. This will save you a lot of money on rent and furnishing an office. Once your business becomes more successful, then you can always rent office space later. Overall, be thankful for the struggles that you go through now, because in the future, they will have been well worth it. Plus, it will give you a better understanding when it comes to other small businesses.

And, no matter what, never give up on yourself!

Choosing A Business Opportunity To Start Your Own Business

Millions of people are desparate to escape the 9 to 5 grind. One popular alternative is to look for a business opportunity that turns you from an employee into a self-employed entrepreneur running your own business.

There are many good reasons why this can be a wise move. Being your own boss means you can set your own hours. This can be very important if you have small children, or simply want to spend more time at home. Working from home can also save valuable time, if the alternative is spending two or three hours every day commuting back and forth to your work place. And of course, working for yourself also gives you the opportunity to make a whole lot more money.

In other words, being your own boss gives you that valuable commodity called freedom. It sets you free from the limitations of being someone else’s paid employee, and in return makes you responsible for your own future. As a self-employed entrepreneur you are free to set your own hours, establish your own work habits, choose what work you will do or will not do, create your own products, drum up your own customers, and do what you have to do to make those customers happy.

And perhaps most importantly, when you are self-employed you are free to set your own prices and make as much or as little income as you are able to make. You will not have to answer to anyone other than yourself, your suppliers, and of course, your ever-present Uncle SAM (for tax collection), after you become successful.

How to get started — Two Alternatives

There are two obvious ways you can go about starting your own business. The first way is to quit your day job and launch full bore into your new business. We’ll call this the “All or Nothing Approach”. The second way is to continue on with your current employment and develop a business on the side, in your spare time. We’ll call this the “Spare Time Approach”.

Depending on your point of view, taking the All or Nothing Approach can be either an act of bravery or just plain recklessness. Unless you are independently wealthy, planning and timing will be very important with this approach. That’s because once you leave your previous employment your source of income will be gone and you will have a limited amount of time to make your business work. It is “sink or swim”. And you can sink pretty quickly without a source of income.

So that means you should plan the changeover to self-employment very carefully. Every situation will be different. An acquaintance of mine was able to step from his quasi-government job into a private consulting business because he spent the last few months of his employment developing leads and contacts within his industry. When he went out on his own he had customers waiting in the wings and was able to more than double his income in his very first year.

But most of us are not so lucky. We do not have the quality leads or the specialized skills. Nor do most of us have the opportunity to use our present employment to build a launching pad of potential customers before we take off into the wild blue yonder of self-employment. Most of us are starting from scratch with a few vague ideas, a questionable set of yet-to-be-defined skills, and severly limited income. So our venture into self-employment had better take off within a few months or we’re likely to crash and burn.

That is why the Spare Time Approach is best for most new self-employed entrepreneurs, because it lets you test your ideas, develop your skills, and build your business slowly. If you are unsure about the products or services you intend to sell, this approach lets you try out different product lines and see how well they fit in with your overall objectives.

In many cases new entrepreneurs states that their first ideas are not realistic, or there is no market for the services they want to provide. Or they find they cannot charge enough to make any money providing the products or services they have chosen.

Choose your product carefully

Like all new entrepreneurs, whether you take the “all or nothing approach” or the “spare time approach” you should be very tight-fisted with your limited resources. That means do not invest any serious money in a product or business idea until you have checked it out thoroughly. The best way to “check it out” is to:

  • Talk to other entrepreneurs who are already selling the product or service.
  • Establish the credibility of the product or service provider (person or company).
  • Make sure the company provides on-going support for their product(s).
  • Make sure there are no hidden or unexpected costs (such as franchise fees) that will eat away your profits.

This applies whether you are looking at an online product such as an MLM or affiliate marketing opportunity, or a more traditional product or service aimed only at local customers. But whatever business or product you decide on, you must be willing to put in a few months of hard work at the beginning until your business has picked up a little steam and is, at least, generating enough income to cover the expenses of running it.

In other words, work your butt off until your business is self-supported, and then you could start looking at ways to expand in a way that would generate even more income, if not a profit that will give you a little stipend until you can collect a full-time income. Then you can quit your day job.

As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, your choice of products is crucial to your success or failure. Many products are simply bogus ideas with no hope of working. And many others are designed to produce maximum profits for their creators, and minimum profits for people like you and me who sell them. So no matter how hard you work, or how committed you are to being successful, if you choose the wrong product you will be operating at a disadvantage straight out of the gate.