There seem to be more and more of us nowadays that are in the entrepreneurial mood and want to start a business. While in the past you needed a good deal of capital and a sound business plan, not to mention the backing of the bank and a team of experts on hand to get an idea off the ground, the online world has made it much easier, and cheaper, to succeed.

Search the web and you’ll find numerous stories of successful entrepreneurs who started on a budget of less than £250 and made it big. From cottage industries to professional services, there are a variety of start-up businesses that don’t need a large amount of upfront capital. They do need, however, a good deal of thought if you are going to succeed.

Be Sure This is What You Want

Starting a business can seem like a good idea when you’re sat in the pub having a few beers and discussing things with your friends. You may not like working for your current boss or just want the freedom of setting out on your own, but you need to be sure this is what you want and that you are going to be good at it. Even if you don’t need a large chunk of financing behind you, the prospect is that you will be working long and often frustrating hours to get your venture off the ground. You need to have the energy, the skill set and the application to make things succeed. If you don’t, perhaps you’re better off working for someone else.

Choosing the Right Business

Each of us comes with our own particular strengths and weakness and part of choosing the right business idea is making sure these marry up with your future plans. This is the time to be honest with yourself and accept your limitations. You may, of course, already come with a pre-packaged business direction. You might be a solicitor who wants to set up on their own or you could have a hobby that is prime for turning into a business. You also need to answer the question of whether there is a market for your business idea. Here are just some things you need to ask:

  • Is it possible on under £250?
  • Can you run the business on your own?
  • What infrastructure do you need in place?
  • Is your idea scalable? In other words, how easy and cheap is it to expand if you need to.

While all other things can be worked on and solved by ingenuity and hard work when operating on a low budget, choosing the right business idea in the first place is the foundation on which everything else will be built. If it doesn’t have the legs, then you aren’t going to succeed. This is where you need to get your plan into some sort of focus, do your research properly and make a case that the business will succeed.

Setting Your Budget

You’re already planning to do this for under £250, but there are going to be some tools that you need if you are going to get it off the ground. Most of us already have a laptop or pc at home so you probably won’t have to use your budget for that, at least initially. You may well have to invest in a website which will mean finding a host and page design, as well as getting content up, or you might need to enter into a relationship with a reliable ecommerce provider. If you don’t have that kind of experience, you will probably need to get it done for you. If you are selling a product, you will need to spend a good deal in getting enough stock in to get you over those first few months.

Of course, £250 doesn’t go far in this day and age and being smart with your resources is all part of the game. You can get a friend to do the content for your site, for instance. Opting for free resources in the first instance can help you get started.

Planning for the Future

Planning is everything in business, whether you are operating on a big or small budget. This doesn’t just mean putting in the strategies for success, there are also the problems that may arise during the course of your business. For example, if you have a professional service, how are you going to survive while you are building your company from the ground up? Do you need to keep working to make ends meet? Setting effective goals and meeting them is key to moving your business forward and will determine how successful you are eventually going to be.

Networking Effectively

None of us get anywhere without friends. Networking is about meeting up with like-minded people and forming strong relationships that can help in the future. Most regions run their own networking events where you can go along and meet other business owners. It’s a great way to gather extra knowledge, hints and tips and even, perhaps, find partners who can help you with your business. You can, of course, network online nowadays and build relationships that way. However you do it, this is a key area where you can help develop your business and find the support that keeps you going, especially during difficult times.

Marketing on a Shoestring

A budget of £250 doesn’t leave you much room for manoeuvre. The great thing is a lot of marketing is out there available for free. Once you have set up your website and developed your online strategy including posting content, there’s social media to get a handle on. You will need to develop a brand on these platforms and engage with potential customers, hopefully sending them to your website. You can also get some Customer Relations Management facilities for free that can help you keep a better track of everyone visiting your site. The good news is that you have a huge range of online resources to help you market your business more effectively. All you need to be prepared for is to put in the time.

If you do want to set up a new business but have a limited budget, now is the time. There has never been a better opportunity for start-ups to grow and if you put in the right thought and planning, have a strong business idea and possess the energy to carry it through, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t succeed.

Anna Lemos

Anna Lemos


Anna Lemos, Content Marketing Executive at Company Formations 24.7.