Whether you’re just setting up as a self-employed sole trader or starting a limited company complete with a workforce on your payroll, starting a business is an exciting time. But it is also a time that will usually involve a lot of costs, and keeping these costs down can be a big factor in making sure you succeed.
There are a number of ways you can make the process of starting a business more affordable. Some key points to consider are:
One thing to consider is where your business will be housed. This has the potential to be one of your biggest expenses, but some businesses can benefit from much more affordable options. Perhaps the most obvious is to work from home if possible, ideally in a spare room used as a dedicated office. This will not only provide an effectively free working space, but allow you to offset a portion of your bills against tax. If this is not an option, then you may be able to use a workspace – a public space available for people who want a place to come and carry out their business activities on a pay-as-you-go or membership basis.
If you are not working from home because you have employees, then consider whether it would be possible for them to work from home as well. With phones, email and Skype it may be possible to keep in touch and coordinate everyone without being in the same place, and you can still meet up in a coffee shop or hired meeting space from time to time.
Equipment is another of the big expenses that will often face a new business. Depending on the type of business you are operating, you may need anything from a single computer – for which your home computer may suffice – to a workshop full of specialist machinery.
Whatever the case, buying second hand or refurbished equipment can result in big potential savings. Alternatively, hiring equipment may be a more financially manageable, at least until your business has an established, reliable income stream. If you need basic or moderately advanced software tools for some of your activities, you may want to find out if any suitable free software is available.
In the early days, it is likely your business will need some kind of external service provider. For example, you may need to have a website built, and then seek help from a specialist in putting together a marketing campaign. You may also need things such as accountancy services.
For most of these services, there is no reason you need a provider who is geographically close to you. Some services such as web design could be outsourced to overseas businesses for comparatively big savings, without compromising on quality. Others, such as accounting services, will likely need to come from a UK provider but by casting your net nationwide you will have a better chance of finding the most competitive prices.