Start Your Business for Less than the Cost of Your Daily Coffee.

Starting your own business doesn't have to be expensive. Given a little up front planning and research and, outside of the potential need to register the company, I've found that you can get the bare essentials in place with the change in your pocket.

Obviously, every business is different. You may need bricks and mortar, equipment, marketing, tools or storage space. You may not. But here are a few ideas on how you can get vital resources in place for no more than the change in your pocket.

Get Advice

There is truth in the old adage that you get what you pay for, but when starting a business you may not have the funds or the inclination to shell out megabucks to pay for any form of business consultancy. Luckily, there is a wealth of information online to help you in setting up your business. Websites like and are a great place to start.

Also, talk to friends or family who are self-employed or have started a business before. People love to talk about their experiences and it’s likely you’ll pick up some nuggets of information. Networking events in your area might also be worth attending.

Invoice Total - £0.00

Build a Website           

The question to ask yourself here is do you need a full website from day one? Are you planning to go all out online? Is a website mission-critical or do you just need some form of online presence – somewhere to direct people to that provides a little info with a way to get in touch?

If it’s the latter then something like a Facebook Company Page may give you all you need to get started. Another option might be an page, a free service that will give you a quick and easy one-page website that allows you to showcase your business, offer up contact details, and link together any other aspects of your business online. They even do deals on business cards so you can seamlessly link your offline connections to your online presence.

Invoice Total - £0.00

Communicate with Email Marketing

Need to get an email out to your business contacts to tell them about a new product, service offer or event? For small-scale campaigns, Mail Chimp might be the answer. If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free, which should be more than enough to get you off the ground.

Invoice Total - £0.00

Get Trading with eCommerce

Selling products online? Do you need a full eCommerce platform from the moment you start out? Or do you just need some way of allowing your customers to find your product, read some information and complete a transaction?

Depending on what you're selling, existing online markets like eBay or Etsy can offer you all you need to get going. In fact, many businesses operate exclusively on these platforms. Of course, there is a cost implication, paying the provider a percentage of your sale.

Time it right and get your products online during an eBay on a free listing weekend and you have no upfront cost. Similarly, Etsy costs around $0.20 to list an item for 4 months, which you only pay if you sell the item. So nothing upfront and pay on success. Win win!

Invoice Total - £0.00

Track your customers

If you’re doing email marketing and selling online you are going to want to track your successes and you most profitable products and customers. You may decide you want somewhere a bit more sophisticated than an Excel spreadsheet, but you don't need to jump into a full contact management solution from day one.

Providers like FreeCRM, offer scalable Freemium solutions and give you a decent set of tools to get started – like space for 5,000 records and a collection of basic features. You will have to put up with advertising though.

Invoice Total - £0.00                   

Get Physical

Shop space – Investing in your own shop is a huge commitment and not one to be taken lightly. It’s great to be able to put your stamp on a high street and trade from your very own storefront, but you need to be confident it’s going to work.

Give your confidence a little boost then by trying out a local market or even a ‘Popup’. These initiatives are a great way to experiment with physical retail, test the market and gain face-to-face customer feedback, all of which can be poured into your business plan. Popup Britain has some great advice on how to get started. And market stands for the day can cost as little as £20.

Invoice Total - £20.00


OK. So £20 is a little more than a mochachino, but I guess it all depends how much coffee you drink. Give up the daily morning cup for a month and you’ll easily have enough cash to get started. Obviously, this is only a handful of suggestions and there are plenty of other considerations when starting up a new business. You may need printed material. You may want to carry out surveys. Give away free gifts. Merchandise. Hopefully these ideas will get you going but comments are welcome if you have your own ideas and wish to chime in.

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