Start-up on a shoestring

Entrepreneur Andy Yates, and director of Huddlebuy.co.uk - the daily deals site for entrepreneurs - explains how to set be your own boss on a tight budget. We have all dreamt at one time or another of owning our own business and being our own boss. The good news is it is a lot cheaper to start a new business than you think and anyone turn those dreams into reality. These days enterprising entrepreneurs can save a fortune. Here are some top money saving tips that any budding business person can’t afford to ignore.

Saving money from the start

Setting up a limited company in the UK is much easier than it used to be – with prices starting at just a £5. The Formations Company www.theformationscompany.com and Companies Made Simple www.companiesmadesimple.com are good starting points.

Simply Docs (www.simply-docs.co.uk) is packed full of useful document templates with prices starting at £35 + VAT. Future Proof (www.futureproofyourbusiness.com) is a quick way to find out if your idea is unique and protect it.

Next any self-respecting business these days needs a website – but you don’t need to be a technical genius to create your own. The first step is getting a website address. Prices at www.godaddy.com and www.123-reg.co.uk can start from a couple of pounds a year. Build your own website services cost as little as £6 a month with www.basekit.com and www.squarespace.com and www.wordpress.org.

If you are stuck for design ideas Small Business Logos - www.smallbusinesslogos.co.uk charges £75 for a simple logo design. Simply Business customers enjoy an extra 10% discount. Visit the Simply Business customer benefit page for more details.  Or you could try crowd sourcing with sites such as Crowdspring - www.crowdspring.com where you explain what you want, pledge a budget and get people from around the world to send you design ideas.

You can start selling online surprisingly quickly and easily these days. For example you can set up an online storefront with Amazon Webstore – integrated with Amazon’s marketplace (www.webstore.amazon.co.uk). Ebay runs a similar service for around £10 a month http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/building.html). Pay Pal (www.paypal-business.co.uk) also offers a growing range of services allowing businesses to start selling online quickly and cheaply.

A new breed of intuitive online accountancy software has emerged over the last few years, which don’t require a PHD in maths.

QuickBooks (www.intuit.co.uk) costs around £11 a month allowing you to create invoices, track your cash flow, sales, expenses and profits and generate key business reports. Clear Books (www.clearbooks.co.uk) and Kashflow www.kashflow.com (click here for a special offer for Simply Business customers) are other good options.

Office cuts

Dell, Misco, ITC Sales and Euro PC are good places to get some cheap office equipment.

Office Supermarket has big discounts on furniture. You can also unearth some bargains at second hand furniture site http://www.wantdontwant.com/home/

If you budget around £25 a month you can get some very decent business broadband and phones packages from First Telecom, XLN Telecom and Daisy Group.

Regular paper, printer ink, stationery costs can be trimmed at sites such as Staples and Viking Direct. Whilst Moo and Vistaprint are great for cheap printing and business cards.  

Everyday savings

Once you have got the basics in place, there are plenty of ways to keep running costs to a minimum.

Huddlebuy provides exclusive daily deals with 50-90% off goods and services for small businesses.

Communicating with customers is key. Email service Mail Chimp is a good way of getting started and is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails distributed a month. iContact offers a combined email and social marketing tool for £9.99 a month. eReceptionist is a cheap way of never missing a call.

There are plenty of free or inexpensive tools to help promote your business online or through social media. The Social Media Guide is full of top tips and practical advice. HootSuite helps you organise and schedule tweets on Twitter. Twellow helps you find people and businesses with lots of follower so that you can engage with them.

Grovo provides useful free online training and videos and Pagemodo allows you to create a customised Facebook page for your business for free.

There are lots of ways you can get some much needed help without having to fork out a fortune. Some good sites for interns include Internwise and http://graduatetalentpool.direct.gov.uk and Enternships.com. You sites like Odesk.com and Peopleperhour.com put you in touch with a world of freelancers for specific projects.

So now you should be ready to take on the world - without it costing the earth. It has never been easier and cheaper to get a business off the ground.