How to Start a Microbusiness on a Micro-Budget

Americans are starting microbusinesses at record rates. Brookings reports that “17% of the 20 million microbusinesses tracked in the U.S. were started after the onset of the pandemic” and the number of self-employed Americans reached a high not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

A variety of factors are behind the microbusiness boom, but one big reason is surprisingly simple: It’s a lot easier to start a business nowadays.

Between the growing e-commerce marketplace and a plethora of digital tools for starting and running a business, today’s entrepreneurs face fewer barriers than in the past. In fact, many self-employed business owners start with no outside financing whatsoever.

How do they do it? Kimberly J. Howard, CFP presents some must-have tips and tools for starting a business on a micro-budget.

Start simple

In addition to their smaller size, microbusinesses have simpler operations and requirements than other small businesses.

  • Microbusinesses specialize in small markets. By focusing on a niche or hyperlocal market, microbusinesses avoid direct competition with larger brands.
  • Likewise, microbusinesses stick to a limited product mix or launch with a minimum viable product. An MVP gets startups to market with less time and money and generates vital feedback to inform growth.
  • Unless a microbusiness is seeking outside funding, a one-page business plan that covers finances, marketing, and other basics is adequate for most startups.
  • Most microbusinesses operate as pass-through entities. While sole proprietorships are most common, some microbusiness owners choose a single-member LLC for the liability protection and branding advantages.

Take advantage of affordable resources

Running an efficient business doesn’t have to cost a lot. These are the must-have resources for starting and running a business on a tight budget.

  • The Small Business Administration, SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, and other organizations offer a wealth of free educational resources for entrepreneurs.
  • Microbusiness owners can take advantage of free and low-cost tools for running a business such as accounting, project management, and point-of-sale software.
  • Can’t afford a professional? There are lots of online tools to build your brand for cheap, including website builders, logo generators, and brand style tools.
  • You can also find an online Facebook ad template that can help you put together customized ads for the popular social media platform featuring your business’s logo, photos, choice of fonts, colors, and a library of other graphic assets.

Keep overhead costs low

Microbusinesses also save money on the everyday costs of running a business like office space and payroll.

You don’t need heaps of startup capital to make your self-employment goals a reality. Microbusinesses are lowering the barrier to business ownership for millions of entrepreneurs through lower costs and a streamlined path to startup. If you’ve been looking for your path to business ownership, consider starting a microbusiness of your own — it’s closer than you think!

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP is your go-to source for financial planning advice and financial services. Connect with Kimberly today for more info!

How to Start a Small Business When You’re a Parent with a Disability

Woman Coffee ShopImage courtesy of Pixabay

Are you ready to jump into a new venture? Being a parent is serious business in and of itself, but when you’re a mom or dad with a disability, getting a small business up and running can be a daunting task. Here is how to set yourself up for success.

 

Flexibility and Balance

 

Parenting is a demanding job, and parents with disabilities face unique challenges. How do you balance your career, your home life, and tending your personal needs in a way that is both satisfying and responsible? Being a small business owner can be the perfect solution. As The New York Times points out, becoming an entrepreneur allows people with disabilities to find independence, income, and flexibility. You can even work from home! As Angie’s List notes, though, you’ll need to make sure your home office is set up for “maximum productivity.” The site suggests eliminating distractions as much as possible (don’t put your desk in the kids’ playroom), illuminating it with natural light, and keeping ergonomic design in mind when selecting furniture. Be sure you choose pieces that accommodate your disability and will keep you comfortable throughout the workday.

 

Through owning your own business, you can achieve your financial and professional goals while scheduling comfortably around your capabilities, your family, personal needs, and other obligations.

 

What’s Your Niche?

 

The first thing you need to do is come up with the right business idea for you. Make sure to research trends and which startup ideas have the potential to make money.

 

Sometimes, great ideas pop into our minds without effort, and some are birthed through a process of sifting, sorting, and conceptualizing. If you aren’t sure of your direction, one suggestion is to look at your strengths, weaknesses, and lifestyle, and then start from there. Perhaps you can identify an issue your business can solve or a service you can provide. Make some notes to see if you find a trend. Then, narrow down your ideas until you find that happy place where there are customers AND a service or product you’d like to produce. That’s called your niche.

 

Do Some Brainstorming

 

Once you solidify the direction for your new venture, you can lay some groundwork. Starting your own small business is easier than it sounds. One of the first things you need to do is choose a name for your new venture. Many people get bogged down selecting a business name, but Inc. points out your time is better spent making money, so pick a name and jump in!  Some experts suggest thinking in terms of something that tells people what you do, which will make your brand readily recognizable. Some experts suggest you use a business-naming tool. A well-chosen brand gives your business credibility and provides an emotional connection with your target audience. It gives your customers and employees something to believe in and generates loyalty.

 

Connect with the Government

 

Once you decide on a name, you may need to connect with the government. If you will employ other people or will partner with someone else, you will need an Employee Identification Number (EIN). Some locations also require you to register your business name, and some require a business license. Check in with your county or city government for guidelines.

 

Evaluate Your Finances

 

As they say, it takes money to make money. You need to take a realistic look at your financial situation to see if you have enough funds or if you will need to apply for loans or grants for your new venture. Some professionals recommend overestimating your need, since many new businesses run out of funding before they can start turning a profit. A small business loan is a practical solution, and there are some wonderful grants and funding opportunities from various organizations specifically oriented toward people with disabilities.

 

Independence Can Be Yours!

 

Starting a new business can be the effective and smart solution for parents with disabilities, so lay a great foundation to ensure your success. Through your own business venture, you can pursue flexibility and independence for a balanced and fulfilling life. If you’re doubting yourself, go here and be inspired! There’s a vibrant, passionate community waiting for you with open arms.