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!

Planning a Successful Career-Related Move

If your company is relocating to a new city or a different state, you may be forced to uproot your family and move to an unknown locale. So what can you do to prepare yourself and your loved ones effectively in order to avoid stress and to save both time and money? Depending on your situation, here are a few tips for a smooth relocation, courtesy of KJH Financial Services.

Relocate Your Business

If you’re a business owner and are relocating your company to a different state, you’ll need to re-register your LLC or corporation. To avoid costly lawyer fees, you can file the paperwork yourself or use a formation service that will help you understand and follow the rules applicable in your state, as well as obtain all the licenses and permits you may need to legally operate.

Try to plan your move several months ahead and get in touch with a local accountant to review your paperwork and inform you of possible tax incentives, as well as to prepare for unforeseen expenses. And if you need to find a new brick-and-mortar location for your business, spend some time in your new city to find a neighborhood where your target market likes to shop and find retail space in that area that fits your budget.

Additionally, if the new job isn’t what you were hoping or planning for, don’t panic. There are plenty more opportunities out there! To give yourself an advantage over the competition, here’s a free resume builder that you can use to professionally highlight your skills.

Find a Place to Live for Your Family

In an ideal world, you would have plenty of time and opportunities to visit your new state or city, explore different neighborhoods, inquire about the best–and worst–schools in the area and find the perfect home for yourself and your family. But sometimes, a career-related relocation leaves you with barely enough time to pack. So try to optimize the time you have by doing a lot of research based on the needs of your family.

If you have school-aged children that will be enrolled in public institutions, find a house or apartment located in the school district that best suits your children’s educational needs. And if you’re concerned about spending too much time away from your loved ones, find a rental home close to your new place of employment to reduce your commute time. Two bedroom/two bathroom homes in the Boston area start at around $2,400 per month, so do your research. Certain areas are more desirable than others, especially when you take school districts into account. Once you know the area better, and if you want to put down roots in your new city, you may start looking for a place to buy.

Create a Budget for Your Moving Costs

Some companies will offer to pay for some of your relocation costs, so make sure you keep all your receipts handy. Contact a few moving companies in your area and have them come to your house in person to assess the cost of moving your household to a different city or state, and get several estimates in writing. You may be able to save money by packing your belongings yourself, but make sure to allow enough time to do so, and don’t forget to keep track of how much you spend on packing boxes, tape, and bubble wrap for your fragile items.

When creating your moving budget, be sure to include upfront costs such as internet, utilities, rent, and security deposit, as well as your travel expenses like gas, hotel accommodations, and meals. It adds up pretty quickly. Make a list of everything that will need to be turned off at your old house (cable, gas, electricity…) so you don’t end up paying providers you no longer need and don’t forget to notify the post office, your bank, and your insurance company that you are moving.

Relocating can be a wonderful thing if you’re looking for a change of scenery, but make sure you and your loved ones have a soft place to land. That means making sure that your kids have great schools to go to, that you live in a safe neighborhood, and, if you’re a business owner, that your company can thrive in its new location.

Building your career requires many strategic moves and a lot of work. If you’d like guidance on the financial planning aspect of your growth, contact KJH Financial Services. We can help you manage your money and invest in ways that will secure your future. Visit us online to learn more.