However, having an idea is not enough to turn it into a business. You need money. The good thing is that if you use certain smart ways of money management, you can create a start in India on a low budget.
Automate using the cloud
One of the biggest expenses that businesses incur is payroll management, be it in terms of salaries, benefits and other facilities, in addition to the costs incurred in organising recruitment drives. More the employees, higher are the expense you incur.
So, in order to create a lean start-up, you need to focus on reducing the manpower in your business. The best alternative it to automate as many functions as you can so that a few employees can handle the job of a bunch.
So, what about the expenses incurred in procuring software solutions for automation?
Cloud computing has come of age today. So, you have cost effective solutions available in the industry. The initial cost of these software solutions is low. With some you have a range of features for free and then pay a small monthly fee for upgraded or premium features. With some you pay a monthly fee for all features and you can start with a free trial to see if you like it. In return, you receive services such as software maintenance, tech support and security, not to mention a product that is constantly updated and improved without you having to download or do anything.
By opting for cloud based SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, you can save money while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of automation.
For example, Zoostr provides a free small business software for Entrepreneurs. Sign up for a free account and you can create invoices, quotations, sms marketing campaigns, manage customers, track payments, schedule meetings and more - all for free and all in one place. Plus you can use it on your smartphone or tablet as well as your PC.
Depending on the kind of business you are in, you can form contracts with suitable vendors instead of investing in the infrastructure. For example, if you plan to start an event planning business, form contracts with decorators, caterers and florists. The advantage is that you can call upon the services of these vendors whenever you have the requirements. During the initial lean phases, you don’t spend a rupee on these things.
On the other hand, if you choose to invest in, say, decoration material, your money sits as a dead investment when those things are not in use. When you formulate contracts, make sure that the terms and conditions are as per your convenience.
If you are in a retail business, you cannot help selecting the best location within your budgets. However, if your business is service based, you can opt to start from a makeshift office in your house or garage. You can request friends or family members who have spare space to rent you the rooms. You save a lot of money this way. Then when revenue and cash flow allow it you can opt to get some space in a shared office or a private office.
Setting up an online store or service portal involves lower investment when compared to a brick and mortar business. With secure payment services now available and accepted in India, you can dare to go online.
However, you need to understand your target audience and judge whether they are tech-savvy because a large chunk of the Indian population is yet to accept the virtual way of life.
Use social media for marketing
Marketing is an integral part of any business. For a start-up, the strategy has to be aggressive because you need to bulldoze your way through the existing competitors. However, marketing is a major expense.
One good way is to use social media for marketing.
Create a Facebook page for your business, set up a blog and use various other social media channels to spread the message. Email marketing is a good option too. With geo-targeted online marketing, you can ensure maximum exposure to target audience within minimal costs.
Use Online / Inbound Marketing
It is well proven now that getting leads using your website or Facebook page will be much cheaper than traditional methods such as advertising or PR. Get a blog and start producing consistent and frequent content that helps your audience and soon your website will have lots of traffic that you can turn into customers.
Consider low cost funding
Crowd-funding has met with huge success all over the world. Several Indian start-ups have built successful businesses this way. You can use crowd-funding or get in touch with angel investors to fund your project.
Starting a business on a lean budget is not impossible, although the route is uphill. It all depends on how you plan your budget and optimise on available resources.
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
SIDBI\s mission is to facilitate and strengthen credit flow to MSMEs and address both financial and developmental gaps in the MSME eco-system. The bank provides a range of services to Entrepreneurs and Micro businesses that can help you get your business of the ground. Learn more on their website - http://sidbi.in/