If you’re thinking about starting a business, this guide will help you to think through the process so that it’s as painless and exciting as possible.

Why start a business?

Everyone wants to be successful in their life. However, running a business is different from most other careers, so why start one now?

It takes hard work to gain that initial knowledge, build those relationships and manage through the first few months of dealing with unforeseen challenges while working toward your dream. Below is a list of low cost start up businesses for you to consider.

Best Small Business Ideas for you

home staging

If you have a flair for interior design, a staging service maybe your creative outlet and professional calling. You can build up a portfolio of homes by staging them using the owner’s existing furniture and décor.Staging can be fun if you have access to some outdated vintage furniture. Most stagers eventually build up an inventory of furniture pieces until offering the full scope of their services in stage-furnishing residential homes.

coffee shop

This option can be the most costly business on the list due to the equipment and some local permits required. It also requires a little more planning and a lot more work at the beginning — but it also maximises your earning potential later on. 

garden designer

Many people are willing to do the dirty work in their backyards, but few have the know-how to complete the first part of this process — designing and planning the backyard space.

Draw up the designs for your clients’ outdoor spaces and let them do the actual digging. 

Jewellery making

One of the current market trends for small start up businesses is making jewellery. According to Cosmopolitan magazine, an outfit doesn’t feel complete without jewellery. Why? Because jewellery can be used to make a person feel more confident! It can be made of metal, clay, wood, or glass. All you need is to pick a medium that you feel most comfortable with and start creating! 

Don’t forget to check out Pinterest for inspiration or Etsy for the competitors. 

Sewing and Alteration

A lot of people love sewing. And why shouldn’t they? It’s a relaxing hobby that allows you to make something beautiful without any risk of physical harm. If you want to try your hand at making clothing, start small and expand from there.

Remember, every time you make something for someone else, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. This option is excellent for those who want a low-cost startup business.

Ecommerce Store

This option is considered the easiest startup business as it requires the lowest budget and minimum to nothing amount of necessary paperwork.

If you have a reel of your work to share, a collection of products, or even just an idea for the products, opening an eCommerce site will help you take one step (or a leap) closer to success. 

If you know a good supplier who can offer dropshipping service, you can easily start up a business with under 5K in no time. 

Research – the more, the better

Never underestimate the role of research when it comes to businesses. Because a large body of study gives you a greater chance of finding something that will be useful to start a business smoothly, it also means that you have more data on which to base your decision making.

Start your business plan by identifying your potential target market. You will also want to learn about the customers’ needs, wants and problems. With the current digital technology nowadays, You can do a quick research on the internet and then reach out to people in business for their advice. You can also read through forums and social media groups that cover your industry. 

Stalking your competitors

Knowing what the competitors are doing is a great way to grab a quick snapshot of the current market trends of the industry. You can also look at their social media activities and start a mini analysis on what they have succeeded in and what you think you can do better. Don’t forget to visit their website and check out their products, shipping methods and pricing strategies ( if they do an e-commerce business). The more analysing work you do, the better and clear you can put into your business plan. 

The Queensland government stated that Growing your business without understanding your competitors is risky. In addition, researching your competitors will help you develop a plan of attack. Market research can also provide information on trends and changes in buying patterns, which you may be able to take advantage of.

Not sure where to start?

The Queensland government has put together this simple yet comprehensive guide for everyone to start with. 

Expecting some expenses

The best way to avoid any heart attack (primarily when we aim to keep the cost as low as possible) is to be aware of any fees, including startup and running costs. 

According to the Australian Government Business, conducting market research on your potential industry will help you ensure that your product or service will be profitable. You’ll need to gather information on your market, potential customers and cost of production. All these costs should go into your startup business plan. Some startup costs for you to consider include: 

  • Equipment
  • Utility connections
  • Insurance (Important for services in food, health and beauty)
  • Business name registration
  • Solicitor fees. (If applicable to your industry)
  • Costs to obtain required licenses to practise in your industry.
  • Supplies
  • Payroll
  • Software subscription 
  • Marketing 

Some items above may not apply to your business ( or are not yet essential for the current stage of your business). 

Finance your business

Although we are looking at starting up a low-cost business, we also need to have sufficient funds to help you get through the rainy days while focusing on establishing the not-yet-generating revenue business. 

More fund is undoubtedly required for businesses that need more set-up like a cafe. Applying for a loan is an excellent boost for your taking off. If so, don’t forget to detoxify your credit score while working on your business plan. 

Keep an eye on your state government website for any potential small business startup programs.

Licenses, permits or registration required?

Depend on your industry and the government state to identify the specific licenses you need. Most of the suggested business ideas above wouldn’t require the business owners much of licences to operate. However, some permits are required if you choose to open a coffee shop or beauty and health-related services.

Give your dream an identity…

it’s time to give some colour and visual elements to your business plan

Branding strategy

Starting your business with a good branding strategy helps to attract your potential customers/ clients better.

Why am I using branding strategy but not specially referring to logo design? Because I want to emphasise that branding strategy shouldn’t stop at a good logo design or the business card only. It is a long term process, not a one-off event. The ‘brand’ refers to the total of what makes your company different from other businesses.

How can we create a good business brand? 

A brand strategy should be long-term and include goals that can be achieved over time, not just one or two big ideas.

In other words, let me break down those lengthy sentences into three key elements:

  1. a) a clear understanding of what makes your company unique;
  2. b) a clear understanding of how you will communicate this uniqueness to customers, and
  3. c) a clear understanding of how you will sustain this communication over time

Once you know your ground, apply your vision and belief to this process: 

1) Defining what makes your business unique and different from others in its industry;

2) Identifying your target customer base; and

3) Developing a marketing plan to reach those customers.

Why am I talking too much about brand strategy? Because a strong brand strategy can help you build customer loyalty and sustain the business growth for a long term. 

Digital presence

Digital technology is an enormous part of the growth of many businesses nowadays. Consumers are more cautious with their buying decision. Indeed lots of research are done to understand your business before the consumers put their cards down. With no to little information returned on google, the chance to complete the transaction is nearly zero. Therefore, your digital presence is crucial.

If you have a website and social media accounts, congratulate you on the beginning of the third step in the branding strategy process. Otherwise, never too late to start one! 

On-going marketing

As said above, a one-off event cannot sustain the brand in the long run, but an on-going commitment for marketing 

Prepare yourself to commit to these tasks: 

Consistent social media posts

Creative and entertaining videos for reels

Making customers aware of your specials and new arrivals

and…

Keep being creative, and 

Keep your brand’s tone and voice consistent 

Can you do it all yourself? 

The answer is a big YES! You can find millions of tips and tricks, website builders, logo makers or marketing tutorials easily, thanks to digital technology.

The only problem is TIME. Will you have TIME to learn and do it all yourself? If you answer YES to this question, you will get behind your competitors who focus on things that matter more to their business (and things that they are excellent at!). According to Investopedia, entrepreneurs rarely can be expertise in bookkeeping and marketing. Author Sean suggested that Instead of fumbling through your marketing campaign, hire out that aspect of your business. It costs money, but it will bring in much more than what you spent if done right.  

Check out our Startup packages or The Social Packages if you need extra hands. 

Why do startup businesses fail?

There are many reasons why startup businesses fail. One of the leading causes is that they do not have a plan for getting started and growing their business. While it might seem like a good idea to start a business without an established plan, this usually ends up being disastrous because there will be no clear direction for where you want your company to go or how long it should take to reach that goal. 

Investopedia has shortlisted these reasons that cause startup failure

Money Ran Out

Wrong Market

Lack of Research

Bad Partnership

Bad Marketing

Not an Expert

Bottom line

Although the business we suggested above can require little cost to start with, you will still have to invest lots of time, passion and energy to make your dream come true. Therefore, regardless of how small the business is, doing some groundwork will help avoid any future disappointment. And who knows…, a small side hustle can become BIG if the first step is well crafted!

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