What if you could start a booming business for $1,000 or less?

To some, doing so may sound like little more than a dream; however, the reality is that building a small, lean startup is probably much easier than you’ve been led to believe.

The concept of the “$1,000 startup” was popularized during the recent recession as more and more of the public took the leap into entrepreneurship in response to a stagnant economy. The principles of such startups, requiring little capital and operating on a shoestring budget, still work today for new business owners looking to survive on less.

After all, the benefits of “starting small” rather than relying on a massive injection of startup cash are three-fold:

  • Business owners can worry less about risk due to their small initial investments
  • Dealing with less money means that you can start your business sooner rather than later (think: you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect location or getting pricey licenses approved)
  • Your business has room to grow on its own terms as you aren’t bound to the wants and expectations of investors

So, let’s say you’re looking to start a swift startup with only $1,000 in your pocket. Where should you start?

Start by Structuring

Entity formation is an absolute must-do for all new business regardless of industry. The initial investment of forming an LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp represents a long-term commitment to protecting your business’ legal and financial future.

While some entrepreneurs sleep on entity formation, doing so from the beginning will ultimately provide you peace of mind as you grow your customers base and build up your business relationships. After all, you don’t want to leave yourself open to potential “what-if” situations if your business runs into legal trouble.

Yes, You Still Need a Website

Despite popular belief, social media has not replaced traditional websites. Think of it this way: you need a central hub for your business where you can give your clients, customers and leads a point of contact. For starters, some of the initial investments new business owners should make on-site include…

  • A domain name from a trustworthy provider (which also aids with your branding efforts)
  • Cost-effective web hosting (think: search websites such as RetailMeNot for discount codes on hosting)
  • A sleek, responsive WordPress theme: although you can get away with free themes initially, a professional theme will ultimately set you apart from the pack

Invest in Email

The massive ROI of email marketing is difficult to deny and goes hand in hand with your business’ site. Building a list of opt-ins you can speak to and sell to time and time again essentially sews the seeds of a long-term business and repeat customers.

That being said, email marketing solutions come in many shapes and sizes. You can start with free solutions such as MailChimp for your first few thousand subscribers or invest with something a bit more robust. Either way, you should expect to pay for email at some point and at least have the ability for your on-site visitors to opt in to your list ASAP.

Smart Content Marketing

Rather than throw your money at ads, consider putting some killer content on-site as means of attracting leads and giving your business a serious search engine boost. You can either take the approach of hiring freelance writers to help craft a slew of smaller articles or rely on massive, in-depth pillar posts to position yourself as an expert. Either way, the initial and ongoing investments in content will help grow your business’ presence organically.

Starting a swift startup requires keen attention to how you spend your money at the very beginning. By focusing on your business’ legalese and online presence first, you essentially establish the foundation for a business which has nowhere to go but up.


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