It doesn’t take a pile of money to start a business. If you spend smart, you can start even inventory-heavy companies with a few thousand bucks. 

Forbes recently highlighted a few shoestring startups and shared ideas to make what you have go further.

  • Know exactly how you’re going to spend. Budgeting isn’t just for households. Do your research ahead of time and know what you will spend on marketing, packaging, etc.
  • If something isn’t needed, wait to purchase it. Sure, office space is nice. But analyze whether you really need it before committing to a lease. Many businesses can be run out of a home or even a garage for the first few years, and the customers won’t even know. Think through each item on your budget before spending on it.
  • For businesses with inventory, spend on stock. You can always get creative with low-cost ways to market, but if you don’t have inventory to sell, you’re stuck.
  • Negotiate credit. If you need to get items on credit, negotiate. Many suppliers will work with you, if you show you’ve got a strong and viable game plan.
  • Scout for free and pro bono opportunities. Organizations often hold contests for startups and give away cash. Marketing and other companies sometimes take on a pro bono client each year. Look for these opportunities and figure out how to best pitch yourself so that you show what’s in it for them, too. The worst thing that can happen is that they say “no.” 

Planning ahead, research, and creativity go a long way in stretching a startup’s dollar.