This article originally appeared on www.BusinessCollective.com.
Building a business costs money. And unfortunately, as the old saying goes, ‘money doesn’t grow on trees.’ I started my mobile gym franchise GYMGUYZ seven years ago with little capital myself. But in the process, I learned that it is possible to pursue business ownership with around $15,000. To go big places, you’ll always need more money. But you can start out with very little as long as you take care of some careful planning and are passionate about your company.
Have a Plan
From the very beginning, put everything down on paper. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a business. More importantly, a financial model allows you to understand what kind of budget you’re working with, where the funds are going and what is required to grow. In order to design a plan, think about key questions such as:
- How will I differentiate myself from competitors?
- How much will it cost to provide my product or service?
- How much will I charge?
- Where can I cut costs so I can still run at an optimal level?
Some new entrepreneurs are all over the place. Starting a business takes passion, self-confidence and fortitude. Start thinking like a businessman. You will experience setbacks and times of frustration, especially in the early stages of lifting your idea off the ground. During these times, I encourage you to remember why you decided to go into business ownership in the first place and know that entrepreneurship is a journey of highs and lows.
Ask Your Network For Help
Growing your budget is important, and you can increase your spending through friends, family, the SBA and other lenders — but building relationships can help you get there faster.
At GYMGUYZ, we needed more vans. A new van is $35,000, which is money we didn’t have. I did my research and asked around. I asked experts, friends, acquaintances, you name it — and all this outreach led me to connect with a company that leased vehicles at a significantly lower cost, which helped me keep my overhead down. We didn’t have to put in too much upfront, and we got to keep more cash flow in our business. Don’t be afraid to explore new options, take different routes and ask those around you for help.
On the same note, asking friends or family for a loan is a great way to increase your cash flow and capital. But be smart about it. Have a plan outlining terms of the loan in writing so that both parties are in agreement. Know how much money you’re borrowing, how long it will take you to pay it back, and whether you feel comfortable with that.
The Small Business Association is also a great resource; use it to your benefit. The SBA has a variety of programs like 7(a) program to help small businesses find their footing in a growing economy.
Continue to Learn
Finally, it’s important to be connected in the industry. There are always people and resources you can turn to for answers. Never stop learning – there is always more information to know, use and retain. By building your glossary of terms, procedures and policies, you can ensure you’re dialed in and always understand what is going on. Pick up books, read the news, analyze competitors and stay on top.
But most importantly – never forget to stay humble.
Josh York is the Founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, an in-home mobile personal training company headquarted in Plainview, New York. Since its inception in 2008, Josh has been valued for his hands-on leadership style, growing the business and profitability to more than 1000 clients, 45 employees and a fleet of vans in less than 6 years.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.