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8 Tips for a Start-up Business With Limited Funds

By: Michael Houlihan
Posted: May 28, 2013, from the June 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Start-up business

You know you’ve got a winning idea and you’re certain clients will love it. There’s just one problem: lack of funding. Read on to learn about eight cost-saving measures that might just be lifesavers for your start-up skin care facility.

1. Start in your home. Unless your skin care facility needs to operate in a specific type of space, wait until you have gained more momentum to start writing rent checks. Make use of anywhere that won’t make a dent in your bank account.

2. Utilize family members. As long as you are appreciative, you might find that family members would love to help your start-up succeed. They can lend you a hand with administrative duties or events. Each relative who helps takes the place of an employee you’d otherwise have to pay.

3. Assume another company’s excess inventory. If it’s feasible for your skin care facility, attempt to acquire another spa’s or school’s unsold merchandise or used equipment. If you can incorporate it into your skin care facility, you’ve saved yourself time, effort, manpower and money.

4. Focus your financial resources on marketing. Until your spa is financially stable, what little money you have will be best spent on marketing to develop a client base and build momentum. Keep in mind that if you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, it will ultimately bear your company’s name, so never compromise on quality.

5. Use worthy-cause marketing to advertise your services and products. Spread the word by partnering with nonprofit organizations that resonate with you, and your services and products. Small, local organizations are usually best. Donate your services and manpower at the nonprofit’s events, while promoting your offerings and conducting market research by talking to attendees. You can also recognize the organizations you partner with on your website and in your brochures, and have them do the same for you.

6. Trade your goods and services. You’ll find that many entrepreneurs and companies are willing to trade goods or services in lieu of payment. Many start-ups, especially in their early days, will prefer this option to spending money. If your own inquiries don’t yield any results, there are many barter companies that specialize in these kind of trades. Just be sure that any trade you make is legal, and realize that there can be tax consequences. When in doubt, seek the advice of an accounting expert.

7. Forge strategic growth alliances with suppliers. As your skin care facility thrives, you’ll become a bigger customer, which will help your suppliers to succeed. When you’re on good footing with them, you’ll find that they’re willing to help you by providing special discounts and extending your credit.

8. Ask questions. Before making any kind of commitment that will cost you money, ask plenty of questions until you’re sure you’re moving in the right direction. You’ll save money because you aren’t making incorrect assumptions.

Ultimately, launching and growing a successful skin care facility isn’t so much about the amount of money you have as it is about identifying your resources and using them effectively. And once you do build up momentum, the cost-saving measures and innovations that helped you to survive in the early days will assist your company in continuing to operate efficiently and effectively.

Growing a successful skin care facility isn’t dependent on the amount of money you have, but how effectively you use your resources.

Michael+HoulihanMichael Houlihan, co-author of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built a Bestselling Wine (Evolve Publishing, 2013), founded the national Barefoot Wine brand.