The Cure for the Limited Small Business Budget

Being an entrepreneur, or running a small business, means that you create something (a product, a service, a business) with the limited resources you have at your disposal.

When developing your product, customer service, or marketing programs you probably aren’t dealing with an unlimited budget. Except of course, those lucky folks you read about who’ve raised millions of dollars in angel and VC money.

Now I don’t have anything against raising money – in fact I’m a member of the St. Louis Arch Angels. But the reality is that 99% of businesses aren’t fundable. (More on that in another post.)

So what’s the “normal” entrepreneur do to?

You’re probably normal yourself. You actually need profit and cash flow to run your business, and you have tiny, and sometimes nonexistent budgets to develop, market and sell your product or service. In that environment, how can you accomplish anything?

With focus and creativity.

When you don’t have resources, you can’t do much. You have to focus your energies on just a few items. You have to pick the highest leverage activities. And that requires intense focus and prioritization.

A few keys:

  • * Don’t go for perfect. It isn’t critical that your product is perfect, just that its good for your target market.
  • * Narrow your solution. Focus on a single customer type. When you’re small, it’s hard to deal with more than one type of customer. More intense focus in your product line means you can get good with less investment of time and money.
  • * Accept the limitations. It’s easy to get trapped thinking “I can’t do that, because I don’t have the budget.” Don’t focus on the limitation, focus on the solution. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Then take one small step.
  • * Don’t try to do too much at once – do it over time. Take your grand plan about how your product, service, marketing campaign will look. Write it all down. Now pick just the most important piece – something that will get results. It’s not a half solution, its a smaller complete solution. Then do that. You can build the rest of it over time.
  • * Keep it small. Small, but complete, is better than big and never finished. You have to “get to done”.

Don’t allow yourself to get stuck. Accept your situation and take a step forward by doing whatever you can. And then take another step after that. It will be slower than you like, but one day you’ll look up and be amazed by how far you’ve come.