Holding off on starting your dream business until you have the budget to match the image in your head might seem like a smart plan, but, realistically, you might never reach that desired budget. Of course, no one wants to go into business with absolutely no capital funding behind them, but a small amount on a shoestring budget can create the foundation for what might, ultimately, prove to be an international business sensation.
The late Steve Jobs is a well-known and exceptionally relevant example of just how much you can do with a limited budget. Most people already know that Apple Computer started in a garage, but Jobs also dropped out of college when he could no longer afford the tuition, and he ended up crashing on the floor of a friend’s room. During that time, he stayed fed by the kindness of a local temple that gave him free meals. Jobs certainly did not have the budget on hand to launch a business with the technological influence and success that Apple has now, but his limited financial means still sparked the beginnings of an empire.
A lesser-known, but still admirable, entrepreneur who made her mark in life with a small budget is Anita Roddick. Founder of The Body Shop, she managed to snare a business loan of only $6,800 to get her body care business off the ground. In the early days, she cut costs and corners wherever possible, and repeat customers often returned their empty jars and containers, which she then cleaned and refilled with new products. That was back in the day when Roddick was still mixing her products in her own home with no employees and had only her daughters to help. In 2006, Roddick sold The Body Shop for $1 billion to L’Oreal.
Unrealistic money expectations so often deter big dreams. In reality, a shoestring budget is entirely appropriate for the early days of a new business. It is often those early, cash-strapped days that teach entrepreneurs the finer points of budgeting, hard work and just how much you can do with a dollar.