How to Run Your Startup on a Shoe-string Budget

The very first step of launching a startup includes developing a product that’s innovative enough to draw prospective buyers in large numbers. Now, the next step is about spreading the word about your newly conceived product. Devising an effective marketing plan forms the basis of your promotional attempt. Unless you have a comprehensive plan in place, your startup won’t realize any profit. Regardless of how interesting or useful your product is this is the truth. Reaching out to your audience gets more important when you really wish to achieve a few long-term buyers. After all, you don’t want your start-up to be an effective life-saving pill with no takers.

How Sales and Marketing are Inter-related

You’ll need to address a single problem before all other things. Like any other startup, you’ll face an uphill task to spread a word about your services when you’re on a tight budget, to begin with. It’s quite like that of the egg-chicken dilemma. You can only drive sales through effective marketing. But you can’t afford an efficient marketing team unless you have an adequate number of sales every month.

Budgeting holds the key to success for a startup business. Even with a shoe-string budget, you might need to plan things effectively. That way you’ll make both ends meet during the initial phase of growth. Check out how you can utilize your small fund in a productive manner:

Determine Your Spending Limit

You may actually set up an effective marketing budget for your startup by checking out various financial aspects. Also, by figuring out your capacity to invest. But you must first evaluate your revenues and determine the portion of disposable income very wisely. You may use the Percentage of Sales method for determining your marketing budget.

You may consider all projections pertaining to your past or future sales and the units sold recently for setting the foundation for your calculation. Your marketing budget is bound to fall during a slackened quarter if you’re considering your sales volume as the basis for such calculation. A number of startup owners will choose to opt for the cutoff point. Which is calculated as a small percentage of their sales revenues. In this case, you’ll need to follow the method religiously. You’ll be contented to know that you’re indeed investing a sustainable and reasonable portion of your revenue.

Set Yourself the Task of Calculating ROI

You may launch your anchor on a shoe-string budget and may consider going back and committing strategic changes in the near future. Your strategic changes are often driven by a few unforeseen changes caused to your marketing ROI. In the end, it boils down to your financial situation that determines how much you can afford to invest in your growth and marketing strategies. Don’t forget that you won’t achieve any free inbound marketing lead, although such leads are usually about 61% less expensive than that of the outbound market leads. All you need to do is to identify your financial limitations and set your budget accordingly.

When it comes to developing budgetary plans, marketing managers are often known to take arbitrary decisions without analyzing the ROI based on their future course of action. It proves to be riskier, especially when you haven’t measured the possible outcomes of your marketing strategies. You can’t really get a hint if your strategies are working or not. You may check out the financial aspect of your initiatives once you gain a fair measure of the ROI.

Get Your Marketing Started for Free

You may not be able to accumulate a large volume of capital during the initial phases of your startup. It might restrict you from exploring few seemingly effective marketing opportunities. However, you must get your investment strategies right by picking the tools at the right time.

You mustn’t always depend on your business network. At times when you’re network isn’t proving to be effective, you must get in touch with other influential personalities that can help in pulling up your startup. You may catch up with such personalities over social media by replying to their comments and posts, following them, sharing their posts, and sending them simple text messages. This, in turn, will help them in noticing you more vividly. You’re more likely to come across like-minded professionals by creating a simple profile on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Your social media activities will help you in expanding your partner networks in no time besides promoting your brand name.

Identify the Right Marketing Channels

The sooner your business begins to expand you’re likely to acquire funds for investing in more effective marketing ploys in the future. You must develop your marketing strategies based on research pertaining to the identification of marketing channels that prove to be worthy of your startup. You should identify the more appropriate marketing channels and invest in them as per your budget.

If you come across a few good online resources that urge you not to spend more towards social media promotions, resort to making free comments on your own. But you must understand the power of boosting Facebook posts following every status update. Likewise, you may achieve more followers and visitors when your reach gets extended by promoting your tweets. All you need to do is to spend a few hundred dollars and get your work done every month.

The more your search engine ranking gets bolstered you’ll stand a better chance of bolstering your content marketing attempts. You’re likely to achieve more buyers going forward as you achieve more clicks eventually.

What You Can Do Right Now with a Shoe-string Budget

For those of you that are looking forward to a growth phase with a small budget, you won’t have any real reason to worry about. It’s quite a tested thing of the past, and you can do it more effectively by following a few good norms.

Figure out how much you’re capable of investing before you even set out on your a promotional campaign. The volume of sales that you achieve should be directly linked to your marketing budget; calculate an amount worth up to 7% of the total revenue that you may invest initially.

Also get an estimation of your ROI and follow up by apportioning your expenses in an effective manner. Get things mixed in the right proportion when your expenditures aren’t paying off adequately. Checking out various social media or networking platforms might just yield a few free options for promoting your campaign. In the end, you must identify a few strategic investment options like search engine rank improvements and paid social media comments that help you sustain in the long run.


To wrap it up, we’ve laid out in this article how to keep your expenses low, identify the right marketing channels, and ROI management. Even how to start your marketing for free by building a business network, and exploring the social media channels. Make sure you follow the tips laid out in this article in order to get maximum of your tight shoe-string budget.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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