Low start-up cost small business ideas

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson

If you’ve got a dream of small business ownership but not a lot of start-up capital, not to worry. There are businesses you can start without heavy investment in equipment, rent, or the other items that drive start-up costs. With creativity and ingenuity, you can shoestring your small business and get on the road to being your own boss. 


When considering what kind of business to start, the first and most obvious thing to do is to inventory your skills and work experience. If you’ve been making money for others doing things like marketing strategy, bookkeeping, or graphic design, that’s the first place to look for business ideas. A background in graphic design may mean a website as the go-to logo designer in your region. Experience as a corporate event planner could mean hanging out a shingle as the hot new wedding planner in your area. Make a list of the things you’ve done for work, then zero in on what you’ve enjoyed most about them. 

Starting a consultancy in an area where you already have expertise can be your way into small business ownership because overhead costs will be low. You can begin without renting an office or hiring staff. Advertising costs can be minimal at first because you can begin spreading the word by reaching out to your network and letting them know about your new endeavor. Sites like LinkedIn can be a great place to shout from the rooftops about what you offer. Don’t overlook local networking events and industry-specific conferences.

| Starting a consultancy in an area where you already have expertise can be your way into small business ownership

An e-commerce shop

Who doesn’t love online shopping? According to Statista, 75% of people shop online at least once a month. People love to find great new faves without getting out of their pajamas. With online retailing exploding and showing no signs of slowing down, e-commerce is a great way to start a small business.

But, wait, you may be thinking. That’s not a low-cost way to start a business! There’s overhead, a warehouse to ship from and employees to pack it all up. It doesn’t have to be that way. White labeling and dropshipping are two ways you can create a brand your customers love without carrying a lot of stock or staying up to the wee hours packing boxes. The real differentiators in today’s world are the experiences you create for your potential customers. If you’ve got a knack for social media, can create buzz around your latest products, or can find a way to differentiate your offering from others, you may have what it takes to start a thriving e-commerce business. Think about the kinds of products you love, then brainstorm ways you can improve upon them. Your next big business idea may be as close as your Instagram feed.

Social media management

Speaking of social media, why not start your business doing what you do for free much of the day anyway? If you’ve got a knack for getting people to like your posts or have a unique voice or sense of humor, you may have the makings of a social media manager. Sure, big companies hire full-time staff to handle their tweeting and TikToking. But small and medium businesses outsource that kind of work to a social media manager. Everyone wants to make a splash on social media, but few people know how. If you do, build a portfolio of posts you’ve created, or offer to handle social media for a local business or a family friend to get your start. Once you’ve shown some results, start spreading the word about your new business!

One thing that comes with starting a small business is new tax scenarios. If you sell inventory, you may be responsible for sales tax. If you hire subcontractors, you may need to consider the tax implications. ComplYant allows you to manage your small-business taxes in one dashboard. Keep on top of tax deadlines with less stress and confusion. 

Sign up for ComplYant today 

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson is a Senior Tax Research Specialist at ComplYant. Prior to joining ComplYant, he spent over eleven years performing tax research at the world’s largest tax preparation company. Dustin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor. Outside of work, Dustin enjoys biking and spending time with his family.

Related posts

A wooden sign that reads "Welcome, we are open," hangs in a window

Taking over: what happens to your taxes when you're suddenly a business owner?

When buying or inheriting a business, there are guidelines to follow, particularly regarding the tax implications of a purchase of that magnitude. Before going forward with the purchase, be sure you understand the business's financial history and find out about any tax issues before signing the deal.
Two people sit a desk with coffee and count money over a set of receipts

Savvy ways small business owners reduce their taxes

Planning expenses and tax strategies can help reduce your business’ tax burden and how much of your profits you get to keep
Form reads "Bookkeeping Service: Do you need it?" with checkboxes for "yes" and "no."

Follow the money: 3 options for small business accounting

Want to check the vital signs of your business? Start with good accounting practices. Understanding the financial status of your business is one of the best ways to get a sense of the health of your business.