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India on a Shoe-string

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Don't lose inspiration. You're going to feel awfully stressed and even depressed every so often. That kind of money doesn't take long to run out. Read up on other entrepreneurs' stories.

By Julia Saunders

As I started my company in India with exactly £3000 four years ago, I like to think I'm some sort of an authority on how to start and expand an enterprise on a low budget. So here it goes.

Keep your capital expenditure low. This one is quite simple. You're going to end up spending upfront on some items - deposit, incorporation, equipment, etc. Try and keep these costs at the very minimum possible. It is hard, but possible.

Persistence! Don't just sit there idly. Think! Where can you get the money to pay next month's rent. During our leaner times, we did everything possible to simply survive. We didn't bother about core competencies and such like. If there was a project to be done, and we could do it, we did it.

Forget about image. That may mean not having an office in a prime location, or having a really good letterhead. Or laser printers. March on with whatever's absolutely necessary to get the job-in-hand finished. You can always spend frivolously when you've made a bit of profit.

Network. You obviously cannot spend on advertising with such a small amount of capital. You probably won't be able to get a professional literature printed either, and hiring a marketing agency to do the work is quite unfeasible. How do you spread the word then? Not by just sitting by the telephone. Get ringing people. Don't worry if people question your decision or say they can't help you out. There're lots of people out there who'll want to help you along. Don't just ask them if they can give you business either. Find out if they have contacts who can help you. Be persistent, but not desperate, and remember to follow everything up with another phone call or email.

Don't lose inspiration. You're going to feel awfully stressed and even depressed every so often. That kind of money doesn't take long to run out. Read up on other entrepreneurs? stories. Talk to them if you can. If nothing works, send me an email!

Keep the faith. It's manic enough starting your own business, but doing it with such low finances can really test your strength. I just kept focused and determined that things would work out. Positive mental attitude; it'll keep next month's cheques from bouncing.

The best of luck to you!

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