Most entrepreneurs start their businesses with little more than an idea and a few dollars in their pockets. If you’re smart, dedicated, and a little bit lucky, you can turn these few dollars into a highly successful business. Here’s are the top five lessons our customers have taught us about starting a business on a shoestring budget.



Change is Inevitable. Be Ready.



Before you launched your business, you probably spent quite a bit of time putting together a business plan that described exactly how you were going to go from zero to hero. Don’t feel badly if things don’t always go exactly according to that plan – in fact, they usually won’t. Be flexible, adaptable, and ready for anything. Sometimes this will mean taking risks, adding a new stream of income, embracing brand new technology, or something else you’re not quite comfortable with. That’s good – your business will be stronger for it.



Keep Your Expenses Low



This seems obvious, but we still have to mention it. While cutting costs anywhere in your business will make your dollars go further, it’s especially useful to keep your fixed expenses down. When times get really tough, you can pull back on big advertising budgets, skip trade shows, and keep a lid on travel expenses, but that won’t mean much if you’re shelling out way too much for your office space or other overhead. Make sure your utilities, real estate, technology, and other basics meet your needs, but don’t put yourself into a hole you can’t easily climb out of.



Once You Find What Works, Repeat It



When you find a revenue model that is sustainable or a promotion that is particularly successful, do it again! There’s a lot of pressure for business owners to do new and exciting things, especially in the heart of Silicon Valley, but resist the urge to do something crazy just because it’s crazy. We’re all for trying interesting approaches to making sales and solving problems, but don’t be afraid to return to an old favorite. If it worked once, chances are it will work again.



Even If You’re Loaded, Starting Small Might Still be Wise



If you’re lucky enough to be starting your business with plenty of resources, don’t feel like you have to spend it all at once. You’re fortunate in that you have your rainy day fund already all set, which will give you more flexibility to experiment and take risks down the road, but it’s probably still a smart idea to start small and lean. Don’t waste your financial advantage on expensive advertising, flashy technology, or extensive travel. That can all come as the business is able to pay for itself.



Not Sure Where to Start? Look for What’s Easy



Many entrepreneurs will balk at being advised to take the easy way out. “Starting a business is hard!” they’ll say, “It’s all about taking risks, working hard, and never making excuses.” They’re absolutely right – starting a business is extremely challenging. But it’s precisely for that reason that it’s OK sometimes to focus on what’s easily attainable right now. There’s no reason to take risks just for the sake of taking them, and being able to start earning money quickly can help fund a lot more big adventures down the road.



Find Partners You Can Trust to Help You



New business owners are especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of by vendors and other business associates. If you’re new to business ownership, look for companies that aren’t just interested in you because you’ll pad their bottom line. At 360 Payments, we think of ourselves as true partners for our customers. Their success is our success, and we put their growth and education before everything else. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you how we’re a different kind of credit card processor.



PS – Here’s why you should never sign a credit card processing contract.



PPS – Is it time to fire that frustrating customer? Here’s how you can be sure.