Many people think that starting a business has to cost a ton of money and has to be something that they throw themselves into fully. Without thousands of dollars in savings, they think there's no way they can own the small business of their dreams. And that's simply not true.

If you're going to quit your full-time job to start a small business, you probably do need a fair amount of money saved, especially if your family relies on your paycheck to pay the bills. It can be months or years before a business owner is in a position to take a paycheck or can turn a profit.

But it's possible to start your small business without thousands of dollars saved. You can do it by starting your business part-time while you stay at your regular job. Of course, you have to be sure that you're not violating any work rules, and you want to be sure that you're not running your business on your boss's time. If you can do all that, you can start your business with little savings.


Starting a business on a part-time basis has many advantages. Of course, you have less risk because you still have the income from your job. You also have the advantage of building up a customer base slowly, and you have the ability to work out the kinks in the business. You can use a slow start to really develop strong relationships with your customers in order to have a great chance at retaining them long-term. Systems can be developed to help run things more efficiently and minimize customer complaints. Services can be added or deleted as you see what sells well and what your customers want.

Not all businesses lend themselves to a part-time venture. But if yours does, it can make a lot of financial sense to start small and part-time while you develop the business and some financial stability. There never seems to be a perfect time to start a business, but with a full-time job and a part-time business venture, you minimize your risk and give yourself time to strategically grow your venture into something that can be your full-time gig.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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