You always not need too much money to start a business. You can get started with little funding that you have. I know it might initially seem like a far-fetched idea, but it is not impossible.
It is true to start a business and to scale it big you need some extra cash flow, for this, you will need partners and investors. But when you are just planning a business you can start out small.
Traditionally when we plan to start a business we start making questions “where is there is a gap in the market and how I can fill the gap?” A gap could be an unsatisfied customer or a new invention.
Instead of starting with this question I like to start with “What do I have and who do I know?”
18 steps to start a business with no money
1. Start with what you have
First, take a stock that you have at your disposal. Try to make question yourself. Like:
- Skills: What you can do?
- Experience: What you have done?
- Knowledge: What do you know?
- Resources: What you have?
It is most important to think carefully about your response to these questions.
2. Take into account what you can get for free
It is easy to find out the obstacles standing in the way of you & starting your business, but it is harder to come up with the list of what opportunities you have in front of you.
What is essential for your business? Customer! You need a slick & well-designed website for your business to show off what you do.
If you don’t have that much money to build a website you can create a Facebook page, where you can promote your business for free. Also, there are other social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
You can use Canva to make your own personalized marketing material. This web tool offers a lot of services totally free of cost.
There are a lot of web resources that help you to grow your business for free. Try to make a list of those tools. Also, there are other awesome web tools that you can access by paying a little money.
3. Make a list of those whom you know
Take stock of the relationships you have with others, map out your network of connections and consider how your connections could enable you to use what you have more effectively.
4. Build a minimum of 6 months’ worth of savings for expenses
Yes! It is a very common practice among entrepreneurs. When you are planning your business plan be frank on how much you can spend and how much return you want in a certain time period.
It takes a minimum of 6 months to start cash flow. So make a plan according to it. To grow your business you need a steady source of income. So if you are doing any job and want to start business try not to quit the job at the very first moment. For this, you have to work hard and spend extra time.
5. Work on your business idea
A good business idea is just the beginning of your journey as an entrepreneur. There are a lot of steps you have to consider. But a good business plan can make your venture successful.
- Is my business idea really unique?
- What value will they generate?
- Is my target audience really wants?
When you are planning your business idea, getting answers to these questions is important to determine whether or not your idea works.
6. Focus on essential things
It is easy to think about what you need to start a business. Do not go for big investment at the earlier stage. For many companies, you only need three things to get started:
- Rent a wirehouse or you can use your own space
- A willing and dedicated worker
- A computer with an internet connection
- A phone
With these three basic things, you can start a business. Create a list of things that you absolutely need to be in business, and then set the rest aside until you have more cash on hand.
7. Buy a cheaper version of tools you use
Once you have created your essential things list, it’s time to think about how much you can afford.
Suppose you need a computer or laptop. A high-end computer or laptop is suited to your need but your budget is limited. Better to go for a cheap computer or a refurbished laptop at your initial stage.
When you are in a tight budget the following things you have to keep in mind:
- Choose less expensive options that offer similar features
- Purchase second hand
- Use shared resources, like car-share service.
- Use a personal phone or printer
8. Spend most of your time to stuff that makes money
Most of the entrepreneurs spend most of their work time choosing the perfect URL for a website or social media updates. But just make 1 question, will this stuff help you get revenue or clients?
When you’re trying to start a business without a lot of cash, focus first on things that make money. As you become more established, you can focus on marketing or accounting or other aspects of running your business.
So, Focus on revenue, that will help you maximize growth.
9. Analyze the market and challenges
When you have a great idea you know your business will become successful. But what about the competition? You should always make a plan to beat your competitor.
That’s why the market study is needed. When you ask any investor they often ask you this question.
The next step is how you manage those challenges to make it profitable.
10. Apply for a small business loan when needed
If you are looking for extra funding, you can apply for a small business loan. There are many banks that offer this at a very nominal cost.
If you’re not looking for a lump sum loan amount, consider a business line of credit. They’re good options for purchasing items on an as-needed basis.
11. Explore Crowdfunding platforms
There are many crowdfunding platforms available in the market, where you can get investors who actually want to invest in your business.
For almost every type of business, you will find investors here. Kickstarter is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms.
12. Network with people
When you have no money it is important to find those people who can help you in your business. For this, you may attend events and trade shows where you can find potential investors.
Also, you may join different social networking sites to connect with those people. Most of the investors are quite active on social media.
13. Use an Incubator
If you believe you have a solid idea you can find business incubators. These programs are designed specially to financially assist any startup business.
Most incubation programs are sponsored by local or regional economic development organizations, and some are sponsored by colleges and universities.
14. Find an Accelerator
They are much like incubators in that they are designed to provide funding. However, an accelerator expects a rapid response to its investment. If you are prepared and ready to hit the market quickly, this is a great option.
15. Run a trial
To see whether your business idea is unique, run a trial. When you give a trial of your business you will find a lot of problems. Then make a list of those and make a proper plan to overcome.
A small trial can give you some new insights to grow your business and identify challenges that you might have overlooked.
16. Gather feedback
If you are planning to get into a completely new business, it would really help if you got a second opinion from someone who knows the market and the challenges involved.
An expert’s opinion may help you look at things from a different perspective and gain more knowledge that you may lack.
17. Apply for government programs
Apply to the different government small business funding programs and other government agencies for help and funding. There are business financing options for women, veterans, and minorities.
18. Advertise your business for free
If you are willing to put in the work, there are several ways you can advertise your business for free or no money.
Here are some of the most common free advertising options:
- Submit guest blog posts to relevant blogs. You will get a free link back to your own site.
- Order free business cards from Vistaprint
- Submit your business to Google Local.
- List your company in free directories related to your niche.
- Offer an introductory free consultation or free evaluation.
- Host an event. Recruit sponsors to cover your costs.
- Create a Facebook Fan Page.
- Frequent forums where your customers hang out.
- Network with others and get free word of mouth marketing.
- Ask friends, family, and people in your network for referrals.
- Build your email list from day one. Email is still one of the most effective marketing channels.
- Include your website, Facebook page, and Twitter handle in your email signature.
- Write an eBook or a report and use it as a promotional gift item.
- Comment on blogs with a link back to your own website.
- Write articles relevant to your niche and distribute them to article directories.
#1 there are many things that make a successful business. One of them is a great website.
#2 never stops marketing! Every successful business must have a marketing strategy.
#3 doesn’t be afraid to get help! Most startups and small business owners need help in many different areas at different times.
It’s not easy to start a business with no money. But as an entrepreneur, it pays to be strategic about how you spend your money and on what. By focusing on essentials and funneling your cash flow into investments that will help your business grow.
Do you have any tips for starting a business without money? Let us know in the comments below.