Does the lack of money stop you from starting a business?
You have an idea for a business, except you don’t have any money to start it. Lack of capital is a common excuse for failing to start a business. If you have the drive to start a business, coupled with a great idea and an unbelievable drive to succeed, you can start a business with no money.
If You are confident that you have a product or service people want, don’t allow the lack of capital to deter you from your business goals. By pivoting, grinding it out, getting creative, and differentiating yourself, you can bootstrap your way to a successful business.
How to start a business with no money?
People often complain that they want to start a business, but have no money. If you have a viable business idea don’t let the lack of capital stop you.
#1 Reduce Your Needs
Your first option is to change your business model to demand fewer needs. For example, if you were planning on starting a company as a consultant or freelancer, you could reduce your ’employee’ expenses by being the sole employee at the start. Unless you need office space, you can work from home. You can even do your homework to find cheaper sources of supplies, or cut out entire product lines that are too expensive to produce at the outset.
However, there are a few expenses that you won’t be able to avoid. Licensing and legal fees will set you back even if you cut back on everything else.
#2 Make It Public
To start a business with no money means that you have to work hard to get the word out. Don’t keep your business a secret. Tell as many people as you can. Call your friends. Explain it to your family members. Make it public. Telling people will help you in several ways. For starters, it will give you extra energy. More importantly, it might help you land some of your first customers. People in your network could make valuable introductions.
Your third option invokes the idea of a “warm-up” period for your business. Instead of going straight into a full-fledged business mode, you’ll start with just the basics. You might launch a blog and one niche service, reducing your scope, your audience, and your profit, in order to get a head-start. If you can start a business as a self-employed individual, you’ll avoid some of the biggest initial costs.
Once you start realizing some revenue, you can invest in yourself, and build the business you imagined piece by piece, rather than all at once.
#4 Join An Entrepreneur Group
Joining or starting an entrepreneur group can help you save a lot of money in the long run. It gives you an opportunity to learn from other entrepreneurs. Instead of paying an expert or a consultant for advice, you will interact and learn from other entrepreneurs. Although many mastermind groups cost money you can start your own for free.
Look for people who are at a similar stage in business.
Benefits of entrepreneur groups:
- You give and get support from people with similar goals and ambitions. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey. Get the support of others to start a business.
- Learn from those who had some of the same or similar business challenge to yours.
- You can get different perspectives.
- When you are part of an entrepreneur group your network grows exponentially. The group’s network becomes your network.
- You can ask for help with problems you haven’t faced before.
- Your fellow members can keep you accountable.
Your next option is all about getting funding from outside sources.
Here are just a few potential sources for you:
- Friends and family. Don’t rule out the possibility of getting help from friends and family, even if you have to piece the capital together from multiple sources.
- Angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who back business ideas early in their generation. They typically invest in exchange for partial ownership of the company, which is a sacrifice worth considering.
- Venture capitalists. Venture capitalists are like angel investors, but are typically partnerships or organizations and tend to scout businesses that are already in existence.
- Crowdfunding. It’s popular for a reason: with a good idea and enough work, you can attract funding for anything.
- Government loans and grants. In each country there exist a Small Business Administration and a number of state and local government agencies. They exist solely to help small businesses grow. Many offer loans and grants to help you get started.
- Bank loans. You can always open a line of credit with the bank if your credit is in good standing.
#6 Find A Co-Founder With Money
Many successful businesses are started by two or more founders. With two founders you will also improve your chance of success. Tell people in your network that you are looking for a co-founder. Team up with someone you trust. It’s a bit like getting married.
Search for potential co-founders through:
- Friends, family, and family friends.
- Your classmates from college and high school.
- Past co-workers.
- Local startup networking events.
- Business meetups.
- Former business partners if you have been in business before.
- Working in a coworking place.
- Teaming up with a customer.
#7 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. The most important part of getting free advertising is that it requires sweat equity.
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 – Most importantly pass them out.
- Develop strategic partnerships with businesses who serve the same customers you are targeting. It will enable you to cross promote each other’s business.
- Set up a free WordPress website.
- 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.
- Visit 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.
- Make connections and promote your business through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the like.
- 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 a promotional gift item.
- Comment on blogs with a link back to your own website.
- Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and use it to drive free traffic to your site.
- Develop an iPhone or Android app for free and include your branding within it.
- Post an ad on Craigslist.
- Write articles relevant to your niche and distribute them to article directories.
- Publish press releases. Prlog offers free release distribution
- Wear your ad. Print your brand, URL, and phone number on your T-shirt, so when you are out in public people will see.
Be systematic. Track and measure your results. Rinse and repeat the ones that give you the best results.
#8 Avoid Get Rich Quick Schemes
There are countless cases of “get rich quick schemes” both online and offline. They promise you everything you want to hear. Quick and easy money with little or no work. It simply doesn’t exist.
Don’t believe stories about overnight success. They are simply myths.
Most businesses take years of development before they become successful. Expect to spend years to build your business instead of days.
Persistence is the key.
With one or more of these eight options, you should be able to reduce your personal financial investment to almost nothing. You may have to make some other sacrifices, such as starting small, accommodating partners or taking on debt, but if you believe in your business idea, none of these losses should stand in your way. Capital is a major hurdle to overcome, but make no mistake – it can be overcome.