If you have an Entrepreneurial zeal and want to feel the thrill of owning your own successful business then let nothing stop you. Go for it! Creating and sustaining your own business isn’t just for money. It is a much bigger dream and passion – it is a way of life and fulfilment of life.
This blog is mean for all those existing entrepreneurs as well as wannabe entrepreneurs who want to seriously know ‘How to Start a Business with No Money (almost)’.
As an entrepreneur, I have in the last 15 years, started a few business lines with no money or very little money. Also I have quite a few good friends who have started from scratch and taken their business successfully to great heights. Therefore, I am proud to share in this article a lot of personal experience and the summary of valuable research. I’ll be too happy if the tips and information shared in this article can help even 10 budding entrepreneurs to start a business with no money.
Is it really possible to start a business with no money?
If anyone has access to large funding or is sitting on pile of cash or can get business loans, it’s quite possible to build a successful business. However, the style of starting and building up business we are talking of, isn’t an easy one, but it’s one that many of history’s greatest entrepreneurs have followed. It requires smart working, clever planning perseverance, and dedication to get the business idea going from the ground up.
But if you are passionate and prepared to work hard you have the once-in-a-lifetime chance of building a successful business you can proudly call your own.
Sure you do need some cash and probably you have explored the avenues such as Venture Capital Funding, Small Business Loans from Banks, Government Schemes for Start up loans or loan from relatives and friends and you have not met with much success.
But if your project idea is not very much capital intensive then funding isn’t always necessary. The good news is that by following a few basic tips, starting a business with almost no money is entirely possible.
Here’s how to start a business with no money:
1. Write down your business plan and design the budget around your resources
If you are unclear, then you should first answer this question and then only take steps to start your own business.
The purpose of any business – big, small or home based business, is to make money. You have to have a road map (detailed plan) where you have looked at every aspect – from buying the raw material to selling; from working hours to work place. For instance, try to answer these fundamental questions (and by no means exhaustive):
- What is the product or service you are going to deal in?
- How much will it cost you to manufacture or procure your product or provide service?
- What will be price for your product or service?
- How will you increase the volume of your business?
- In what ways, you plan to be better and more competitive than your competitors?
- What will be your return or refund or replacement policy, in case of non satisfaction?
- What kind of people will you need to hire? Can the work be outsourced?
- What kind of equipment you need to have?
Relevant Article: How to Earn More Money in Business
2. Feel the Pulse of the Market
Getting into a start up business is a big and serious commitment of time, money and skills – more by you than anyone else. Is your idea right and at the right place? Is your price competitive? Can you regularly and over a long period of time provide this product or service at a better quality or for a lower price?
This calls for the study of the market including a competitor analysis. Who are your competitors? What do they charge for the product or service you’re offering? What is your USP against their offerings? Research the market segment and the customer profile you’re attempting to address, as well as businesses that have (and haven’t) found success in this market.
If you find that your business model is workable on a sustained basis, congratulations – you may be on to something!
3. Study the Consumer Behavior and Consumer Preferences
This tip is almost an extension of the previous tip but it is a complete research on its own and is worth the exercise. You may have a great product but it is either before time or there is no buyer for it. For example, about a decade ago, a Soft Drinks giant introduced package water in the bottle and people laughed at the concept and there were few takers initially. But probably the timing was just right, the quality of potable water available at public places kept deteriorating and people were become increasingly health conscious. Today the company can hardly cope with the demand.
Sell a product or service which people need rather than should have, and which they feel comfortable buying without having to consult anyone else first. Similarly the concept of pre – cut and frozen vegetables which are ready to cook is great in metros where both the partners work but not in semi urban and rural areas where there is no dearth of time as well as the supply of fresh vegetables.
On the positive side, you may get many specific ideas in the process which can help you make your business plan better and improve the profitability also.
4. Do not Quit Your Job Yet
If you have carefully and diligently worked on the first three tips, then you must be quite ready to take the plunge and start your own business. But wait, it is highly recommended that you keep your current job.
There are so many uncertainties in the business and the unexpected events – especially for the inexperienced new entrepreneur they can be quite difficult challenges. So if you have an assured and a regular source of income, you save yourself from the tension of not knowing how you’ll pay your unexpected liability or mortgage or any unplanned debt.
Of course, this will mean not working just hard but work harder. But it is a practical strategy and your working extra hard will not hurt you – physically or mentally. Though in real life this process is very difficult to implement, but better safer than sorry. If you have a family to take care of, you can’t jeopardize your family’s needs by giving up your basic source of income to pursue a personal dream.
When your new business begins to pick up steam, you can gradually make the transition from a full time employee at your old job (or at some other place) to a consultant or part-time worker. Eventually, you can be at your own business full-time.
Though it’s harder to do work – life balance with your side business and with your day job but it’s much safer.
Another important tip would be to avoid signing an employment contract with a clause restricting your ability to pursue other sources of income or business in the same line. If you don’t understand the legal terminology, better consult a legal expert.
5. Build Your Business Around Your Proven Skills
While there is nothing to stop you to start a business in any domain you fancy but to keep the cost of start up lowest possible, it is highly recommended that you chose to start your business around what you know best. Besides the cost factor, the other reasons are that you do not have to rely on external consultants or skilled people.
Instead of venturing off into uncharted territory, your business should be built around your own personal expertise.
Also having that mastery in your field is sometimes all that is needed to make the plunge into entrepreneurship a successful attempt.
6. Sell your services.
Selling your services is one of the best ways to start a business with little to no start up capital. As compared to a physical product, there is no physical inventory, no storage cost, no payment to the vendor and no fear of pilferage or wastage. There are a number of services you can offer, depending on your background and interests on one side and the target consumer segment on the other.
For example, if you are good at certain academic subjects such as Mathematics or Physics, you can begin as a home tutor as well as an online tutor and then can progress to have your own coaching centre, where you can employ couple of other teachers thus multiplying your income. Other examples can be, Tech Support, Website Making, SEO Service, Market Research, Content Writing etc.
Besides selling in your local area, you can use specialized sites on internet to sell your services online to a wider client base.
7. Resell Products
This is another interesting option to keep your business entry cost to the minimum, If you don’t want to enter services business.
Many people have become very successful just by reselling products that have already been made. This can be done through a variety of ways or channels. For example, you may have love for cars are good at making a deal for pre owned cars, then you may earn good income from buying and selling cars or similarly niche products such as herbs, antique items, used furniture. Either you can sell them at flea markets and garage sales or resell them online.
8. Make something
Yes, making something does make you spend initially on cost of supplies, but it is worth the investment and risk, if your products can be sold for many times over their actual cost. What you decide to make is up to you, but there are several places you can sell your handmade options online such as eBay or Facebook Store or your own website which is e commerce enabled.
Items like Lunch or Dinner Packs, Cakes, Hand Made Accessories with customization listing options make it a great choice for customers and a viable selling.
As a business owner, you should strive to sell your products on multiple platforms to get the most exposure possible. It is important, however, to make sure your inventory stays updated on all sites you have a storefront on.
9. Barter to get what you need
It is a hard core fact that you do need some equipment / hardware / place to start a business. Even if you are good content writer or a good singer and you want to do online freelance writing business on Elance or compose jingles at Fiverr, you may require good computer, some music instruments etc. besides Internet connection. You may try to trade it in with something you don’t need or get something in return for what you don’t need.
For instance, if you find yourself in need of a used laptop, try to sell your old bicycle or boxing gloves, which are lying unused. You may write website contents or social media posts for a friend who is in website building business in exchange for his music keyboard or getting a website made – without paying him.
Extending this further, take a look around and see what resources are already at disposal. In the beginning, work from home or share the office with a friend and in return offer your services. For meetings with client or fee wi fi go to a local café or library which offers free wifi. In case you have a car or bike, you could offer a local delivery service.
If you intend to offer cooked or baked items, then use your home kitchen, you could start making cakes or providing catering for parties.
10. Utilize low-cost services
Agreed there are certain services you need to pay for. However, there are ways to get these services at the minimal price and of international quality. You can use sites such as Fiverr or Skillpages to design your logo, visiting cards, marketing campaigns, videos, write ups etc. at very competitive prices. You can sort by reviews and look at past examples to find a designer or other service provider that matches your need and style.
To Sum Up
Starting a business requires creativity and a passion for what you are doing. You have to have a solid faith in your business idea and the resources will get attracted to you. Once you find yourself doing something you enjoy, you will be more likely to find ways to make it all come together.
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- How to Start a Business with No Money
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