Do you know that you can start a business with no money?
Do you have a dream to be an entrepreneur or business owner but you are afraid to pursue such dream because you don’t have money?
Do you have a good business idea or opportunity but you seem handicap to act on it because you have no capital? Then I advice you read on as I am about to teach you the secret of starting a business with no money.
Most people want to start a business, but unfortunately, they don’t have any money at hand. In fact, one of the most common questions people are now asking on the web is,
“How can I start a business with no money?”
If you are also one of those asking this question, you are just on the right page. You will get more than enough answers that will make you glad after reading this post.
Over the years I have spent as an entrepreneur, I have come across countless individuals with big dreams and good business ideas; but they all seem to have one common problem and that problem is capital.
Now the truth is that capital is and will remain one of the biggest challenges to starting a business. In fact, that is why the ultimate job of an entrepreneur is to raise capital. Take a critical look at the life of an entrepreneur and you will see a continuous struggle to attract or maintain an inflow of cash into the business
However, I must point out the fact that the problem of raising capital is no longer a noteworthy excuse for not starting a business. With the recent advancement in technology, the game of starting a business has been made easier but the competition is now fierce.
Now how do you start a business with no money? How can you open a business without capital? You will find your answers below. But before I share more tips, keep in mind that there are two basic strategies for starting a business without money. They are:
Two Strategies for Starting a Business without Money
- Delay the normal procedures that most people implement when starting a business until your business starts to earn money. These procedures include incorporation, hiring employees, renting an office or retail space, etc. This strategy is called bootstrapping.
- Do everything yourself until you can afford enough money to hire an expert. This means you will spend more time with most tasks, but you will spend little or no money.
How to Start a Business with No Money 1. Re-orient your mindset
The first step to starting a business without money is to re-orient your mindset on the possibility of the feat. Most people don’t believe that it is possible to start a business without money. They believe that it takes millions of dollars to startup a business, but the creative, innovative and determined entrepreneur knows that it is possible to pursue your dreams and ideas even if you have no money.
“There are three keys to starting a business. One is the idea, two is the people and three is the money. But rarely do these three keys come together in the beginning. However, it is your duty as an entrepreneur to find one of these keys and start the journey. You will find the rest along the way, though it might take years for these three keys to come in place.” – Robert Kiyosaki
What the quote above is saying in essence is that it is possible to start a business even if all you have is an idea. However, you must accept and believe the fact that it is possible to start a business without money if you are to succeed on this mission.
2. Identify your strengths
Now that you have understood the fact that there are three keys to starting a business, the question now is: Which part of the puzzle do you have? Do you have the money, the idea or the people? If you have any one of these, then it is a strength; a good ground to start.
You might think the question asked above is unrealistic or impractical but I tell you, it is. I have met people with money that don’t even know what to do with the money. These set of individuals are the ones that ask questions like:
- “I have $5,000; what business do you recommend I start?
- ”Where do I invest my money?
3. Develop a good business idea
The next step to starting a business without money is to develop a good business idea. Your proposed business idea must satisfy a need or solve a problem. Your idea must be good enough to arouse the interest of anyone who hears a pitch of it and above all, it must have strong profit potentials.
4. Write a business plan
Since this article is about how to start a business with no money, then I assume you are that person with the idea but no money. If you are yet to find an idea or opportunity that is worth pursuing, then you need to find one because that is going to be your leverage or starting point since you don’t have money.
Now if you already have an idea of what you want to achieve, then you need to write a business plan. A business plan is a written document containing your goals, your business idea and its profit potential. It is a document that tells an investor that you have spent time working on your idea and you are ready to move to the next phase. If you have an idea but you have no money and no business plan, then you have probably not made up your mind to become an entrepreneur.
5. What do you bring to the table?
Okay, I know you are reading this now because you lack the capital to finance your business idea but I will bet that you have something of value inside of you. What business skills do you bring to the table since you don’t have money?
Okay, maybe you are incompetent when it comes to running a business because this happens to be your first business. What technical skills do you have, as related to the business you have at hand? This are questions most investors will want an answer to.
6. Are you prepared to work for free?
Most people dream of someday owning a business and becoming rich. They start a business with the hope of becoming rich overnight. Now while I am not against thinking big and setting big goals, it is important you know that big goals are fragments of small goals put together. So you must be prepared to start small and work for free especially when you are starting out with no money.
However, the funniest part of this is that most people cringe at the thought of working for free. Most people can’t see themselves working for long without earning an income or getting a steady paycheck but the truth must be told.
If you are really going to start a business and succeed, regardless of whether you are starting with money or not; you must be willing to work for free at least for a year or two. This is probably one of the reasons why most people are afraid to start a business; the fear of working without earning an income.
Now from my personal experience, I know that working for free is a natural phenomenon especially when in the startup phase of building a business. The reason is because getting a business off the ground takes a lot of work, resources and capital. When I started my first business, I worked for three straight years without paying myself. Am I alone in this? My answer is no.
Virtually every successful entrepreneur I know started from scratch and worked for free to get their businesses off the ground. Richard Branson worked for free to get his “Student” magazine and “Virgin Music” business off the ground. Henry Ford worked for free on his automobile company until he was able to get the attention of investors.
Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell all worked on their businesses for free, from their dormitory of their various institutions before they attracted investors and rose to fame. One key trait investors want to see in every startup entrepreneur is commitment and sacrifice. If you can’t envision yourself working for free, then forget about starting a business.
7. Starting the business
After getting yourself in the right mindset and writing your business, the next step is to start. Now most people can’t imagine starting a business without money and they often ask:
- How do I rent an office space or store when I don’t have money?
- How do I manufacture my products when I have no money?
Most people still believe in the conventional way of starting a business, which is renting an office space, stocking your goods, employing staff and finding customers. However, a creative entrepreneur can take a different approach especially when there is no startup capital.
Rather than sit on your idea, you can work on designing and developing a prototype of your product, attending seminars and entrepreneurial summits, writing and submitting proposals to investors and companies, looking for a partner, doing business plan presentations and talking to investors, borrowing money from family and friends. The most important thing is to keep moving and avoid being idle. Never sit on your ideas.
For instance, when I decided to become an entrepreneur, I had no idea, no money, no business skill and no friends of like minds. All I had was a vision of where I want to be in the future.
Rather than sit idle and dream about the future, I started attending seminars, talking with other entrepreneurs, reading books and learning about business models. It was during this process that I developed a business idea, wrote my business plan and started my business. I advice you take the same approach especially if you are starting out with no money.
I have seen people borrow $50 or less from family or friends and launch themselves into tremendous wealth through network marketing. I have seen young internet enthusiasts start a business from a friend’s computer or a public connection (cyber cafe). So I don’t think you have any excuse for not starting a business; even if you have no money.
8. Bootstrap your way to success
Lastly, you can bootstrap your startup by operating on a lean budget. Bootstrap financing is an alternative for those who are finding it difficult to raise funds for their business.
Bootstrapping financing is simply the art of running a business on internally generated funds which are often limited. It involves the tactical deployment of resources while giving little room for waste. Effectiveness and efficiency are two watchwords in the game of bootstrapping.
Top 10 Creative Ways to Start a Business with No Money 1. Don’t rent an office
Try to see how you can work from home. If your business requires that you meet clients in person, arrange and appointment with them at a nearby restaurant or fix a lunch meeting with them at a recreation park. Even people with very nice offices do this, anyway.
2. Don’t hire employees
Even if your business requires that you have a few employees, try to do everything yourself until you start to earn some cash from your business. This is because employees are expensive to maintain especially when your incoming cash flow is not yet predictable or certain. So, you will be your own accountant, secretary, and more.
Also don’t hire professionals at the very beginning. You can delay hiring lawyers, graphic designers and other technical people until later. Though this might prove a costly mistake in the long run, especially when it comes to legally protecting your business assets or intellectual properties. So my candid advice is this, do everything possible to cover yourself legally. It will save you a lot of pain in the long run.
3. Get free professional services
You can get a free lawyer and free legal advice from the mentors at Score.org. Find out other places where you can meet professionals who are willing to render some of their services for free, and grab any opportunities you find.
4. Write your business plan and financial statements yourself
Learn how to write a good business plan. Also, instead of hiring a CPA or bookkeeper, you can do you financial statements yourself. But this doesn’t mean you won’t have to hire one later as your business grows.
5. Get a cheap domain name
If you must have a website for your business, don’t ever pay for a premium domain name. If your most desired domain name is no longer available, choose one from the many available ones. Better yet, you can make do with a free domain until you can afford to buy your own. WordPress.com and Blogger.com are platforms on which you can host your domain free of charge.
6. Use a free theme or template for your website
Many available free themes look very professional. You can find tons of them at deluxetemplates.com. Choose one that appeal to you and use on your website. You can upgrade to a paid template or theme later on.
7. Create a free logo
Don’t hire a graphic designer to create your logo. You can use LogoYes to create your logo by yourself. You can also visit flamingtext.com to create a text-based logo for your business.
8. Use a free or cheap payment processor
If you will need to accept payments on your credit card, don’t start with a full merchant account. Most of them are complicated to register, requires some programming expertise, and come with monthly feeds. And it goes without saying that this would cost you much money. As an alternative, use a simpler payment solution like PayPal, Google Checkout, or 2CheckOut.
9. Use free marketing methods
Promote your products and services via social media. Also, write articles and publish them on free article directories as a way of attracting prospects to your website. You can generate more leads by offering a downloadable incentive on your website. This could be a valuable eBook or video. To set up your mailing list, use Mailchimp and opt for the free plan, which allows you to send 12,000 free emails monthly to up to 2,000 subscribers.
10. Learn more about your business using the web
To learn more about your business, find free resources. You will find more than enough on the web. Explore them to learn more about your business rather than paying high prices to buy books and videos that offer information of equal value.
Seven Additional tips on how to start a small business without your own money
- Small Business Financing Option without going to the bank
- Obtain a bank loan
- Apply for a government grant
- Raise money from crowd sourcing websites
- Source money from Family and friends
- Try raising capital from investors
- Take your idea to institutions that support entrepreneurship (NGOs)
- Participate in entrepreneurship competitions
I have a friend who had a dream of establishing a large cold room to sell frozen foods but he had no money and no one was willing to lend him money to finance the idea. However, my friend strongly believes in his idea, so rather than sit idle; he started a small business retailing Tablet PCs and its accessories, while still keeping his eye on the bigger vision.
As a final note, I want you to know that there will never be a situation where you will be provided with excessive capital to start a business. All lights will never go green and all the stars will never line up for you. There is no perfect time to start a business.
Once you have identified an opportunity, you just have to learn to run with what you’ve got. Don’t sit on your ideas simply because you have no money; start with what you have. Even if all you have is an idea and your enthusiasm; start with it. Where there is a will, there will surely be a way.