Last Updated: Jul 10, 2018
No money to start a business? Don’t let lack of cash stop you. Here are 10 creative strategies you can use to launch your business with limited or no startup funds.
You’d like to start a business but you don’t have any money to put into your startup. What can you do?
Get creative. Don’t let the lack of money deter you from a business you know other people would benefit from. There are many entrepreneurs who started their businesses with little or no cash. Here are a 10 ideas for how to get your business off the ground with no money.
1. Start a Service Business
If you don’t have any startup capital, service-based businesses are perfect. Product based businesses require you to purchase and then resell. Service-based businesses like consulting, coaching, virtual assistant, web design, or home cleaning services only need the knowledge and equipment you probably already have.
2. Get Creative with How You Raise Funds
Consider the story of how Outbox Systems started. The founders had a dream of connecting two software applications together but didn’t have the money to build it. Instead, they worked out a deal with another company where they would build a similar product for a discounted rate yet retain the rights to sell the product to others. That’s creative financing. How can you get creative with how you raise money?
3. Do All the Work Yourself At First
Rely on your own sweat equity to start a business with no money. Expect long days and the need to learn how to do things you haven’t done before such as marketing or selling or accounting. Doing all these tasks yourself at first save you money and will also help you understand what type of skills each activity requires when the business is making enough profit t hire employees.
4. Investigate Non-Bank Funding Sources
Yes, there’s friends and family but today we have crowdfunding, local and national incubators, accelerators, and microfinancing. If you don’t know what these are, do some Googling and learn about them. Look for communities of investors in your area and tell others about your business. There’s plenty of funding that doesn’t involve banks and credit cards.
5. Start Simple
Your dream might include a pretty big business offering a wide variety of products and services but for now, keep it simple. Sell a single product or service. Build your customer base and later branch out into other products and services.
One of the most expensive parts of running a business is acquiring customers. If you gain their trust with one product or service now, selling something else later is much easier.
Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free
Checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps. This
downloadable Word document lists the steps you need to take to get your business
up and running, and includes space for you to note your own comments and
deadlines. You can get the checklist free when you subscribe to the free
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6. Start as a Hobby
At some point you’ll have to quit your day job but that day isn’t today. Hobby businesses often come from the person’s love of something. Maybe you have a corporate job during the day but you love to bake when you come home. Start with people you know and allow your network to grow from there. Your marketing costs are zero and you still have money coming in from your day job.
7. Work for Somebody Else
Although they may not admit it, most business owners became entrepreneurs thinking they knew more than what they did. In fact, many businesses fail because the person was ill-equipped to build a successful business.
Before you start your own business, work or intern with somebody in the business already. The experience you gain will allow you to start your business knowing what you truly need to spend money on and what you don’t. You’ll also gain insider knowledge of the industry and possibly a healthy customer list from the beginning.
8. Use Free Services
The Internet is full of high quality services you can use for free. Mailchimp is a powerful e-mail marketing platform that’s free for the first 2,000 e-mail addresses. Wufoo allows you to make online forms, and although Facebook and other social media platforms won’t put your ad in front of large amounts of people unless you pay, you can still gain some traction by telling people what you’re doing.
There’s also freelance platforms like Fiverr, Elance, and Upwork that have quality freelancers willing to help with logo and web design, and other service for cheap. You could get a logo made for $5!
Don’t have any money? Offer to barter your services in exchange for somebody else’s. There aren’t many small business owners that aren’t looking for ways to get quality services for little or no cost. What you have, they want, and they’re willing to trade for it.
Finally, go into your business endeavor with a hustling mindset. Be ready to do anything legal and ethical to get your business off the ground. Don’t like cold calling? Do it anyway? Not a graphic designer? You can find templates online for just about anything. Don’t want to do any free work? It might be worth it to get your name out there. If you don’t have the money to pay for services, you have to do them or find somebody who can and will do it for free.
Just as you would do just about anything for your family, you have to have the same mindset about your business.
It’s possible to get a business off the ground with next to no money. You just have to get creative.
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