You may not believe it but you don’t always need a lot of capital to get a business up and running, in fact when you’re initially starting out you can begin as small as you like.
Richard Branson is probably one of the most inspiring stories of beginning a business with very little capital. Beginning with just £300 from his mother, he began a magazine ‘Student’, which was the catalyst for the entire Virgin Company.
Test the Market
Make sure that what you produce is needed, many startups fail because they build something no one is interested in. Conduct market research via social media or search engines. Read about other startups to help you learn what worked and what didn’t. Researching other startups in your field will help you determine how much money you may need to start your business. Another thing to do is to research tools and software, you may need multiple products to help your business grow but without funding, it is worth looking for free software alternatives.
Business Ideas that Require No Money
- You could start a dog-walking business. All you need is to get the word out.
- Start lawn-mowing, and use the customers' equipment until you have the finances to buy your own.
- Start a house-cleaning business using the clients' cleaning supplies, as many have their own preferences.
Most online business software is open-source, so as long as you have a computer you can start to build your own online business.
Establish a Good Business Plan
Coming up with a great idea is essential in order to start a business without money. Your idea should be specific and clear. Establish what the future of the business will look like, what resources will you need and what makes you stand out from your competitors?
Calculating your Business Costs
Typical startup costs include:
- Registration fees: It’s free to register as a sole trader while registering a limited company costs £12.
- Assets: This is all your equipment and inventory.
- Costs: Fixed and regularly costs involved in running your business such as office rental, staff salaries, subscriptions and website hosting.
- Professional services: This may involve services that you outsource, such as bookkeeping, patents and business insurance.
Here are some simple steps you can take to keep outgoings to a minimum:
- Work from home: Save money on office rentals and travel costs.
- Use free online services: Build a basic website using a hosting site such as WordPress and market your business through social media.
- Get free equipment: It can be possible to find free equipment using websites such as FreeCycle.
Apply for a Small Business Loan
Banks and lenders offer a variety of small business loans for extra cash flow or investment funds. Alternatively, if you’re not looking for a loan consider business credit, like a business credit card for making required essential purchases.
Look for Small Business Grants and Funding Opportunities
Once you’ve got your business up and running you can begin searching in earnest for grants, although consider that most will have specific application requirements. Start your search with government funding and check local small business administration chapters.
Consider Angel Investors
Angel investors come into play when it’s time to scale up your business, they are usually the first people outside the company to invest in a business. Angel investors use their own personal funds and can be excellent mentors since many are former/current entrepreneurs themselves.
Marketing Your Business with No Money
You can post your business online for free, set up a Facebook page, and email all of your friends and family to help get the word out. Do a great job with your first client and word of mouth will get you more business.
Starting a business may seem intimidating but there are a number of options that require no capital to get going. There are many different ways you can start a business with no money and make it a success without resorting to a loan. Establish a strong foundation and build a solid customer base before considering going full-time with your startup, then after building some profits reinvest them into taking things to the next level.