How To Start A Business With No Money
It can be the biggest challenge for an aspiring entrepreneur and is the number one reason that start-up businesses don’t come to fruition – you’ve guessed it – lack of money!
Funding a new business can often feel like a huge hurdle to overcome. But it is important to remember that you are not alone and very few entrepreneurs have had the good fortune to start out with a pot of gold or a generous benefactor. However this has not stopped them from following their entrepreneurial dreams and it shouldn’t deter you either.
It is true that funding is a fundamental prerequisite for starting almost any business. But if you are confident in your business idea and have a clear vision as to how you are going to execute it, getting the funds to support your dream may not be as difficult and unachievable as it seems.
Below we give you our top ten tips on how to start a business with no money and keep overheads to a minimum.
1. Hunt out FREE advice
There will be many things you will need to learn on the fly and some steep learning curves to overcome when starting a new business. But you can bet they will not be challenges other people have not already overcome time and time again, and it is these same people whose advice and wisdom could be your most precious asset.
There are a number of fantastic resources on the internet and offline, which could really make the difference in helping you start a business and make it a success.
For starters, us! At Make It Your Business, our main aim is to provide you with a platform for advice, support and inspiration. From January 2018 onwards, we shall be rolling out a nationwide seminar programme, to help inspire potential female entrepreneurs to start their own business. We have also launched our Business Advice Forum on the Mumsnet.com website, where you are able to connect with like-minded individuals, to seek out free advice.
Some other great start-up resources we highly recommend include:
• The British Library Business and IP Centre
• Gov.uk Start-up Business Advice
• Virgin Media Start-up Advice
• And make sure to check out any of your local resources and networking opportunities.
2. Use the FREE Equipment around you
Gone are the days where you need bricks and mortar to start a business – we now live in a digital age where it has never been so easy and accessible to start up a business and brand presence from the comfort of your own home. All you really need to kick things off is a computer and internet connection.
If you have access to a kitchen – why not start that cake making business you’ve dreamed of; if you have a car – start that delivery service? Or that online shop and sell the jewellery you make, that your friends have always commented on? The possibilities are many, with the resources you already have around you.
3. Do the work yourself
If you want something doing – do it yourself. Yes, this does require time, motivation and hard work on your part, but if you want to save money, learn your business inside out and get things done exactly as you want them to be – there is no better way than rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in.
You will be more self-sufficient, cost light and be able to invest any funds you do have, directly back in to stock, equipment and building the business.
4. Take advantage of FREE or low-cost resources
A key skill in being a successful entrepreneur is being able to distinguish between what should cost money and those items that can actually be accessed or acquired for less, if not no money.
For an impressive list of free resources, look at Medium.com
5. Build a service business around the skills you already possess
One of the best businesses you can start with no money is a service business. It will cost you nothing but your time and expertise. You may for instance be a great artist and able to acquire commissions for work, or you may be able to speak another language or be an expert in fixing computers. If you’re able to offer a service that people are prepared to pay for, it can instantly unlock the key to self-employment.
Even if you ultimately want a product based business, starting a services business first can help you get there. Use the services work to help you finance and gradually transition to your dream business.
6. Hold on to your current job
This one may not be for everyone, as it can often be advantageous to leave a full-time job, so that a new venture can have your full energy and focus. However if you are strapped for cash and don’t want the financial burden of taking out a loan, then the option of holding on to your nine to five and gradually building up a new business in your own spare time, can offer a more risk-free approach.
7. Get a business loan
Of course, even if you did the work yourself and use the free resources around you, there may still be expenses that hard work won’t cover.
So if you’re in need of cash up front to start your new business and have no personal finances to invest, then you may need to consider getting a loan to help you get things up and running.
Thanks to the rise of alternative finance such as crowd funding, start-up businesses are now spoilt for choice when it comes to accessing finance. However, with so many options out there, it can be difficult to know where to start, so it is very important to make sure that you take your time thoroughly to consider the type of loan that will best suit your business and the costs that this will occur. Above all, make sure you fully understand the loan arrangement and the small print before signing on anything.
8. Find an Investor or Co Founder
If you don’t want to consider a loan, then another option may be to find someone who will invest in the business, whether it be through a short-term investment arrangement or as a co-founder or shareholder in the business.
This option can eliminate the personal burden of acquiring a loan and can in some circumstances (where you have an experienced co-founder or investor) add a great deal of value to the business through their expertise, experience and business connections.
If you can’t think of anyone (friend, family or business acquaintance) who you could approach as a potential investor, then it’s time to get networking!
Events and trade shows are a great starting point for meeting serious contenders who are proactive and open to discussing and negotiating business opportunities. It may also be worth attending business meetups or reaching out to former business acquaintances.
If you have no luck with the events, or are looking to connect with a very specific type of person for investment, then social networking may be a better channel for you. Most venture capitalists and investors are quite active on social media, so if you can connect with them and impress them with your business idea, you may get the traction you are looking for.
9. Get paid upfront
When you start a business with little or no money, getting paid promptly is crucial to your cash flow.
This may include:
• Asking for a percentage payment upfront.
• Offering an incentive to pay early.
• Collecting in person, if your clients are local.
• Sending an invoice at least once a week.
• Asking your customers to pay with a credit card or electronic bank transfer.
• Setting up an automatic bank payment.
• Ceasing to do business with customers who are constantly late payers, or charging interest on those payments, as it is your legal right to do.
10. Start by establishing a good business plan
Bad decisions made on a whim and miscalculations can cost heavily in business, not just though your own time, but financially too.
Establishing a good business plan from the get go, can make the difference between making cardinal, costly errors or making good, well thought through decisions that will ensure your business is viable and has a profitable future.
Do the research, be realistic about the numbers and plan, plan, plan! At the end of the day, business is a numbers games and to make a profit the figures need to stand up.
To find out more about starting you own business, don’t forget to check out our events page for our seminars taking place around the UK.