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.
What is Stopping You from Starting Your Own Business?
At one time or the other in your life, you may have proposed to start a business; either a full time business or a part time business to supplement the current job you have but it seems that you haven’t been able to make up your mind to get started; maybe because of procrastination, fear of the unknown or fear failure since statistics shows that most new business ventures fail without first 5 years of getting started.
Limiting time factor is another excuse for people that already have a full time job. Starting a new business is a very fulfilling venture a person may engage in, though it may be stressful for the first few years, the reward later on out shines the stress.
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? This article will be focused in everything you need get that business idea up and running; it will cover both what you need to start a business and how you can achieve the goal of starting a business. 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.
With the above said, let’s now look into the various tricks that you can use to start a business without spending a dime.
Why You Should a Small Business Even If You Have No Money
One thing about being an entrepreneur is that you tend to get all manner of people coming to you either as customers, business associates, employees, family members, friends or investors. I was motivated to write this article because of some statements I hear often from young aspiring entrepreneurs. I am talking about statements such as:
- “I want to build a big business”
- “I want to be rich”
- “I have just developed a multi million idea or product”
While I am not against such tall ambitions since I am also an ambitious person; I am against big dreams without the willingness to pay the necessary price. Most entrepreneurs dream of being the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Aliko Dangote, Mark Zuckerberg or Sam Walton but they don’t seem to be willing to pay the price of success to become as these men.
“I did 30 Minute Meals for five years on local television, and I earned nothing the first two years. Then I earned $50 a segment. I spent more than that on gas and groceries, but I really enjoyed making the show and I loved going to a viewer’s house each week. I knew I enjoyed it, so I stuck with it even though it cost me.” – Rachael Ray
“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote
“I have taken more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over again in my life; and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.” – Madam C.J. Walker
This is the main reason I have a category on this blog titled “Lessons from successful entrepreneurs.” I introduced this category on purpose to enable aspiring entrepreneurs see what it took these “famous drop out billionaires and entrepreneurs” to get to where they are now; and to also enable you learn from the mistakes of these successful entrepreneurs.
“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” – Donald Trump
It is good to dream big, but the real fact is; are you prepared to pay the price to become big? If you are, then you must be ready to start small. Most young entrepreneurs hate starting a small business and that’s why they assemble their business plan, make all necessary arrangements and then wait for an investor that will provide the $1,000,000 capital. What these “day dreaming” entrepreneurs fail to realize is that the way to become a big business owner is by starting as a small business.
“If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest.” – Syrus
The hard truth about waiting for the million dollar funding is that the million dollar investor might never come and even if they do, they will not invest with you because you lack the necessary entrepreneurial skills and confidence to run a business and grow their money.
“One of the most important things a real investor needs to say is this; “I want my money back and I also want to keep my investments.” – Rich Dad
So what is the way out? My suggestion to young entrepreneurs who come to me with ideas and business opportunities is this; go and start small or get involved with the process of starting a small business.
“Start small and dream big.” – Rich Dad
I usually advice entrepreneurs who are new to the business world to do all they can to start a small business; no matter how small that business is. Why? You might ask. Well, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur reading this; then below are four reasons why you must start a small business.
4 Reasons Why Starting a Business is Your Best Bet to Growing Big
a. Most young entrepreneurs have no business experience. They have not been confronted by business challenges and they do not know how to solve intricate business problems. But experience and competence are probably the most important characteristics investors want to see in an entrepreneur. When you start a small business, you will gain experience and improve your business skills.
“The world is filled with brilliant million dollar ideas waiting to be funded but the world lacks seasoned entrepreneurs.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Starting a small business is highly recommended for young entrepreneurs because that business will be their learning ground; their own business school. I recommend you start your own small business because business mistakes can be made and corrected quickly in a small business.
“Underneath every mistake in business is a valuable lesson. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs miss these lessons because they lament and blame others over the mistakes.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
Decision can be made quickly in a small business and the consequences of such decisions will be felt directly by the entrepreneur and most importantly, the entrepreneur can get a feel of how every part of a business system inter-relates to make a successful business.
b. If you start a small business, you will faced by the initial startup challenges of finding new customers and managing the business system as a whole. Now the truth is; if you can handle these challenges, then you are preparing yourself to handle the business challenges of building a big business.
c. In business, there are unforeseen challenges. If an entrepreneur should humbly go through the entrepreneurial process of starting a small business, he or she will come to realize that there is more to building a business than just finding customers and making sales. An entrepreneur running a small business will come to understand that business is a people’s game; and it takes good people management skill to bring these people into fusion.
d. If you are able to start a small business and grow at a rate of maybe 35 – 45% per annum, investors’ confidence in you will be boosted. The investors will come to reason that since you have bootstrapped the business to the current level that you are, a little support will make a big difference. The truth is if you can confidently handle a small business and grow at a steady rate, then you can handle a big business.
In retrospect, I have seen entrepreneurs start and build small successful businesses but they refuse to go beyond the small business level. They started a small business, grew it into a success and got contented with the small business level. These set of entrepreneurs simply got contented with mediocrity. So for you who intends starting a small business, don’t make the same mistake; don’t get infected with the “staying small” syndrome.
“There’s nothing wrong in starting small, but the danger is in staying small.” – Robert Kiyosaki
“It is easy to stay the same but it is not easy to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives.” – Rich Dad
I want to encourage you to just start a business, no matter how small. Don’t wait for the right time because there will never be a right time. You might make a few business mistakes and experience a few business failures but don’t quit. The entrepreneurial process rewards only those who stick it through to the end. Good luck.
How to Achieve your Goal to Start a Business With No Money of your Own
a. Take a Decision to Start the Business Now-: A lot of limiting factors have been holding you back from starting your business. But if you are ever going to start that business, you have to make decision to get started now; not later, not next year, not when the time is right or when you have all the capital.
When you make the decision to start now, you will start figuring out how other things like capital and time will fall in place. But you have to take the first step by deciding to start the business now.
b. Evaluate Your Strength and Weakness-: Taking into consideration your strength and weakness in business can help you fine tune your business idea to match your strengths. You can either choose to ignore your weakness and focus more on your business strengths or you can learn to work on your weakness because it may affect your business negatively in the future.
c. Set Your Business Goals with a Time Frame-: After you have made the decision to start the business now and evaluated your strength, it’s time to set your business goals.
The goals have to have a time frame attached to it for it to motivate you to work harder to attain the goal; the goal may be to start and grow a mail order business to a four figure income within the next six months. The goal has to be an achievable goal that will not be too overwhelming to achieve. You can start with smaller goals and add bigger goals when you see yourself achieving the small goals.
d. Get Trained-: As I mentioned above, information is the power you need to successfully run a business. After you map out what your business plan will look like, it is time to get materials and take training courses related to the business and learn the ropes of the business. If it entails you going to intern for a good company doing the business already or staying under mentorship with a person who is a guru in the business, do it.
Top 10 Tips to Bootstrap and Start a Business With No Money of your Own
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.
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.
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
In conclusion, I want to clearly restate the fact that starting a business with no money is not impossible; it can be done. Now what do you do when your idea is simply capital intensive and getting the needed finance is proving difficult? Well, my advice to you is this: “Just start.”
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.