Just a few years ago, the question of how to start a business without money would have been unthinkable. But now technology means start-up costs and barriers have collapsed. For many types of businesses, it is now possible to get started with very little cash.
Access to finance can still be a problem. Banks are reluctant to lend to start-ups, the tough economic climate makes it difficult to borrow from friends and family, and credit card financing comes with high risks.
If you need government backed cash Starting Credits good place to start. But funding is not always necessary. The good news is that if you follow a few basic rules, starting a business with almost no money is entirely possible. Here’s how to do it:
1. Use the resources at hand
Work from home, at a local coffee shop or library with free Wi-Fi. Have a car? You can offer a local delivery service. Is there a kitchen? You can start making cakes or cater for parties. Is there a free room? You could release it with Airbnb or Booking.com.
2. Build a business around the skills you already have
What can you do that someone else might be willing to pay for? Can you sew clothes, draw and decorate, program on a computer, speak Italian? Do you have a hobby that you could turn into a business? If you have a skill that other people don’t have, or if you have to spend time and money on your own training, this immediately gives you a big advantage.
3. Sell a product or service that people need, not want.
It should also be something that they immediately understand and feel comfortable buying without having to consult with anyone else first. £10 umbrellas are better than £10,000 hot tubs.
4. Get customers to pay you up front
– or, at worst, half ahead, half later, so that your expenses are always covered. Late payments are one of the main causes of business failure, so make sure you have a plan to get cash fast from the very beginning.
5. Take advantage of free tips on how to start a business with no money
National Enterprise Network members often provide free tips and activities. Verify A meeting to free or low-cost business and creative development events in your area. National Network of the British Library Business and Intellectual Property Center has many resources and events for startups across the UK.
6. Get any hardware you need for free
Verify Freecyclea community website where people can recycle unwanted items, or a classifieds section of free sites such as Gumtree, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You will be amazed at what people are willing to give away for free. And in addition to helping build the foundations of your business, you’re helping the environment by reusing rather than sending good things to landfill.
7. Do almost all the work yourself
Invest almost all of your income back into the business. Thankless and harsh, yes, but also the only way you can accumulate enough cash reserves to invest in new equipment or premises and thus grow the business. It will also teach you to have a good understanding of costs and finances, which will be a big advantage for your business in the long run.
8. If you have a job, stick with it.
A solid solution to the question of how to start a business with no money is to start your business in your spare time and quit your day job only after your business can pay you wages. If the venture doesn’t work, you still have your job. If so, the transition to being your own boss will be a lot less risky.
9. Replace fixed costs with variables by linking your costs to sales.
Rent hourly meeting rooms, hourly staff and services as needed. Platforms like Fiverr making hiring freelancers for small jobs easier than ever.
10. Make the Most of Free Technology to Promote Your Business
Create a website for free using an online website builder such as wix.com (although if you can afford it, it’s worth paying a small amount to get rid of the ads and have a professional URL). Then get social media. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to promote your business without spending any money. There are many channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so focus on the social media channel that your ideal client hangs on first.
Ready to start? Download our simple and quick checklist to set up your business and make sure you are following the law and don’t miss a single important step.
And if you’re still looking for inspiration, check out here for many more ideas on how to start a business with no money.
How Kate Jenkins built her business with no money
Kate Jenkins effectively expanded her chocolate brownie business for free using Twitter. In 2007, she began making chocolate brownies in the kitchen of her home in Llanmabog, Wales. When a friend told her about Twitter, she signed up and started running contests to get brownies on Twitter. She quickly built a supportive community of followers and over 70,000 tweets later, her business, Gower Cottage CakesNow he has almost 5000 subscribers. Turnover rose to £120,000, a third of which Jenkins estimates came directly from Twitter.
She said: “It’s not just that people buy my cakes, they also support me and do PR for me because they talk about my cakes. Twitter is like the biggest word of mouth.”
Success in business is not about starting with a lot of money. It’s about adopting the right attitude, thinking about problems, and having the determination to put in the effort and do your best. So now you know how to start a business with no money – what are you waiting for?
There is only a slight taste of Rachel Bridge’s book. Find out more or order a copy by clicking on this link: How to start a business without money.