Traditional sources of financing for most new business ventures such as angel investment and venture capital are a long-shot. Less than one per cent of all start-ups gets any venture capital funding. Even bank loans are exceptionally difficult to get for startups these days. This means if you are really serious about starting your business you will have to learn how to start a business with no money.
Let’s look at how much startup capital it took for these famous entrepreneurs to start their businesses.
Sir Philip Green – Estimated fortune: £3.88billion Start-up capital: £20,000
Mike Ashley – Estimate fortune: £3.75billion Start-up capital: £10,000
Lord Sugar – Estimated fortune: £900 million Start-up capital: £100
What does this tell you? That it’s possible to start a billion-pound company with little startup capital. Nowadays, it is possible to start your business with no money at all.
Many entrepreneurs believe they need significant investment before they start-up. This may be true for some businesses, but why let money stop you from achieving your dreams?
Let’s find out how to start your business with no money.
Start A Service Based Business First
If you are starting a product-based business, which can require significant startup investment. Instead of waiting around for an investor, it may be better to startup initially with a service based business to help fund your main venture.
For instance, if you wanted to start your own fashion label you could work as an image consultant. Consultancy businesses require low startup capital but can make a positive cash flow very quickly.
Build your business on what you know.
The learning curve can be expensive for entrepreneurs. Even the most successful ones have admitted to making expensive mistakes. You can cut these out by sticking to what you know. Build your business on your own expertise.
By doing this you don’t need to reach out to others for professional advice, and because you know your industry well you can eliminate waste by making better decisions.
Tell Everyone You Know What You Are Doing.
When you are launching a business it can be tempting to keep it to yourself and keep your idea a secret. This is the wrong thing to do.
Tell everyone you know what you are doing and get them to tell everyone they know.
This creates a buzz within your own network about what you are doing. Do not forget these are the people who are most likely to buy from you. People like to do business with people they like and know. So ignoring your network would mean you are eliminating the people who are most likely to buy from you.
Even if they do not buy, they can help you develop your product by providing you with valuable feedback. Getting feedback early and for free will help you to improve your product.
Avoid Unnecessary Expenses.
This should go without saying but I am going to mention it. If you are trying to start your business on a budget you need to only spend money on what is necessary. No fancy cars for sales meetings, no extra-special business cards that cost £500 when ones that cost £50 will do. And certainly no overseas travel to source overseas suppliers or manufacturers.
Money is tight, only spend it where it’s necessary. To prevent any temptation of wasting money. Create a startup budget and list out all the items you need to start the business and follow this process to cut out waste.
- Categorise the items between essential and nonessential
- Write exactly why you need each item
- Write the price of the item (the absolute cheapest option available)
- What you expect will gain from that item (s) (what it’s worth)
- Eliminate anything that doesn’t have a positive return and eliminate everything that is non-essential
Get Your Customers To Pay For It
What do you think the startups on Kickstarter and Indiegogo are doing?
They are not looking for investors in their business. They are getting pre-orders to make the product.
You may not want to launch a crowdfunding campaign (although I would recommend it for most types of business) but you can put together a presentation, landing page or video that explains your product and give potential clients the option to pre-order.
If you can’t find any interest in your business when you are doing this, maybe this is a sign and your business idea was not that good in the first place. Don’t be put off by this, at least you will not waste any time or money on the idea and you can move on to the next business.
Utilise Free Advertising And Marketing.
There are many ways to generate interest in your business without spending too much money. Social media is a great way to gain exposure and interact with potential customers.
If you know how to use them properly then you can make plenty of traction in social media and digital marketing. Hire unpaid interns and volunteers to help you spread the word of your business. Do whatever it takes to get free publicity for your business.
Get Ready To Hustle.
If you really have to start a business with no money business then you have to be prepared to work your socks off. Dedication is a must and you need to be prepared to do everything from administration to sales presentation.
Don’t let this put you off, understanding every part of your business will stand you in great stead as the business develops.
My only advice with doing everything yourself will be to document everything you are doing so you can pass this onto staff as your business grow.
What is the best business to start-up on a budget?
It is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on the ambition, character, skills, experience, education and motivation of the entrepreneur. Another factor you have to consider when choosing the best idea to pursue is how much funding and support you will need to startup.
Below is a list of the top 50 businesses to start on a budget. The list is full of generic business ideas, what makes a business stand out is its Unique Selling Point (USP).
Always try to distinguish your business from your competitors and add your own individuality to your business.
Top 50 Businesses To Start On A Budget (in no particular order)
- Computer repair – hardware and software
- Mobile App Development
- Social media consultant
- Game development
- Image Consultant
- Mystery Shopper
- Cleaning – domestic and commercial including graffiti removal
- Car Valeting
- Virtual office support
- E-learning provider / Information Products
- Events Promotion / Management
- Direct marketing
- Graphic Design
- Online Publishing
- Mobile dry cleaning
- Courier & Parcel Delivery
- Sports Coaching
- Personal training
- Storage Provider
- Online store
- Amazon & eBay trading (various different possibilities)
- Personal services
- Beauty Therapy
- Jewellery Designer/Maker
- Clothing (all types)
- Consultancy & Professional Services
- Workshops / Seminars
- Bicycle repair
- Car repair
- Elderly care
- Furniture Maker
- Network marketer
- Music Production
- Social Media Marketing
- Photographer / Photo Editing
To decide which of these businesses ideas (or any business idea) you need to analyse what you have an expertise in, what you are passionate about, how much funding you have and the market size (and profitability).
Finally, you need to decide what you want for the business:
Are you looking for a business to generate additional funds for 1-2 years? Or are you looking for a long-term business?
Let Us Help You Launch Your Business
We can help you start your business with no money faster and easier than if you were do it alone. Our Business Launcher service is the launchpad for startup success. We’ll provide you with all the tools and advice you need to become your own boss. Check it out here.