While many people have dreams of starting their own business, not everyone has the cash or investors to get a start up off the ground. For those who truly have the entrepreneurial spirit driving them like fire shut up in their bones, waiting for that funding is not an option. For those who have the skills and knowledge to start their own business, the lack of money to start it can be very frustrating. With that in mind, we have come up with a few ideas for how you can start a business with no money.
Before Getting Started
Before you jump in on the fast track to starting your business, there are a few things you should do. You will need to know what type of business you want to have, and what skill you will need in order to have it. Gather a few ideas of what you may want to do. Would you like to run an online store? Or perhaps running a company which supplies writers, editors, and web designers for other companies is more your thing. Research, research, research, and find out exactly how much demand their may be for your idea or service, and who your target audience may be.
You will also need to evaluate yourself and realistically determine what skills you have, and what type of business you have the means to start. If you cannot type very well, then perhaps writing, etc is not for you. If you are good at finding items for sale that a target audience will want, and offering those items at good prices, then an online store is a great plan. There are many other web-based businesses which you can start with no cash, just research and find one that fits you.
What Can You Do Without?
There are several things that everything assumes they will need to start a business. The good news is that you do not have to have many of those things.
- An Office- While an office can make you look and feel more professional, it is not necessary to go out and rent the space for one. It is fairly simple and free to turn an extra room in the home into your office. This cuts out the overhead of renting the space and paying bills at another location. You also will not need fancy office furniture or new electronics. Your computer, desk, and old table, chair, can all be thrown into a room with a phone jack, and an office is born.
- Fancy business cards- Sure, having those super professional looking business cards to pass out may make you feel important, but they are really not needed to start your business. Since you are focusing your energies into the online world, it is likely that you will have customers and clients that you will never see. A well-created website is a much better choice, and can be done for free.
- Employees- While you may want to hire someone later on to write content for your site or improve the site itself, this is not necessary in the beginning. Doing everything yourself keeps costs down to nothing while giving you a terrific sense of accomplishment.
- Outsourcing- Once again, doing everything yourself saves you from having to pay anyone else to do it. When outsourcing is needed, it is important to find good quality at a low price.
Freebies That You May Need
- Internet- Of course it is ideal if you can have the internet at home. This allows for more privacy and a quieter environment, but, if you cannot afford it yet you can always go to an internet cafe or coffee shop to work online.
- Website- If you are going to start a business online, it is important that you have a website to introduce yourself. This is the advertisements and business cards of the online world. It does not have to be fancy, just a simple page to introduce yourself and your product or service. A few free sites are available, such as www.webs.com, www.weebly.com, www.yola.com, and www.godaddy.com has a great version which costs about ten dollars a year and allows to you leave their name out of the URL. Most of these have both a free and a paid version which means that you can upgrade your site and let it grow with your business.
- Attorney or Legal Advice- Before starting a business it is a good idea to have legal advice on the “ins and outs” of the business world, and how they will relate to you. A very good site for free legal advice is www.score.org.
- Legal Documentation- For any type of legal documents that you may need for your business, it is a safe bet that you can find a similar copy online. Instead of paying for copies of legal documents, simply find one online that represents your needs, and revise it as necessary. You can then print as many copies as you need.
- Financial Advice- In order to keep trac of your finances, and thus keep Uncle Sam happy, use a program such as Excel for tracking the cash flow. Many local colleges will also offer free classes on Quickbooks. Many other options can be found in this guide to online book-keeping.
- A Logo- If your company is in need of a logo, it is not necessary to pay a graphic artist. Simply visit www.logoyes.com and create your own.
- Payment Options- It is also not necessary to pay for a debit card reader, although they are convenient to have once your business starts to grow. Both Google Checkout and Paypal offer payment options which require no money upfront.
- Website Monitoring- Just as a store can make you no money if the doors are closed, you website cannot help promote your business or sell your products if viewers cannot access it. For this reason, it is vital that you monitor your website. Not only do you need to know if the site is down, but it is also important that it loads quickly. Most visitors will not stay more than a few seconds on a slowly loading page. A great example is at http://www.monitor.us. This site also has a free version as well as a paid one.
- Mobile Apps- Let’s face it, in today’s world, everyone who is anyone has a mobile app. You can build your own mobile app easily and keep up with the times! The more accessible your business is, the more likely it will be used. Create a mobile app, and your customers can take you with them everywhere they carry their phones!
There are many other free services available online…so many in fact that it is a good idea to search for anything you need before paying for it. For those who are writers and looking for a way to get a book published, for example, you can self print the book at www.lili.com, and then you owe no money unless someone buys a copy. That is because the book is not actually printed or published until an order comes in. You can even host virtual business meetings at sites like GoToMeeting, and DimDim, making office space and travel a lot less needed. If there is anything you are not sure how to do, look it up. You have the internet at your fingertips and there is nothing you cannot learn. By doing everything yourself, and hiring no one, you can get your business off the ground with no cash at all!