Your Guide To Starting a Small Business With No Money
If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you probably have several business ideas that can give you financial freedom. However, it can feel like the lack of capital makes it impossible to implement your ideas. That’s where this article comes in. Did you know that you could launch a business without starting capital?
You can start a small business without money by developing a service or skill-based business idea that you can exploit with free online resources or the resources you already have. Then, do market research to validate your idea, write a business plan, set up a website, and register your business.
Depending on your business model, you may still need finances. So, what financing options do you have? This article discusses everything you need to do to start your business from scratch without money.
Start a Business That Requires Little or No Capital
The acceleration of digital transformation is a blessing in disguise for entrepreneurs. Because the digital platform is still growing, it is easy to identify market gaps you can bridge profitably. Even better, you can exploit such opportunities with little or no money.
Much of your work will involve identifying a business idea that uniquely solves a problem and using your existing resources, such as a laptop and internet connection, to set up your company.
Most businesses you can start without capital are service or skill-based.
A service business involves completing tasks on behalf of a client in exchange for money for investing your time and expertise. This type of business is ideal because you can work independently and don't need to maintain stock. However, aggressive marketing requires showing customers you can deliver and give them a positive experience.
Examples of service-based businesses you can start without money include:
● Business Consultant: Long-time friend of Female Startup Club, Kelsey Reidl, is a professional marketing consultant. She helps equip businesses with the precise tools, frameworks & strategies to boost their income and find daily joy. She takes on clients worldwide using just her laptop, internet connection, and brilliant expertise. Not a single dime was invested.
● Coaching: Coaching is another brilliant way to make money in the service-based industry. Take inspiration from Phoebe Greenacre, the conscious business coach on a mission to help women share their light with the world through conscious entrepreneurship.
● Teaching: Another service-based base that has grown exponentially in the last decade has been the rise of online education platforms. Platforms like The Spark School, founded by Gwen Lane, teach founders how to grow their influence and revenue through digital products. To learn how Gwen built her online education platform from scratch to help 5,000+ students worldwide, tune into her episode on the podcast right here.
Most businesses are now dropping the traditional model and adopting a skill-based approach. And instead of employing full-time skilled personnel, they outsource such services to cut down on operational costs. If you have highly valuable skills, you can convert them into an income source.
You can use free online courses on platforms such as Udemy, OpenLearn, or Alison if you want to learn such skills. Examples of skills in demand include:
● Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO experts help businesses increase site traffic and rank first on search engine result pages by customizing content with specific keywords.
● Software development: As most companies integrate technology into their operations, the demand for software developers is hiking. They help companies design, develop, integrate, and maintain software to meet user needs.
● Graphic designing: This skill is in demand because most companies want to enhance their digital outlook. You'll be responsible for creating visual art for advertising purposes.
Caveat: Having a great business idea doesn't mean you'll start making money instantly. You'll need a stable source of income to pay your bills. Therefore, you should keep your current job and work on your business part-time until you make enough to meet your expenses.
Set Up Your Business Online
Since you don't have the money to establish a physical location, having an online presence is the best way to create publicity. And luckily, with the internet and social media, you can do it freely. As I have often been quoted saying: “build your online presence and start building it today!”. The world has changed so much, and you now have the power to build a community from scratch and for free just with an iPhone and time. Creating compelling content and stories is our generation's most crucial skill set; having an audience will help you so much on the day you want to launch something.
About getting started on that… Below are the steps you should follow to establish your business online successfully:
● Refine your business idea: You should conduct market research to validate it before implementing it. It should solve a problem differently from existing businesses and be in demand.
● Write a business plan: To have a clear picture of your business concepts, goals, and strategies, you should write a business plan. It'll keep you organized and able to respond proactively to challenges.
● Set up your website: Create a business name and register your domain next. Afterward, you set up a website where people can learn about you and your services. Also, setting up social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn with your brand's name can help increase brand awareness.
● Register your business: The final step is registering your business with the local authority to get licensure and to ensure compliance with all business regulations. After this step, you can start marketing your services.
If it's impossible to implement your business model without finances or you want more resources to scale, you can look for alternative sources of capital such as:
A grant is a gift from the government or another institution to incentivize your processes. Usually, you are not obligated to repay the lump sum you receive. This makes grants more competitive than other financial sources like loans. At Female Startup Club, we love a grant. So much so we have created a LIVE grant document to keep track of all the grants available worldwide at any given time.
Some of our fave business grants in Australia / USA / Europe
● The Entrepreneur's Program: This grant is available for Australian residents and provides up to $1 million to SMEs. You also access expert advice to innovate, compete and grow your business.
● The Cartier Women's Initiative: It is an international scheme in Europe that invites women with for-profit business ideas to contest financial support. 21 females are selected, 14 who make it to the semi-final win $30,000, and seven who make it to the final receive $100,000.
Crowdfunding involves raising small amounts of funds from a large number of people. This happens in crowdfunding platforms such as SeedInvest or Indiegogo.
You present your business idea to your peers on the forum, and whoever likes it can contribute as low as $10. The crowdfunding site deducts a certain amount of your fundraising is successful and gives you the rest. When you're running a DTC brand and have the backing of a community, raising through equity crowdfunding can be an excellent way to get people to know the brand. To get the brand out there whilst allowing your die-hard fans to come on this journey with you.
If you have a good credit score, a personal or business loan can be a good source of money for your business. However, most banks are reluctant to offer startup loans, so you must present a viable business idea and prove it is profitable, scalable, and sustainable. Also, you should research different lenders to find the lowest interest rates.
Starting a business without money requires choosing a business model with little to no capital and developing a solid marketing plan using free online resources. You must also be patient, persistent, and willing to persevere until you build a solid client base.
For all the latest up-to-date insights on how to start a business with little to no capital, it’s worth checking out our weekly newsletter, where we share tips and insights from some of the most inspirational female entrepreneurs in the game.