You can start a business with no money. Many entrepreneurs become business owners with a great idea and nothing more. It’s your starting point. It’s your beginning, so be proud of your idea and use it as the foundation of your business plan. It needn’t be complicated, but your business planning process is where you figure out what you do exactly need to pull it off, and then you can work out the money mechanics.
It’s possible to start a business without a small business loan and without money, just as it’s possible to successfully progress during lean times. Entrepreneurs (especially young entrepreneurs) launching a new business often start with very little funding.
No one hands us a successful business venture with all that we need including all expenses paid for and wrapped with a bow.
No disrespect intended, but if you didn’t know that, now you do.
Entrepreneurs face continual changes and hurdles, and deal with economic downswings while expecting to maintain if not still progress. It’s nothing to be scared of. It’s something to deal with successfully. Entrepreneurs do. This is why the traits of successful entrepreneurs are so common.
You will make sacrifices, but I firmly disagree with people saying motivation comes from enjoying inexorable pain.
Forget pain like that. Focus on ensuring you actually do focus, use your business plan, and embody successful habits.
Start your dream business from scratch.
- Use your business plan.
- Know your money mechanics.
- Entrepreneurs wear many hats.
- Control your personal budget.
- Control your small business budget.
- Build your business idea while looking for efficiencies.
- Maintain a steady income as you become an entrepreneur.
- Grow your skills as you grow your business.
- Maximize free resources to support your business idea.
- Use no-cost business marketing tactics.
Start a business with no money using these 10 tactics.
1.) Use your business plan.
You need a business plan. It’s your guide as much as it is your inspiration. Creating a simple one pager is fine but make sure your business plan includes the following elements.
- Executive summary
- Target Market
- Sales & Marketing
- Financial Plan
Know your big picture and where you want to go, and create SMART goals to guide you.
Starting your business requires much more than a business name and a business license. You can run a business without an online store, but you cannot run a business or create a business structure without a business plan!
Your business plan is the document that details your business. It details your business goals.
2.) Know your money mechanics.
Know exactly what money is coming in and where it’s going.
If you cannot afford to start your business, you cannot afford any daily habits that drain your wallet.
There is no entitlement or frivolous personal need that trumps your business. You either want a business or you do not.
You can always go get that expensive iced coffee, sit in the sun and dream about that business you cannot have because you spent your potential start up fund… on that expensive iced coffee. Or cigarettes. Or a bar tab. Or gas from just driving around. Or fancy nails. Or hair. Or ….
These choices you make are actually business decisions. You own them. You live with the consequences.
3) Entrepreneurs wear multiple hats.
Do more yourself.
4.) Control your personal budget.
Ever hear the saying, “rice & beans, beans & rice?” If not, now you have. It’s an old saying for a reason. It works hand in hand with knowing your money mechanics and controlling your small business budget.
Every dollar counts.
Your savings compound. Those people who throw away change and walk past a penny on the ground, just leave it there for someone who knows. Handing a retailer $1.48 for something that costs $1.49 means you get to leave with $1.48 still in your hand. They don’t exist to lose money on you.
Pennies count too. Pennies add up.
How to control more? Take easy but helpful steps. Consider the price per pound. Shop off an ingredients list and purchase when the items go on sale. If you purchase pre-made items consider whether you can create your own for less
Maybe not. But maybe.
Nickle and diming gets a bad rap – it’s actually money smarts, money sense and budgeting.
Wise elders called it ‘stretching a dollar.’
What do you actually need vs. air quotes “need.”
Priorities change. It’s part of evolving and growing.
5.) Control your small business budget.
Carefully shop for office supplies. Use scraps of paper. Barter.
Maximize pricing on your product/service.
My friend runs a bakery. She offered 10% off in local couponing publications. People brought in the coupon and many still asked for an addition “I’m local discount,” a senior discount, the “I know you discount,” and the repeat customer discount.
Just know heavy discounts does not equal good customer service. Heavy discounts also don’t keep you in business. Such requests come from a place of entitlement.
Maybe tell them you’ll consider a different promotion next season. Perhaps share that your ingredient costs went up, but you didn’t raise prices. Go on to say that instead of raising prices, you chose to now work on less margin. It’s tough to stay in business.
Your product/service is worth more than a deeply discounted bargain.
If they shop elsewhere, they shop elsewhere. You’d be losing money every time they returned. And you don’t want referrals who behave the same way.
It actually IS hard to stay profitable. Be the one who survives.
6.) Build your business model with efficiencies.
USE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN to bring your business model concept alive.
Your business model tells you how you intend to make money with your business.
Your business plan is the roadmap that brings it alive. It’s your right hand man. It’s your partner.
Revisit your plan. Use and adjust your SMART goals to ensure it accurately reflects reality while staying true to your concept.
Continually look for efficiencies across all factors including your use of time to maximize your budget and profitability.
7.) Maintain a steady income as you become an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs tend to work a lot, especially in the beginning. You have to work to create balance and you will.
Until you get off the ground, maintain some sort of steady income and schedule in time for work, recreation you enjoy, and sleep.
You’ll find that much of what you give up is time you wasted. With a little bit of planning you can pull this off and not be overwhelmed.
As your own business generates income, transition that primary job into your side gig and then let it disappear altogether.
8.) Grow your skills as you grow your business.
Use downtime to learn for free and make learning fun.
Growing your skills without eliminating all of your recreation and fun can be in the form of games. Games can be fun and increase your brain power while also allowing you to take that break from work. Take it outside and get your steps in as you play.
Listen to a podcast as you clean up or exercise.
Read. Save clever marketing ads.
9.) Maximize free resources to support your business idea.
Look for government aid. Get to know the Small Business Administration resources at https://www.sba.gov/
Look to your network for ideas, referrals, and shared resources.
Who is doing something great? How can you help them?
In the end it helps you, yes. First though, look for the learning.
10.) Use no-cost business marketing tactics.
Promote your business using grassroots and no cost guerrilla marketing tactics.
Customers do not magically appear, but putting out ads doesn’t necessarily payback initially either. Use your time to craft your story and learn from your first customers.
You might start with no money but being clever and creative costs you nothing!
An entrepreneur with no money or experience can get a business going despite the naysayers!
Develop a fascination for those who’ve made it already and your competition. What works for them?
You’re clever. How can you share your solution to their customers? How can you get noticed in a positive way?
Controversary has long lasting negative effects, so use your clever energy positively.
As you acquire great and satisfied new consumers, employ strategies to keep them engaged. If they do not need to buy again soon you still their positive feedback and you want their referrals.
Successful people understand budgeting.
Comes down to planning and making wise decisions.
In the food world it’s called share of stomach
In the world of maintaining profitability, put your customer’s wallet aside for a moment as that is a separate conversation. I’m talking about YOUR share of wallet.
In the beginning it’s more about business ethics and having a sound business model and legal structure and the steps to start will be derived from a solid business plan.
Worry less about having a business credit card and more about managing business expenses. As you scale your business you’ll need a business bank account and you’ll get a business credit card, of course.
Just know, there are many ways to go about starting a new business. Explore your options so you make a decision and decisions aren’t made for you by default. You’ll make money sooner by being wise now.
A business owner not requiring an income from the business, someone with significant capital backing the business, someone with a bit of environmental timeliness (in other words, a bit of luck), and numerous other factors, go into budgeting.
A single person owning a 2 bedroom townhome with enough space enough to run the business from home is different than a person renting a sweet but fairly priced flat in a city, who relies on public transportation and rents space for a storefront.
You can make it work. You just can’t take a cookie cutter approach.
Consider the value of your time. Time includes all time. Time spent creating the product, performing the service, as well as what it takes to order, sort, and manage the goods required to create your product. Time includes packaging and delivering the product.
Everyone’s journey is unique. How you save and corners you can cut will share some similarities, but mostly it will simply depend on your desire to succeed – and prudence will play a role. Or you’ll decide a pricey latte every day is worth waiting 2 more years of your life. We all define “need” differently as it pertains to ourselves. No judgement. It’s you being you and me being me.
Stop the power tripping. Get rid of any ego. Simply, be kind. Be humble. Keep faith in yourself and your journey. You got this.