Starting a business with no money? What you need to know to succeed

Got a brilliant business idea but no money? Here’s what you need to know to make a success of it.

Many people are afraid to pursue their dreams because they don’t have the funding for their business.

However, what if we told you that starting a business with no money is possible? In this article we look at how you can get your business not only to survive, but to thrive – even if you don’t have many funds to support it.

Create a solid business plan

Just like you would not attempt building a house without a good foundation, so you cannot create a business without a business plan. It is the backbone of your business – you can use it as a starting point before branching in hundreds of smaller directions.

However, you do not need to make your business plan something complicated. As a matter of fact, even a one-page business plan can often be enough to start your business with no money.

What can you put in your plan? Well, start with looking where you are, and where you want to be. Then, write down how you plan to achieve your goals. Add your vision and your business statement, and your one-page business plan is ready!

Take a look at your resources

While you are creating your business plan, you can take a look at the resources you already have. Make sure you know what you have, from things like the skills, experience, knowledge to the tangible resources. 

You will be using them throughout your business life, and knowing that they are at your convenience will be essential. Make sure you do not think superficially – go deeper to see what’s at your disposal. As you go, write down everything that pops into your mind. 

This way, you will get a great overview of everything that you have. This allows you to work with your resources and allocate them accordingly. This will be beneficial when planning your business idea further.

Work on your no-money business idea

You probably already have a great business idea – after all, this is why you are reading this article. However, this is only the first step in the journey of a thousand steps. There are so many little details that you will need to work through in order to get your business to stand on its own two feet.

This is called “working on your idea.” Luckily, there is no need to worry even if you have no experience with this. There are many tools that can help you explore all the nooks and crannies of your idea and come up with solutions to some of the most common entrepreneurship problems.

Tools like IdeaBuddy will help you analyze the market and see how unique your idea is. Then, you can go through a questionnaire-like process to build up your idea – ending with the value your business will generate. This way, you will get a better grasp on what your business will look like – and just how much (or little) money you will need.

Think about your capital needs

It goes without saying that money is a requirement for starting a business. However, how much you need it – and where you will get it – is what will want to explore when you have none!

This is why it is important to assess your capital needs. Otherwise, you are running the risk of having an unrealistic valuation of your business. This will never work week with any investors or loan agents.

So, think about why you need the money. How much will you be paying your employees, and how much will you spend on utilities? Do you need much money for your production or distribution? Questions are these are worth exploring when you are working on your idea and will help you when getting in touch with some investors.

If you are planning to apply for a loan, make sure that you have a specific terms and budget in mind. Use a small business loan calculator to give you an idea of your monthly payment and help you tweak it according to your budget. 

Welcome to the crowdfunding era

In recent years, more and more people are succeeding to generate quite a buzz on social media platforms – and start a business no money through crowdfunding.

Platforms such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe have changed the way that entrepreneurs look at business investments. It doesn’t matter if you are selling software, starting a digital agency or setting up a mortar business – you can do it by sharing your idea with people who agree with you.

However, to achieve this, you will need to network with people. After all, if no one hears about your idea, then they cannot really support you. So, you will need to find the right people who can not only help you financially but also by sharing your idea further.

There are many online forums that you can join, as well as attend events and trade shows which investors visit as well. You should also build a social media campaign on your platform – this is usually the easiest way to share your idea.

Think about securing a small business loan

Another thing you can explore is the way that your government (local as well as federal) helps small businesses. For example, the United States government offers loan programs operated by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

In order to secure it, you need to meet their criteria. For example, your business needs to operate in the country, it must operate for profit – and you need a good credit score. There are also many other guidelines you would need to follow.

Of course, not every country has the same rules and regulations. This is why it is important that you research the topic thoroughly – as well as the requirements you need to meet.

Decide what you can afford to lose

A huge part of starting a business with no money is also in your mindset. Usually, entrepreneurs think along the lines of investments and returns. This is a normal thing to expect in the usual circumstances – but not when you are working with limited funding.

Instead, try to think about what you can afford to lose. This way, you will be putting the money in your business with no risk. By doing so, you maintain flexibility, and this helps you cope with the stress – or minimize it! When you do not expect a return, then you will probably get more than you bargained for!

Be flexible and learn to adapt

Once you get in the right mindset, you will also need to navigate the water of entrepreneurship. Running a business is a competitive thing – you will need to adapt in order to take advantage of the opportunities that you run into. If you are firmly looking only at your goals, and not the way you take to get to them, you will not achieve much!

This is why it is important to ensure your business plan is flexible. Also, this is why we suggested making only a one-page plan. This way, you can visit it often – once per week, for example – and change it depending on the environment you are working in.

A great example of this is the existing firms compared to the new ones. If your business has been running for quite some years, then you are enjoying the status quo. You already have your own routines and workflow. This is why it would take you longer to change things with new technologies.

Meanwhile, a smaller company can change things up on the go. This makes it easier for you to not be responsive to the changes in the environment – but actually proactive. You should never be complacent in your position. Growth should always be the goal, which is why a good business plan should always remain flexible.

Look at a company like Seeker Digital, which, after four years of sustained revenue growth, entered Deloitte’s UK Technology Fast 50 list of 2020 – even after a year of turmoil. But the fact is that when you are looking to grow your business, you can implement processes and functions, but it always comes back to the simple page you started many years ago. Just by having a flexible business plan, you will be able to stand out from your competition and lead your business to success!

Petar Djordjevic is an aspiring blogger. While studying for his master’s degree in General Mathematics, he splits his time between learning as much as he can about writing and theater, and working as content creator at IdeaBuddy, the perfect tool for starting a business with no money. 

Photo by Felipe Galvan