No money no problem: Starting a business with very little capital

Is it time to quit your nine to five job? Many entrepreneurs have brilliant business ideas but a serious lack of capital; it doesn’t necessarily stop them from embarking on the adventure, but it makes the journey a bit tricker.

Besides, when you think about the amount of money that is invested in a startup, only for its business owners to burn through it within the first couple of years – it makes it a bit more likely for yours to succeed.

Use this nifty list to find inspiration despite an empty bank account, so that you can make your dream a reality a bit faster – and avoid closing the doors within the first two years.

Start with what you know

Most budding entrepreneurs get this one right from the start; it makes a bit more sense to start with something you know well. You can find quite some who are just in it to make money, though, even if they have none to show for themselves – and they’ll try to find the most profitable industry straight away.

Research as well a solid business plan is always important, and marketing strategies should be a part of this pre-planning stage. But when you have little credit to get you started, it’s better to rely on as few outside resources as possible – that way, you only have your own skills and knowledge to depend on.

Think about plumbers starting their own company, yoga instructors establishing their own centre, or even dog trainers who start to offer their services to the local area. Find a franchise for sale, first of all, and make sure it’s one where you get to put your brilliant skills to use.

Specialists don’t really need that much money to kick things off, and if they do find something more profitable later on where they may need a bit of funding, they’ll be in a better position to do so in a year or two.

Rely on WoMo

Sure, you’re going to need quite a bit of marketing to get the kind of customers who make your company skyrocket, but save the pricey marketing experts for later. Start by telling everyone you know about your new business, and ask local companies in your area if they won’t help you spread the word.

The great thing about startups is that you’ll be a part of a vibrant and local community of other business owners. They’ve been in your shoes before and would probably not mind helping you to find your feet a bit.

Keep in touch with the co-workers at your old job, and they might be able to help you establish your brand as well, by the way, who may again be able to spread the word further up. We’re talking grassroots marketing, and it will really help you kick things off when you don’t have the capital to waste on excessive marketing campaigns and leaflet printing.

Social media is a great way to get your business seen for free, by the way, so learn the tricks to social media marketing or ask someone you know to lend you a hand. Here is a handy intro to SEO and social media marketing you can read up on after this article to get started.

It will make it a lot easier for you to get the attention of the local area, for example, as everyone is online these days – and what one person shares may be seen by a hundred, so tell your neighbours to keep pressing that like button.

Just remember that it’s no use asking the dry cleaning company down the street to help you spread the word if you’re planning on starting a laundry service yourself – just saying.

Spend as little as possible

Sure, you need to spend some money to make money, but the more you manage to put aside when you have just started up, the better off you’ll be in a few months. Get a traditional business card instead of the ridiculously fancy ones, don’t overspend on equipment, and keep your hands off the marketing gadgets, to begin with.

There will be time and money for all of this when you have set root in the market and scrambled your startup together. One of the main reasons that so many startups fail is, as a matter of fact, because they run out of capital.

Not because their business idea was no good or because they teamed up with the wrong partners; they started with overspending and didn’t manage their budget for more than a year or two. Set aside extra money in case of emergency and you’ll be able to breathe a bit easier the market suddenly takes an unexpected dip.

Even though you have no capital to invest now, doesn’t mean that you should spend everything you make as soon as possible. Try to put a lot aside in case of sudden expenses, and you’ll avoid business disaster in six short months.

It’s more than a lot of other business owners manage to do, in any way.

Don’t get buried in credit card debt

The same goes for credit card debt, buy the way, and there’s no surer way to send your company tumbling downhill than building up a lot of debt. You don’t have to buy everything at once even though you probably really want to.

Start with the most pressing equipment, such as office stationery, and expand when you have the money for it – not when the new credit card is issued.

Although a frightening amount of startups fail, you can actually manage your finances and keep your head above the water by being a bit thrifty, to begin with.

Start slow, work your way up, and expand when business is blooming – it’s the best and quickest route to success.

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