Do you know that you can start a business with no money? Do you have a dream to be an entrepreneur or business owner but you are afraid to pursue such dream because you don’t have money?
Do you have a good business idea or opportunity but you seem handicap to act on it because you have no capital? Then I advice you read on as I am about to teach you the secret of starting a business with no money.
Most people want to start a business, but unfortunately, they don’t have any money at hand. In fact, one of the most common questions people are now asking on the web is,
“How can I start a business with no money?”
If you are also one of those asking this question, you are just on the right page. You will get more than enough answers that will make you glad after reading this post.
At one time or the other in your life, you may have proposed to start a business; either a full time business or a part time business to supplement the current job you have but it seems that you haven’t been able to make up your mind to get started; maybe because of procrastination, fear of the unknown or fear failure since statistics shows that most new business ventures fail without first 5 years of getting started.
Limiting time factor is another excuse for people that already have a full time job. Starting a new business is a very fulfilling venture a person may engage in, though it may be stressful for the first few years, the reward later on out shines the stress.
Over the years I have spent as an entrepreneur, I have come across countless individuals with big dreams and good business ideas; but they all seem to have one common problem and that problem is capital.
Now the truth is that capital is and will remain one of the biggest challenges to starting a business. In fact, that is why the ultimate job of an entrepreneur is to raise capital. Take a critical look at the life of an entrepreneur and you will see a continuous struggle to attract or maintain an inflow of cash into the business
However, I must point out the fact that the problem of raising capital is no longer a noteworthy excuse for not starting a business. With the recent advancement in technology, the game of starting a business has been made easier but the competition is now fierce.
Now how do you start a business with no money? How can you open a business without capital? This article will be focused in everything you need get that business idea up and running; it will cover both what you need to start a business and how you can achieve the goal of starting a business. But before I share more tips, keep in mind that there are two basic strategies for starting a business without money. They are:
Two Strategies for Starting a Business without Money
- Delay the normal procedures that most people implement when starting a business until your business starts to earn money. These procedures include incorporation, hiring employees, renting an office or retail space, etc. This strategy is called bootstrapping.
- Do everything yourself until you can afford enough money to hire an expert. This means you will spend more time with most tasks, but you will spend little or no money.
With the above said, let’s now look into the various tricks that you can use to start a business without spending a dime.
Why You Should a Small Business Even If You Have No Money
One thing about being an entrepreneur is that you tend to get all manner of people coming to you either as customers, business associates, employees, family members, friends or investors. I was motivated to write this article because of some statements I hear often from young aspiring entrepreneurs. I am talking about statements such as:
- “I want to build a big business”
- “I want to be rich”
- “I have just developed a multi million idea or product”
While I am not against such tall ambitions since I am also an ambitious person; I am against big dreams without the willingness to pay the necessary price. Most entrepreneurs dream of being the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Aliko Dangote, Mark Zuckerberg or Sam Walton but they don’t seem to be willing to pay the price of success to become as these men.
“I did 30 Minute Meals for five years on local television, and I earned nothing the first two years. Then I earned $50 a segment. I spent more than that on gas and groceries, but I really enjoyed making the show and I loved going to a viewer’s house each week. I knew I enjoyed it, so I stuck with it even though it cost me.” – Rachael Ray
“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote
“I have taken more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over again in my life; and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.” – Madam C.J. Walker
This is the main reason I have a category on this blog titled “Lessons from successful entrepreneurs.” I introduced this category on purpose to enable aspiring entrepreneurs see what it took these “famous drop out billionaires and entrepreneurs” to get to where they are now; and to also enable you learn from the mistakes of these successful entrepreneurs.
“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” – Donald Trump
It is good to dream big, but the real fact is; are you prepared to pay the price to become big? If you are, then you must be ready to start small. Most young entrepreneurs hate starting a small business and that’s why they assemble their business plan, make all necessary arrangements and then wait for an investor that will provide the $1,000,000 capital. What these “day dreaming” entrepreneurs fail to realize is that the way to become a big business owner is by starting as a small business.
“If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest.” – Syrus
The hard truth about waiting for the million dollar funding is that the million dollar investor might never come and even if they do, they will not invest with you because you lack the necessary entrepreneurial skills and confidence to run a business and grow their money.
“One of the most important things a real investor needs to say is this; “I want my money back and I also want to keep my investments.” – Rich Dad
So what is the way out? My suggestion to young entrepreneurs who come to me with ideas and business opportunities is this; go and start small or get involved with the process of starting a small business.
“Start small and dream big.” – Rich Dad
I usually advice entrepreneurs who are new to the business world to do all they can to start a small business; no matter how small that business is. Why? You might ask. Well, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur reading this; then below are four reasons why you must start a small business.
a. Most young entrepreneurs have no business experience. They have not been confronted by business challenges and they do not know how to solve intricate business problems. But experience and competence are probably the most important characteristics investors want to see in an entrepreneur. When you start a small business, you will gain experience and improve your business skills.
“The world is filled with brilliant million dollar ideas waiting to be funded but the world lacks seasoned entrepreneurs.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Starting a small business is highly recommended for young entrepreneurs because that business will be their learning ground; their own business school. I recommend you start your own small business because business mistakes can be made and corrected quickly in a small business.
“Underneath every mistake in business is a valuable lesson. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs miss these lessons because they lament and blame others over the mistakes.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
Decision can be made quickly in a small business and the consequences of such decisions will be felt directly by the entrepreneur and most importantly, the entrepreneur can get a feel of how every part of a business system inter-relates to make a successful business.
b. If you start a small business, you will faced by the initial startup challenges of finding new customers and managing the business system as a whole. Now the truth is; if you can handle these challenges, then you are preparing yourself to handle the business challenges of building a big business.
c. In business, there are unforeseen challenges. If an entrepreneur should humbly go through the entrepreneurial process of starting a small business, he or she will come to realize that there is more to building a business than just finding customers and making sales. An entrepreneur running a small business will come to understand that business is a people’s game; and it takes good people management skill to bring these people into fusion.
d. If you are able to start a small business and grow at a rate of maybe 35 – 45% per annum, investors’ confidence in you will be boosted. The investors will come to reason that since you have bootstrapped the business to the current level that you are, a little support will make a big difference. The truth is if you can confidently handle a small business and grow at a steady rate, then you can handle a big business.
In retrospect, I have seen entrepreneurs start and build small successful businesses but they refuse to go beyond the small business level. They started a small business, grew it into a success and got contented with the small business level. These set of entrepreneurs simply got contented with mediocrity. So for you who intends starting a small business, don’t make the same mistake; don’t get infected with the “staying small” syndrome.
“There’s nothing wrong in starting small, but the danger is in staying small.” – Robert Kiyosaki
“It is easy to stay the same but it is not easy to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives.” – Rich Dad
I want to encourage you to just start a business, no matter how small. Don’t wait for the right time because there will never be a right time. You might make a few business mistakes and experience a few business failures but don’t quit. The entrepreneurial process rewards only those who stick it through to the end. Good luck.
How to Achieve your Goal to Start a Business With No Money of your Own
- Take a Decision to Start the Business Now-: A lot of limiting factors have been holding you back from starting your business. But if you are ever going to start that business, you have to make decision to get started now; not later, not next year, not when the time is right or when you have all the capital. When you make the decision to start now, you will start figuring out how other things like capital and time will fall in place. But you have to take the first step by deciding to start the business now.
- Evaluate Your Strength and Weakness-: Taking into consideration your strength and weakness in business can help you fine tune your business idea to match your strengths. You can either choose to ignore your weakness and focus more on your business strengths or you can learn to work on your weakness because it may affect your business negatively in the future.
- Set Your Business Goals with a Time Frame-: After you have made the decision to start the business now and evaluated your strength, it’s time to set your business goals. The goals have to have a time frame attached to it for it to motivate you to work harder to attain the goal; the goal may be to start and grow a mail order business to a four figure income within the next six months. The goal has to be an achievable goal that will not be too overwhelming to achieve. You can start with smaller goals and add bigger goals when you see yourself achieving the small goals.
- Get Trained-: As I mentioned above, information is the power you need to successfully run a business. After you map out what your business plan will look like, it is time to get materials and take training courses related to the business and learn the ropes of the business. If it entails you going to intern for a good company doing the business already or staying under mentorship with a person who is a guru in the business, do it.
How to Start a Business with No Money and No Credit
The first step to starting a business without money is to re-orient your mindset on the possibility of the feat. Most people don’t believe that it is possible to start a business without money. They believe that it takes millions of dollars to startup a business, but the creative, innovative and determined entrepreneur knows that it is possible to pursue your dreams and ideas even if you have no money.
“There are three keys to starting a business. One is the idea, two is the people and three is the money. But rarely do these three keys come together in the beginning. However, it is your duty as an entrepreneur to find one of these keys and start the journey. You will find the rest along the way, though it might take years for these three keys to come in place.” – Robert Kiyosaki
What the quote above is saying in essence is that it is possible to start a business even if all you have is an idea. However, you must accept and believe the fact that it is possible to start a business without money if you are to succeed on this mission.
Now that you have understood the fact that there are three keys to starting a business, the question now is: Which part of the puzzle do you have? Do you have the money, the idea or the people? If you have any one of these, then it is a strength; a good ground to start.
You might think the question asked above is unrealistic or impractical but I tell you, it is. I have met people with money that don’t even know what to do with the money. These set of individuals are the ones that ask questions like:
- “I have $5,000; what business do you recommend I start?
- ”Where do I invest my money?
On the other side of the table are individuals with brilliant business ideas but with no money to finance their ideas. Now regardless the side you are on, the good news is that you have one of the keys; so you can start with that. You will find the rest along the way.
The next step to starting a business without money is to develop a good business idea. Your proposed business idea must satisfy a need or solve a problem. Your idea must be good enough to arouse the interest of anyone who hears a pitch of it and above all, it must have strong profit potentials.
Since this article is about how to start a business with no money, then I assume you are that person with the idea but no money. If you are yet to find an idea or opportunity that is worth pursuing, then you need to find one because that is going to be your leverage or starting point since you don’t have money.
Now if you already have an idea of what you want to achieve, then you need to write a business plan. A business plan is a written document containing your goals, your business idea and its profit potential. It is a document that tells an investor that you have spent time working on your idea and you are ready to move to the next phase. If you have an idea but you have no money and no business plan, then you have probably not made up your mind to become an entrepreneur.
Okay, I know you are reading this now because you lack the capital to finance your business idea but I will bet that you have something of value inside of you. What business skills do you bring to the table since you don’t have money?
Okay, maybe you are incompetent when it comes to running a business because this happens to be your first business. What technical skills do you have, as related to the business you have at hand? This are questions most investors will want an answer to.
Most people dream of someday owning a business and becoming rich. They start a business with the hope of becoming rich overnight. Now while I am not against thinking big and setting big goals, it is important you know that big goals are fragments of small goals put together. So you must be prepared to start small and work for free especially when you are starting out with no money.
However, the funniest part of this is that most people cringe at the thought of working for free. Most people can’t see themselves working for long without earning an income or getting a steady paycheck but the truth must be told.
If you are really going to start a business and succeed, regardless of whether you are starting with money or not; you must be willing to work for free at least for a year or two. This is probably one of the reasons why most people are afraid to start a business; the fear of working without earning an income.
Now from my personal experience, I know that working for free is a natural phenomenon especially when in the startup phase of building a business. The reason is because getting a business off the ground takes a lot of work, resources and capital. When I started my first business, I worked for three straight years without paying myself. Am I alone in this? My answer is no.
Virtually every successful entrepreneur I know started from scratch and worked for free to get their businesses off the ground. Richard Branson worked for free to get his “Student” magazine and “Virgin Music” business off the ground. Henry Ford worked for free on his automobile company until he was able to get the attention of investors.
Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell all worked on their businesses for free, from their dormitory of their various institutions before they attracted investors and rose to fame. One key trait investors want to see in every startup entrepreneur is commitment and sacrifice. If you can’t envision yourself working for free, then forget about starting a business.
After getting yourself in the right mindset and writing your business, the next step is to start. Now most people can’t imagine starting a business without money and they often ask:
- How do I rent an office space or store when I don’t have money?
- How do I manufacture my products when I have no money?
Well, the answer is that you can’t do any of these things without money but you can definitely do something.
Most people still believe in the conventional way of starting a business, which is renting an office space, stocking your goods, employing staff and finding customers. However, a creative entrepreneur can take a different approach especially when there is no startup capital.
Rather than sit on your idea, you can work on designing and developing a prototype of your product, attending seminars and entrepreneurial summits, writing and submitting proposals to investors and companies, looking for a partner, doing business plan presentations and talking to investors, borrowing money from family and friends. The most important thing is to keep moving and avoid being idle. Never sit on your ideas.
For instance, when I decided to become an entrepreneur, I had no idea, no money, no business skill and no friends of like minds. All I had was a vision of where I want to be in the future.
Rather than sit idle and dream about the future, I started attending seminars, talking with other entrepreneurs, reading books and learning about business models. It was during this process that I developed a business idea, wrote my business plan and started my business. I advice you take the same approach especially if you are starting out with no money.
You can also start a service based business since it requires little or no startup capital. But you will definitely have to invest time and sweat equity to get things going. A little bit of creativity, marketing and sales skills will also be needed to give your business a head start.
When I hear people giving lame excuses about their inability to start a business due to lack of capital, I boil inside of me. I have seen people start businesses right from their home and grow from there. Julie Aigner Clark, Bill Gates, Larry Page all started from either their home or dormitory.
I have seen people borrow $50 or less from family or friends and launch themselves into tremendous wealth through network marketing. I have seen young internet enthusiasts start a business from a friend’s computer or a public connection (cyber cafe). So I don’t think you have any excuse for not starting a business; even if you have no money.
Lastly, you can bootstrap your startup by operating on a lean budget. Bootstrap financing is an alternative for those who are finding it difficult to raise funds for their business.
Bootstrapping financing is simply the art of running a business on internally generated funds which are often limited. It involves the tactical deployment of resources while giving little room for waste. Effectiveness and efficiency are two watchwords in the game of bootstrapping.
Top 10 Creative Ways to Start a Business with No Money of your Own
Try to see how you can work from home. If your business requires that you meet clients in person, arrange and appointment with them at a nearby restaurant or fix a lunch meeting with them at a recreation park. Even people with very nice offices do this, anyway.
Even if your business requires that you have a few employees, try to do everything yourself until you start to earn some cash from your business. This is because employees are expensive to maintain especially when your incoming cash flow is not yet predictable or certain. So, you will be your own accountant, secretary, and more.
Also don’t hire professionals at the very beginning. You can delay hiring lawyers, graphic designers and other technical people until later. Though this might prove a costly mistake in the long run, especially when it comes to legally protecting your business assets or intellectual properties. So my candid advice is this, do everything possible to cover yourself legally. It will save you a lot of pain in the long run.
3. Get free professional services-: You can get a free lawyer and free legal advice from the mentors at Score.org. Find out other places where you can meet professionals who are willing to render some of their services for free, and grab any opportunities you find.
4. Write your business plan and financial statements yourself-: Learn how to write a good business plan. Also, instead of hiring a CPA or bookkeeper, you can do you financial statements yourself. But this doesn’t mean you won’t have to hire one later as your business grows.
5. Get a cheap domain name
If you must have a website for your business, don’t ever pay for a premium domain name. If your most desired domain name is no longer available, choose one from the many available ones. Better yet, you can make do with a free domain until you can afford to buy your own. WordPress.com and Blogger.com are platforms on which you can host your domain free of charge.
6. Use a free theme or template for your website-: Many available free themes look very professional. You can find tons of them at deluxetemplates.com. Choose one that appeal to you and use on your website. You can upgrade to a paid template or theme later on.
7. Create a free logo-: Don’t hire a graphic designer to create your logo. You can use LogoYes to create your logo by yourself. You can also visit flamingtext.com to create a text-based logo for your business.
8. Use a free or cheap payment processor
If you will need to accept payments on your credit card, don’t start with a full merchant account. Most of them are complicated to register, requires some programming expertise, and come with monthly feeds. And it goes without saying that this would cost you much money. As an alternative, use a simpler payment solution like PayPal, Google Checkout, or 2CheckOut.
Promote your products and services via social media. Also, write articles and publish them on free article directories as a way of attracting prospects to your website. You can generate more leads by offering a downloadable incentive on your website. This could be a valuable eBook or video. To set up your mailing list, use Mailchimp and opt for the free plan, which allows you to send 12,000 free emails monthly to up to 2,000 subscribers.
10. Learn more about your business using the web-: To learn more about your business, find free resources. You will find more than enough on the web. Explore them to learn more about your business rather than paying high prices to buy books and videos that offer information of equal value.
Seven Additional tips on how to start a small business without your own money
- Small Business Financing Option without going to the bank
- Obtain a bank loan
- Apply for a government grant
- Raise money from crowd sourcing websites
- Source money from Family and friends
- Try raising capital from investors
- Take your idea to institutions that support entrepreneurship (NGOs)
- Participate in entrepreneurship competitions
In conclusion, I want to clearly restate the fact that starting a business with no money is not impossible; it can be done. Now what do you do when your idea is simply capital intensive and getting the needed finance is proving difficult? Well, my advice to you is this: “Just start.”
I have a friend who had a dream of establishing a large cold room to sell frozen foods but he had no money and no one was willing to lend him money to finance the idea. However, my friend strongly believes in his idea, so rather than sit idle; he started a small business retailing Tablet PCs and its accessories, while still keeping his eye on the bigger vision.
As a final note, I want you to know that there will never be a situation where you will be provided with excessive capital to start a business. All lights will never go green and all the stars will never line up for you. There is no perfect time to start a business.
Once you have identified an opportunity, you just have to learn to run with what you’ve got. Don’t sit on your ideas simply because you have no money; start with what you have. Even if all you have is an idea and your enthusiasm; start with it. Where there is a will, there will surely be a way.
How to Start a Business With No Money Using the Power of Leverage
If I were to show you a way to build a successful business using none of your own money and resources; how many businesses would you go on to build? In the text below, i will be teaching you how to start a business from scratch using the power of leverage. Leverage as a word might sound absurd to you but underneath, you can find tremendous power.
“Leverage is the reason some people become rich and others do not become rich.” – Rich Dad
“The most important word in the world of money is cash flow. The second most important word is leverage.” – Rich Dad
By doing more with less, you are simply harnessing the power of leverage. Now what is leverage? Please forget about the dictionary meaning of the word, let me bring it to you in a layman’s language. To me, leverage is simply the ability to do much with less. For better understanding, imagine buying a car worth $100,000 with just $20,000 or less. That is leverage in its simplest term; buying more with less.
“People without leverage work for those with leverage.” – Rich Dad
“Give me a lever and a place to stand, I will move the earth.” – Archimedes
My main purpose of writing this article is to show you in detail how to use the power of leverage to build your business. Since leverage is doing more with less, this article is all about building your business and achieving great results with less. So if you are ready to learn, then let’s ride
“He who stands on the giants shoulders; sees farther than the giant.” – Poissant
A. Intellectual Leverage
This is the first kind of leverage you can apply to build a successful business. To me, it is the most important and most powerful form of leverage. I have seen entrepreneurs amass massive wealth with nothing more than an idea.
“Thinking is hard work. When you are forced to think, you expand your mental capacity. When you expand your mental capacity, your wealth increases.” – Rich Dad
Armed with an excellent idea, strong legal protection and an iron clad will to succeed; you can build a big business with less. Let me give you an illustration. Suppose you run a small company and you have just invented a widget with great market potential but you lack the financial muscle to mass produce it. What do you do? You can take your invention to a bigger company to mass produce it on your behalf.
Since you have nothing but an idea in the form of an invention, you can strike a deal with a manufacturing company to mass produce and market on your behalf and split profit with you while you still retain the right to your invention. If the deal is to last for 3 years, I am sure you can make enough money to take over the production and marketing of your invention.
An important point I want to stress here is this; your idea is not a leverage, a strong legal protection is. Your idea will not make you money except it’s backed by legal protection. Without protecting your intellectual property, forget about making something worthwhile out of it. Intellectual protection can come in the form of trademarks, copyrights and patents.
The second approach is to leverage the intellectual strength of other people. As an entrepreneur, you should keep a keen eye for talented and skillful people to attract to your company. Bringing a team of intellectuals into your company will go a long way in boosting investor’s confidence. Intellectuals can also help you build your business by acting as advisors.
Intellectuals can be professionals such as accountants, legal advisers, tax strategists and so on. Take a look at Microsoft Corporation; it grew rapidly because it was able to harness the intellectual strength of young computer whiz kids. If Microsoft can leverage the intellectual capabilities of these youngsters to strengthen their business, why can’t you?
B. Financial Leverage
This is another kind of leverage you can use to build your business. Let me share with you real life illustrations of how financial leverage works. Few years ago, the richest black man in the world; Aliko Dangote, was on a project to build the largest cement factory in Africa. The total cost of the project was one billion dollars. His company; Dangote Group brought $320,000,000 and a consortium of banks brought the remaining $680,000,000. Today, this company by name Obajana Cement PLC is already in business. Thanks to the power of financial leverage.
Financial leverage can also be achieved in business by buying more with less from your suppliers. You can call it obtaining credit facility but I prefer to call it leverage. Just like in Aliko Dangote’s case, you can pay $1,000 cash and get goods worth $3,000 on credit from your suppliers if you are credit worthy.
“Financial leverage is the advantage the rich have over the poor and middle class.” – Rich Dad
C. Brand Leverage
“If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” – Robert Kiyosaki
This is a very powerful form of leverage that can be applied in two ways. Before brand leverage can be used to build your business, you must fulfill any one of these conditions. It’s either you have an already existing business and you want to expand or you want to start a business and you intend using brand leverage to go about it. If any of these applies to you, then read on.
If you are a business owner and your aim is to expand using brand leverage, the prerequisite is that your business must be a brand identity or have a unique product. If you intend starting a new business and you don’t want to go through the stress of building a business from scratch, then brand leverage in any of the following ways:
- The first way to apply brand leverage as an expansion strategy is through Franchising. You can franchise your business to other interested entrepreneurs for a fee and royalty. I hope you know the Mc Donald’s story? It is a story of how Ray Kroc built Mc Donald’s, a multi billion dollar business simply by applying the franchise tactic to his business. That is the power of brand leverage. On the other hand, you can be a franchisee if you are starting out in business. Instead of going through the stress of building a business from scratch, you can buy into someone else’s brand.
- Licensing is another way you can apply brand leverage to your business. Licensing is simply giving another company the right to use your trademarks in return for royalties. The richest man in the world and founder of Microsoft Corporation; Bill W. Gates, became a multi billionaire by licensing his software “MS DOS” to hardware giant; IBM. A point to note is this; he didn’t invent MS DOS. He simply bought it from some programmers, licensed it to IBM and became the richest man in the world. Once again, that’s the power of brand leverage.
D. Personality Leverage
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five Minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
This is an under utilized kind of leverage because most people have sold their integrity for peanuts. You can’t apply this type of leverage except you are a person of integrity. You must also have a proven track record of success and credibility.
Aliko Dangote; the richest black man in the world and founder of Obajana Cement PLC, the largest cement factory in Africa was able to get the banks to finance his expansion because he had financial integrity. He has a proven track record of success in his business of buying and reviving moribund (dead) companies.
“The most important thing in your business relationships is your reputation for honesty. If you can genuinely and sincerely fake honesty, you will be a success. Never doubt it.” – The Mafia Manager
You can start from scratch and build your business to any level if you are prepared to develop your personality. Venture Capitalists and investors want to deal with an entrepreneur that has financial integrity. Customers and suppliers want to do business with someone of integrity and credit worthiness. So take your time to build your personal brand and I will see you at the top.