Published June 27th, 2020 by Editorial Team

How to Start a Business with Little to No Money

You have an idea that you truly believe will be the next big thing. You’re an entrepreneur at heart, and you have the dedication and motivation to make this new business venture work! However, there’s just one thing that you believe is holding you back. There’s one thing that is blocking you from achieving your dreams...money. But, you may have it all wrong..

Money is definitely something to take into consideration when you are starting a business, but you just need to think creatively. Nowadays, there are so many different ways to play it smart and acquire the money needed to make your business a reality. Starting a business with little to no money is completely doable, and it should never be something that keeps you from trying. 

While personal wealth is not a requirement to starting a business, it’s important to be aware of what you’ll need to spend money on to get your business off the ground and running.

Expenses to Expect

Unfortunately, there isn’t some magical figure or specific guideline that lays out everything you will need to purchase and account for when starting a business. Every business is unique and requires a different set of fees, paperwork, and investments before you sell your first product or service. 

Knowing and calculating the amount needed to start your business will help you to eventually determine the best way to acquire the financial help. For some business ventures, you may be surprised at how little cash you’ll need to get started. 

Some items to consider when starting a business include:

  • Equipment 

Whether it’s machinery like a heat press if you’re designing and making custom shirts or a software for drafting prototypes, consider any and all equipment needed to create, produce, or market your product or service.

  • Subscriptions or Memberships

Along with equipment, some pieces of equipment or software require monthly or yearly subscriptions or memberships to utilize the products. If there are any that are essential to the success of your business, be sure to account for them in your startup cost. It’s these kind of costs that sneak up on many first time business owners!

  • Supplies

From run of the mill office supplies to computers, shipping items, stamps, or even raw materials needed to create a product, think through all of the items necessary to run your business smoothly on a daily basis. This list can become pretty long pretty quick. 

  • Operating Expenses

Different from supplies, operating expenses can include: website creation and upkeep, marketing, advertising, and any other expense you feel would help your business in the long run. Essentially it is anything that you feel your business needs to operate smoothly on a regular basis.

  • Legal Fees

Depending on your startup and the product or service being offered, be sure to investigate any and all potential legal fees, licenses, and/or permits that would be required. 

  • Employees

If your business requires it, employees are a huge expense that definitely needs to be taken into account. Do you want them to be full time? Will you offer them benefit plans? There are so many things to consider when it comes to employment with your business. 

If you are wanting to emphasize marketing, for example be sure to maximize your money by building a successful SEO team. While this will cost some, it may pay off with a great deal of engagement and getting a lot of traction with your new business.

  • Office Space

If you are planning on running your business from a home office, then feel free to ignore this one! If not, office space can be one of the biggest ticket items on your startup costs. Be sure to shop around. Location is important, but can also come a quite the hefty price tag. 

While this isn’t the comprehensive list of every single item you may need, these are the main items that you must seriously consider when calculating what amount of money will need to be budgeted for your new business. Of course, there will always be surprise fees and purchases to pop up along the way, but thoroughly thinking through your business’s essentials could help eliminate a significant amount of surprise costs. 

Determining your start up costs will take a great deal of time, but it will pay off for you in the end.

Two Main Ways to Start a Business with Little to No Money

Now that you have considered all of the potential expenses that are essential to starting your unique business, it’s time to figure out how to start it while having less personal capital than desired. 

From our perspective, there are two main ways to start a business with little to no money that can yield the best results: starting slow or outsourcing your funds.

Starting Slow

There are several different ways to looking at the “starting slow” technique when it comes to starting your own business. 

First and foremost, you can start slow by cutting out any items that are not absolutely crucial to getting your business up and running. For example, if your business includes selling items, maybe you could work from a home office for the first few months to save a little extra cash. 

Or, if you eventually plan on having employees, but they aren’t absolutely essential right out of the gate, you could start by doing it all yourself until your revenue begins to increase enough to support the expense. However, if employees are a must for you business plan, maybe consider hiring employees part time, then fulltime when the funds can support it. 

Another way that you can start slow with your business is through rolling out your business plan over time. For example, if in the big picture, you envision offering multiple different products or services, you could simply pick the one that is your strongest to start with and then growing and releasing them at a later date. “Phasing in” your different products and services as you grow more support can help limit the expenses at the beginning.

The final way to start slow includes your business plan as well. Say you want to have a blog, social media presence, online shop, and so on. Instead of overwhelming yourself (and your wallet) by doing everything at once, take your time and roll out the different aspects of your business in the order of its importance. For example, start by building your website and online presence. That takes little money, but a lot of strategy. If you want to learn more about SEO strategies for small businesses, be sure to check out our recent post

Outsourcing

If you don’t want to start slow or still find yourself strapped for cash when starting a business, you can always look outward to find financial support from a variety of people and sources. 

  • Friends/Family

If you have some friends and/or family that are genuinely invested in seeing your business become a success, they may be willing to make a financial investment as well! Just be sure to tread lightly when taking loans/investments from family.

  • Crowdfunding

Thanks to the Internet, now there are endless possibilities to acquire funding through complete strangers who genuinely love your idea and want to see it succeed. Be sure to explore your options in the crowdfunding world. You just may be surprised at who is willing to invest in your startup. 

  • Grants and Loans

You can always go the more traditional route by finding and applying for the variety of grants and loans that are available out there. By investing some time researching, you might be able to find a federal, local, or banking loan that will work for you and your startup.

  • Angel Investors

Ever see the show Shark Tank? Well, the sharks are essentially angel investors, wealthy people who are looking to invest in your new business venture. In return of their initial investment, angel investors typically will seek a percentage return or stake in your business. 

  • Venture Capitalists

Similar to angel investors, venture capitalists have the same goal, but are typically a firm that invests other people's money in new businesses that show promise.

Starting a business with little money in the bank is completely achievable. One big (and free) way to get your business going is through online presence. Be sure to check out our post on the 9 Best Practices for Building your Online Presence for some amazing tips and tricks. 

 
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