Starting a Business With No Money
Make your dreams come true
Many of us dream about escaping the 9 to 5 and starting our own business, and with the nationwide lockdown having put the country to a standstill, one of the very few upsides of this scenario was the ability for many want to be entrepreneurs to cultivate their new found time on developing their innovative ideas. However, setting up any business can seem economically daunting, and when you don’t have many spare pounds in your pocket, it can seem like a risk which may not be worth taking. But, there are ways around this, and with a little bit of know how and a savvy attitude, you can get started on turning your dream into a reality in no time! Here are some top tips on how to get open for business without opening your purse.
As the saying goes: ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Without foresight and strategic planning for your business, you should be prepared for the harsh reality that you are going to be losing money through careless mistakes. Take the time to set out on paper or a document what you would like to achieve. One of the best ways to do this is to set out your vision through inter-relating sections. Start with who your target audience is, what do they want, how your service or product provides this, why they would go to you over your competitors (your unique selling point). Once you have done this it may be useful to create a timeline for the business, so you know what steps you need to take, when they must happen, and how much they will cost so you can budget. Once you have these key factors addressed it will help you tailor your business to be a standout champion in your field further down the line, and a clear and logical vision will likely attract investors. Although passion can make us all get carried away at times, when it comes to business, logic and methodical thinking also have their place.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are not spending unnecessarily is to do market research and create a focus group. Although you believe your product or service will be extremely popular and know from your own personal experience that there is a gap in the market, how big this gap is can only be determined through proper research. This avoids mistakes such as over ordering products for manufacturing which can lead to mountains of unsold stock, which is never cost effective! Reaching out for feedback and opinions from your target audience can even raise ideas that you may have never considered, which may make vital positive changes for your business. Your audience should inspire your business and be at the heart of what you do, and research is a cheap and easy way to ensure that you’re catering to them to the best of your ability without taking economic risks.
Start Small, Think Big
Most entrepreneur’s dream is for their business to become a massive widespread success, and many have achieved this! But, most great things usually come from humble beginnings. Having amazing scaling visions for your business is important and it’s brilliant to have big ambitions driving your project, but often starting with a small scale and working on gaining commerce within your local community is the best place to start. Luckily, there’s a real push to shop local and support small businesses at the moment, with many turning their back on giant corporations and opting to spend their pound thoughtfully. Creating a strong and supportive community who will rave about your services or product and leave beaming reviews and recommendations is an easy and free way to gain organic customer growth.
Technology and the internet have revolutionized how most businesses work and have provided thousands of free resources to help you get your business off the ground. Following businesses, entrepreneurs, and writers in the same sector as your business can help you keep in the loop about the current market and what services and products the target audience are reaching for. Similarly, listening to podcasts featuring other entrepreneurs in your field sharing their experiences and the milestones they faced can give you valuable insight and keep you motivated to keep going when times are tough. There are also many websites, blogs and videos entirely dedicated to business advice and there will be many sources tailored specifically to your market niche.
When you’re working with a next to nothing budget, affording a costly marketing team is just not possible. Luckily, you can spread the word about your business for absolutely no cost. When advertising your business, social media will be your best friend. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc will give you a massive outreach if you utilise them properly. For as little as £1, you can sponsor an Instagram post and reach a targeted audience of thousands who will be interested in your post. Many small businesses may feel they cannot afford to have a website, which is completely untrue! Often for a business which is only just starting up, you will not need an overly complex site. Website design programs such as Done Dave allow you to set up a professional and simple website for absolutely no charge and with unbelievable ease. With a little bit of technical know-how and an internet connection you’ll be bringing in profit in no time.
Investors Great and Small
When you’re stretched for money, having investment externally can really excel your business and allow for far faster progress. It is worth applying for small business loans (but you must watch out for interest rates) and small business grants are also worth a shot if you fit within their criteria. Unfortunately, these are both often hard to come by, especially when you have not set up your business yet. However, not to worry, there are other, often overlooked ways to gain investment. I recently read of a ‘business shower’- where a new business owner took the concept of the ‘baby shower’ and instead invited friends and family to celebrate the birth of their business, where the guests brought along gifts of small investments or a contribution of useful business contacts! Although that maybe a rather comical example of personal network investment, if your idea is feasible, well planned, and can be a success, you are not a charity to them, and many of your nearest and dearest will be more than happy to back their belief in your success. Even if your network is unable to offer you economic support, you’d be surprised how many will have very valuable contacts.
Ultimately you should not let your lack of funds get in the way of what you are passionate about, make your move and go for it!