Starting a business has never been a walk in the park, with fear of failure and raising capital topping the list of the reasons why most people opt to shelve their business ideas. While it is easy to overcome the fear, raising capital to jump-start the project is another cup of tea altogether. But who said you have to have lots of money in order to start a business? This article gives you ideas on how you can start a business with little or no cash at all!
Majority of the world’s prominent businessmen admit to building their empires when they didn’t have their name on anything.
Their stories substantiate the belief that there is no ripe time to start a business and that lack of capital is not reason enough to give up on being an entrepreneur. Here are tips on how you can build up your venture with little to no money.
Have an idea of what you want to do: Everything begins as an idea. You therefore need to know which service or goods you will sell – this is the first step towards being an entrepreneur. Once the idea has been born, own it and love it, as there is nothing as motivating as pursuing what you love.
Look for a mentor: No matter who you are, where you come from or what you have achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset in business. A lot of people have gone further than they thought they would because someone else thought they could. Ask any successful businessman and if they are honest about it, they will certainly admit to having benefitted from the advice of a mentor at some point.
Get money upfront: This works on the pay-in-advance model where customers pay for a product or service upfront. For instance, if you want to venture into carpentry, ask your client to pay a certain percentage, which will allow you to purchase the materials you need. The balance will be cleared once you deliver the product. In this model, trust between you and the customer is paramount. Ensure you meet your end of the bargain if the business is to thrive.
Get funding from outside sources: There are a dozen ways to raise capital if you don’t have any cash or savings to start you off. Potential sources could be friends and family, wealthy individuals who like your idea, crowd funding (partnering up with other like-minded people), bank loans and government grants and loans. Whichever way you choose, put everything in writing. Seek legal advice where contracts need to be signed.
Maximise on your talent: Each one of us has a talent, which can translate into a business opportunity. For instance, if you are good at singing, volunteer to sing at events and within no time you will have people asking for your services. Use every opportunity you get to market yourself and with the rise and rise of social media, this is one place you can take advantage of.
Sell your services: One way to start a business with little or no start up capital is to sell a skill, instead of goods. For example, if you are an IT person, offer to repair computers or laptops for companies or your acquaintances at a fee. In offering your services, all you need is the know-how and integrity. An important aspect of selling one’s services is branding. Ensure your name gets to the people who need your services through marketing for instance through social media, a website or a blog. Referrals also work in such cases. Therefore, ensure you meet and surpass your client’s expectations.
Reduce your needs: If you don’t have the luxury of sufficient capital to start a business, the first option you have is to change your business model to demand fewer needs. For example, don’t employ people while starting a new business; run it alone or minimise the number of employees if you must have. Unless an office is mandatory, cut costs by working from home. If you deal with physical products, find cheaper sources of supplies, or cut out products that are too expensive to produce for now
Published in August 2016