You’ve got it! That idea. That brilliant business idea. You’ve spent weeks checking and you’re sure it’s a first; no one else has thought of it. It’s going to be huge. But there’s just one problem.
You haven’t got any money.
Starting a business without any form of capital isn’t easy, but it is possible. You may be the first to come up with your big idea, but you’re not the first to attempt making it a reality without any money.
Countless businesses have started without funds and you can do the same. Here’s how.
1. Forget the traditional business plan
Every business needs a plan. Without one, you’re only preparing to fail. Unfortunately, traditional business plans are time-consuming and can often do more harm than good.
If you follow a ‘tried-and-tested’ template for a business plan, I guarantee it’ll have you spending money by page 3. You’ve got your idea and you don’t need to approach a bank manager – that’s enough for now.
2. Tell everyone
You’re lucky; you live in a world where communication is nearly always at your fingertips and people are always listening. Tell everyone about your new business – don’t be shy.
Use social media to spread the word. Facebook and Twitter are obvious candidates, but don’t neglect LinkedIn. Tell previous colleagues and your other business-related contacts about what you are doing. You’ll start a chain reaction with this form of grassroots marketing and reach a sizeable audience without spending a penny.
3. Don’t spend unnecessarily
There are actually very few necessary expenses when starting a business. Think you need business cards? Think again. If you’re starting a business without any money, you can’t afford thousands of cards with your name on them. Neither do you need them; gladly accept other people’s and tell them you’ll be in touch. Which, obviously, you will!
4. Use free advertising and content marketing
Marketing has changed. Businesses big and small are turning to alternative forms of brand promotion in order to reduce their reliance on costly pay-per-click advertising. You can do the same.
Make sure you configure all of your social media profiles, add yourself to every relevant free business listing website you can find and start a regular blog. You should have a good idea of your audience profile, so pitch your blog posts at them. Be helpful – give away free advice and show you know what you’re talking about.
5. Don’t leave your current job
If your new business idea has been dreamt up while working the day job, don’t give up the latter in search of Richard Branson-esque commercial fame. Keep that solid income coming in while you build your business.
It’ll take an awful lot of hard work (you’ll work every hour god sends) and ultra commitment, but if you can divert funds you’d usually spend on non-essentials like nights out to your business – hey presto! You suddenly have a start-up budget!
As I write, the UK’s national debt currently stands at £1.6 trillion. And I can’t think of a reminder more appropriate than that when it comes to the perils of overspending in business. Don’t throw away your big idea because you have no funds; you absolutely do not need them.