How to start a business with no money? 6 steps to succeed

Adam Rozsa

Have you ever wondered how to start a business with no money?

In this post, we’re going to show you the six most important steps to start a business with no money and explore the options open to you if you aspire to be a business owner, yet you have $100 or less to invest.

While it isn’t impossible, starting a business with no money is tough. You’ll need to secure startup capital somehow if you want to get your business idea off the ground. There are ways to do so, and if you are strapped for cash but have a promising idea, you could reap the rewards in the long term.

In any case, it’s essential to get a business account to manage your money with. Wise Business provides everything you need in this regard, even if you’re on a shoestring budget. You’ll be able to avoid hefty fees and headache-inducing admin with the simple-to-use account that’s up to 19x cheaper than some other alternatives.

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📝 Table of contents

1. Start with an idea

Every business starts out with an idea.

It doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking idea, but it has to act as a guiding light for your efforts in starting a business.

So, how do you come up with business ideas?

One of the most reliable ways to create a business idea is to brainstorm based on your current passions and skill set. Lean upon what you already know and what you know you can do, and this should yield a few ideas. For example, if you’ve worked in the construction industry, think about problems you would encounter on the worksite.

From there, see if you can address the problems with a product or service. Of course, you will need to do market research at this stage to see if the idea is viable and whether something similar already exists.

Make your idea known

2. Make your idea known

Now that you should have an idea in mind - regardless of how developed it is - you need to let the world know.

This is a crucial stage for creating a business, especially if you don’t have any funds in the beginning. Spread the word about your business idea on social media platforms, and you can appeal to prospective investors.

What’s great about social media is that it offers free marketing, so you don’t have to spend money to create awareness for your idea. Small business owners should make the most of this free form of marketing, as it’s a risk-free way to reach new customers. Even if you can’t secure investment this way, you can garner a positive response for the idea, which could help you apply for a business loan. This is an intelligent business model if you want to keep your costs down.

Choosing your business name is another crucial step towards building a strong brand. Think carefully, and source some additional information. Read our business name tips and use our business name generator to make the right choice.

3. Look for funding

Sooner or later, once your business idea starts to gain traction and the public’s interest, you’ll need to look for funding. There are several ways to do this, and it’s worth exploring each option. Without the funds to run a business, you might suffer from a failure to launch.

Here are some of the most popular ways to secure funding for a fledgling business:

  • Friends and Family - To get your budding business off the ground, there’s no shame in turning to friends and family for some financial assistance.

  • Business Loans & Grants - If you qualify for a business loan or grant, then you can kickstart your funds. Eligibility will depend on factors such as your credit score and the type of business you’re creating,

  • Angel Investors - You can find angel investors through networking in your industry. With an angel investor, you can expect plenty of input into the management of the business, so that has to be something you’re okay with.

  • Crowdfunding - A popular option for launching a business these days, crowdfunding platforms have emerged as a top way to get funding from the general public. This method guarantees you a customer base from the start, though your business plan will have to cater to public demands.

Get a business account

4. Get a business account

Once you have your business set up, one of the first steps you should take is to create a business account. With a business account, you will be able to set up a payment method and secure credit cards, so you can start making transactions.

On top of this, you’ll have to invoice your clients, so using a free invoice template online can be helpful.

Wise Business can help you expand your fledgling business overseas with low fees and fair exchange rates. You can save money on fees, so you can re-invest more into your growing business. With this account, you can do the following:

  • Create an IBAN, routing number, sort code, and more in a single account.
  • Pay as many as 1,000 people at once and without large fees.
  • Receive international payments without high conversion or recipient fees.
  • Pay your invoices in more than 70 currencies while saving up to 19x on fees.

Save up to 19x with Wise Business

5. Adapt and expand

Starting a business is hard work, but you can do a lot of the groundwork yourself if you work smart. The key to success in the early stages is to adopt a flexible and adaptable mindset. Things will go wrong, and you need to be ready for that. Seek out people who have done it before, those who have created successful startups and continue to do well. Find a business mentor online, or read from those who’ve stayed at the top for a while.

You also want to focus on ways in which you can scale the business when the time comes. How can you scale the business by expanding your services or bringing your product to market on a domestic or international scale?

Think about factors such as logistics and distribution, and consider both online and local options. It may be that you need to rent an office and hire a few members of staff. Or, you might need storage space for inventory, or even something as simple as setting up a website to establish an online presence. It could be even easier than that, though; home-based businesses can thrive under the right circumstances, so that should be another option you consider.

Never give up

6. Never give up

When you encounter setbacks, which you inevitably will, you can’t let them crush your entrepreneurial spirit. Know that the journey will be long and challenging and full of obstacles from the start, and you’ll be better equipped to deal with them when the time comes.

Persistence and patience are crucial, and while it might take a long time, know that you will succeed in the end so long as you focus all of your efforts on the business.

What’s the best business to start with little money?

While you can build a business by offering just about any service or product and make it successful, some options are much more feasible if you have a tight budget. Online businesses are perfect for entrepreneurs that don’t have the money for a brick-and-mortar business.

Here are some of the strongest contenders for the best business to start with little money:

  • Digital Marketing - If you’re looking for a lucrative business idea that doesn’t cost a lot to develop, a digital marketing agency is a good option. Of course, this type of business requires an in-depth knowledge of digital marketing, but plenty of excellent free online courses and resources are available. Your main startup costs will be purchasing a domain and website maintenance.

  • Online Courses/Products - If you have a skill set you can teach, setting up an online course is an excellent way to bring in passive income without spending a lot of money. The same goes for digital products, which include everything from e-books to photos.

  • Dropshipping - Dropshipping has emerged as a popular online business in which someone sells a product that will go straight from the supplier to the buyer. eBay and AliExpress are platforms which you can use to set up a simple dropshipping business and start earning a profit.

  • Cleaning Services - You can set up a cleaning service business with low costs providing you’re willing to do the work yourself in the beginning. Once you’ve purchased any equipment you need and registered your business, you can get going and hire employees when you start to make a profit.

  • Pet Services - If you love animals, setting up a pet services business is an excellent way to make money from a passion. It’s simple to set up, and you can find clients locally.

Bottom line

Starting a business from scratch with little money is never easy, but certainly not impossible. If you have a great idea which you can promote early enough and reach out to your network to support you financially, your chances to succeed will multiply.

Even then, it takes persistence and patience to run a business: you always need to adapt and try expanding your business to scale the business.

If you struggle with finding financial support for your business, there are some options which might work better. Businesses such as offering digital services or setting up a cleaning or pet company may be established on a tight budget.

In any case, if you're in need of a business account to manage your finances and invoice your customers, take a look at Wise Business. You can have bank details in many currencies and pay invoices in more than 70 currencies. Plus, it takes just minutes to open a free account.

Learn more about Wise Business

  1. US Small Business Administration - Loans

All sources checked on May 21 2021

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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