With everyone holding back for that potential ‘rainy day’, it seems very few would-be investors are willing to fund even the most innovative of business ideas. With banks, friends, family and credit cards seemingly out of the question, is it really possible to get a new business off the ground with no capital at all?
The expert consensus is that yes, it certainly is possible to start a new business with minimal start-up costs, as long as you make sensible decisions along the way and refrain from putting in too much too soon.
Here are some top tips for starting a business for little to no money:
1. Make the most of what you have
People tend to forget just how simple business can be. You don’t need to be a mad inventor with a million ideas, or a tough salesman fluent in boardroom lingo to make it in business. All you really need is to make the most of the talents or skills you already have.
One man, by the name of Simon Dolan, realised he had a knack for numbers. After a short stint working as a salesman, he decided to spend just £10 on an advert in the paper offering to do year-end accounts for small firms. Demand came in thick and fast and now, after spending the last few years building a large firm, Mr Dolan sits on a rather comfortable fortune of £100 million.
2. Keep the day job
Regardless of how great you think your business idea is, never risk absolutely everything you have. Don’t remortgage your house, sell your car and give up your job: it is possible to start a business in your spare time alongside a full-time job. If you are passionate enough about your idea, you won’t mind dedicating your evenings and weekends to it. Although you will naturally become disheartened and exhausted along the way – you simply have to keep reminding yourself of the end product: every hour of work you put in is another hour towards potential success.
When Sam Bompas and Harry Parr started making traditional English jellies for parties and events, they kept hold of their day jobs until they were certain there was enough demand to support them both and sustain the business. It took only 8 months of weekend and evening work for the business to generate enough profit for them to leave their jobs. The business, which cost no more than £50 to start, now has a turnover of £1 million.
3. Be resourceful
There are free resources out there for start-up advice, equipment and business promotion. The Internet is the best tool for this – here you will find sites like businesslink.gov.uk with hundreds of free pages of invaluable business advice, along with sites like freecycle.org and gumtree.com, which often advertise free or cheap second-hand furniture and equipment no one wants anymore.
You can also promote your business for free by creating clever campaigns on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to get people talking, or by striking gold with a video that goes viral on Youtube. The more creative you get, the less you will be required to pay to promote your product or service.
4. Work hard
At the start of your business, your most valuable asset will be you. With no money to spend on additional employees or extra help, you will have to do all of the work yourself until you can afford help. As long as you judge your market right, put the work in to provide a good service that consumers want and stay true to your dream, chances are you will soon reap the rewards from your hard work and persistence.
Instead of spending thousands on a business qualification, why not hire a business coach to guide you through the basics? With an expert on-board, you can learn as you go along. To find out more about the benefits of hiring a business coach, please visit our Business Coaching page.
View and comment on the original Telegraph article.