46 Ways To Start A Business With No Money

Discussion in 'Starting a Business' started by magician661, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. magician661

    magician661
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    Most people who want to start their own business don’t have a ton of money laying around and it’s probably one the most common questions I get emailed about: How can I get started without a lot of cash?

    Well I’ve put together a list below of the best ideas I’ve heard and personally used. I hope you find it useful!

    The three basic strategies to starting a business without much money are:

    * Delay the normal “business starting” activities like incorporating, hiring, renting office or retail space, etc until AFTER your business has started earning money. This is known as bootstrapping.
    * Doing everything yourself and spending your personal time instead of hiring an expert. (Takes longer but costs less.)
    * Using some neat tricks and little known deals below.

    Start With The Easy Stuff: Eliminate Expenses

    1. Don’t rent an office! – work from home. Or better yet work from the best free office with locations everywhere: Starbucks. If you need to meet with a client and are worried about seeming small time without an office, don’t be. Just meet them at a restaurant for a lunch meeting. This is what people with the nicest offices do anyway.

    2. Don’t hire any employees! – do it all yourself until you have some $ coming in the door.

    3. Don’t hire lawyers, technical people, graphic designers, or assistants (see below)
    Legal Stuff and Incorporating

    4. Get a free lawyer and legal advice from the mentors at Score.org

    5. Find a website with a similar legal document and modify it to your needs

    6. An LLC is probably the best business structure, but don’t worry about incorporating until you’re earning money, just do a sole proprietorship, you can always incorporate later (you can get it setup with the IRS in just a few minutes by calling them at 800-829-4933)

    7. Learn how to do your own financial statements for your business in Excel instead of hiring a CPA or bookkeeper (again you can do this after you’re making money)

    8. Take a Quickbooks class at your local community college
    Make a website for your business

    9. Don’t pay a premium for a top end domain name, there are plenty of good ones left

    10. Test out your ideas by writing to a blog, you’ll get feedback on what people like and don’t like

    11. Get a free business website at www.wordpress.com. It won’t be your own domain (it will be something like yourbusiness.wordpress.com) but…
    Read full article here
     
  2. Fergal

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    Some good tips there, thanks for sharing them with us. However, I don't see 46 of them, will you be posting the rest of them?
     
  3. magician661

    magician661
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    Sorry i have forgot to mention the source
    so here is the source
     
  4. akashjshah

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  5. alisze

    alisze
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    Interesting..
    I'll try to use your tips to expand my business..
    thanks
     
  6. akashjshah

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    Good advice. Expanding on your wordpress.com website - there's many more ways to make websites for free. I personally think Wordpress in general is the best. However, Google Sites, Wordpress.com and Webs provide GREAT services for absolutely no cost.

    Read How to Make a Website for Free here
     
  7. eddane

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    Not bad tips, but quite obvious surely? Interested to hear more though!

    Ed
     
  8. johndale

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    I will include that on my short list to follow in starting my own business.
     
  9. Jamey

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    Thank you for sharing the information. This is really helpful for beginners. A business mentor can be the key to successful business.
     
  10. jjreview

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    Your list ...

    Regarding # 1, you can also get virtual office space. We have an account with CES Virtual Offices. It's pretty simple, $99 a month gets you an address, a live receptionist, call forwarding, voicemail, fax to email, SMS alerts, etc.

    If you work from home, some customers might not trust you. After all, no one does business on the Internet then suddenly disappears ... right? ;) Don't let trust be an issue.
     
  11. houstonVijai

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    GOod pointers.

    Just a caution regarding google site from experience, Google sites are not for business. It is only recommended for personal and non-profit organizations. I think wordpress is good and don't have any restriction for business usage.
     
  12. tania12

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    1. Don’t rent an office! – work from home. Or better yet work from the best free office with locations everywhere: Starbucks. If you need to meet with a client and are worried about seeming small time without an office, don’t be. Just meet them at a restaurant for a lunch meeting. This is what people with the nicest offices do anyway.

    2. Don’t hire any employees! – do it all yourself until you have some $ coming in the door.

    3. Don’t hire lawyers, technical people, graphic designers, or assistants (see below)
    Legal Stuff and Incorporating

    4. Get a free lawyer and legal advice from the mentors at Score.org

    5. Find a website with a similar legal document and modify it to your needs

    6. An LLC is probably the best business structure, but don’t worry about incorporating until you’re earning money, just do a sole proprietorship, you can always incorporate later (you can get it setup with the IRS in just a few minutes by calling them at 800-829-4933)

    7. Learn how to do your own financial statements for your business in Excel instead of hiring a CPA or bookkeeper (again you can do this after you’re making money)

    8. Take a Quickbooks class at your local community college
    Make a website for your business

    9. Don’t pay a premium for a top end domain name, there are plenty of good ones left

    10. Test out your ideas by writing to a blog, you’ll get feedback on what people like and don’t like

    11. Get a free business website at www.wordpress.com. It won’t be your own domain (it will be something like yourbusiness.wordpress.com) but…

    12. When you’re ready to have your own domain, get a hosting plan (new domain included) at 1and1 for $4.99/month, and install wordpress on your own server (instructions)

    13. Get a professional website design for free with a wordpress theme that you can install with a few clicks (no programming knowledge needed)
    Getting a Logo

    14. Don’t hire a fancy graphic designer. At least not yet. Use LogoYes to create your own logo (or at least get ideas that you can recreate on your own for free)
    Accepting Credit Cards

    15. Don’t bother with a full merchant account to start off with, they are complicated, come with monthly feeds, and require programming expertise. Instead try a simpler (and much cheaper) solution like Google Checkout or Paypal

    16. For a more professional look and a complete shopping cart for only $5/month use E-Junkie, its great and I use it on this site
     
  13. btsuccess

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    Hi all, these tips are very useful. One thing only worries us: how long can it take to start making profit if you have to do everything yourself (you have to be your own lawyer, an accountant, a writer, a designer etc.)?
     
  14. Fergal

    Fergal
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    The answer to that will be different for every busienss and for every individual. Some people will unfortunately never be profitable, others will take a year to turn a profit and others will make a profit on their first day.
     
  15. gregbraddy

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    1) Live off your current job as long as possible. There is no reason you cannot explore and experiment through your entire first year of launching a new business while holding down another full time job. The first year is about ideation, about coming up with bad ideas and letting other people explain to you why they are bad, and how they can be better. You can nurture and grow the idea, and also build the initial wave of enthusiasm with prospective customers and employees all while moonlighting.

    Got fired? Even better. After the first few weeks of a job search, no one can spend 50+ hours a week focused entirely on finding employment. Think Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Use your non-search time to gestate and spin-up a new idea. It's healthy, and may really lead to something. This is what happened to me.

    2) Let your customers fund your working capital. This is key, although it is not possible for every business model. Developing, testing and manufacturing many products requires significant capital up front. But for a service business, it is much easier. My company sold annual subscription memberships to executives. The fees were required to be paid up front, but our costs were not incurred until months later. With no salary (living on a couple months of severance) and no immediate expenses, we quickly built up a bank account of $300k and rising.

    Even if your idea does require making a product, it can be launched inexpensively. My good friend, Sara Blakely, started the amazingly successful company Spanx with less than five thousand dollars. She researched and wrote most of the patent on her own (using attorneys for the clean up), then begged and borrowed to find a plant to make her prototype. From there, she lined up orders, and the cash flow equation fell into place.

    3) Outsource your sales department. You can't afford to hire (or commit to) high-ticket sales people. Find companies who already have a relationship with your target customers, and rope them in. World 50 sold to the highest level executives in world, and I had a small problem - I didn't personally know a single one! But I was able to talk Accenture, Bain, Omnicom, WPP and others into making all the introductions for me - all I had to do was close the sale.

    In fact, these partner companies quickly became so excited about my new business that they donated all of our branding work, technology development and PR - and each actually paid me $50,000 for the right to do so! Now that may be hard to replicate, but if you can find ways to get your partners excited, you can get them to contribute.

    4) You don't need to give away equity. Many people I have spoken with think that if you don't have cash, then the only way to launch is to give away lots of equity - to partners, to employees, to initial customers. Not so. I seriously considered giving our first customers and partners equity in the company to get them to participate. But as it turned out...they didn't want it! Customers could easily sign up and write me a check, it was a simple transaction - but if they received even one share of equity, it went to their legal department - and good luck wading through that mess. As for my service provider partners? They just wanted to participate in what my company was doing, and NOT have any brand liability in case I screwed things up. Take the high rode. I kept 100% of the equity.
     

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