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So you want to start a business but you don’t have any money? Well, you’re not alone. Over 627,000 businesses are started every year and plenty of them try to do it for free.

While some may say it’s destined for failure, many successful businesses were started with extremely limited resources like Microsoft or Amazon, so don’t be discouraged. There’s plenty you can do to improve your chances of success, so let’s talk about how to start a startup with no money.

How To Start A Startup With No Money: Get Funding

Okay, you may think this is a cheat, but it isn’t. Just because you don’t have money now doesn’t mean you can’t get some for starting a business. There are websites like Kickstarter where you can crowdsource your project and maybe get a little extra cash on hand.

The difference between starting a business with literally zero dollars and starting it with $1,000 from crowdfunding could easily be the difference between success and failure.

Without money, it’s hard to make a pitch, but you need to try. Pitch the vision of your company and offer as clear of a path to that vision as possible. Let potential investors know exactly what you plan to do with that money and how you’ll handle any potential revenue that comes in.

The truth is that you do need some money to start a business. It could be a very small amount but you do need some to get a website up and running, maybe put out a small ad or two, and get the equipment you need. If you’re still working at a job, you can use some of your income, but getting investors is your best bet.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are investors who fund startups at their most vulnerable points. Remember, around 90% of startups fail, so anybody who is willing to invest is taking a big risk.

One of the biggest hurdles for startups to clear up is getting investments at the start, making it a vicious cycle. “My business can’t take off because I can’t get investors, and I can’t get investors because they’re worried my business won’t take off.”

Crowdfunding is ultimately your safest bet at the very beginning, but offering investors enough equity or convertible debt is another option to generate initial funds. It will be tricky to get the first one, as you won’t have any money, but once you have the ball rolling, it will be easier.

Start Small

You don’t have much of a choice in the matter. You can’t choose to wake up and be the CEO of Amazon but you can take baby steps to get there.

Crunch The Numbers

Crunch them as tightly as possible. With limited funds, you have no room for waste. You need to be making the wisest investments possible. If you’re selling products like dog food, coffee, or televisions, you need inventory. That alone demands money.

You’ll realize quickly that you do need some money to start just about any business, so prioritize your spending and cut any costs you can, even in your personal life.

Look For Opportunities To Save

Every single dime will count at the very beginning, so use them wisely. Whether you want to use coupons, make deals with other businesses, or shop around online for better deals, look for any opportunity you can to save money. There are plenty of ways to save money, so be creative.

Use The Right Ads

If you’re going to be buying ads with your startup funds, be careful. You should only be using ads that follow the pay-per-click structure, as the clicks will likely have significantly higher conversion rates than views. Make sure your landing page and website user experience are strong to get the most out of each click.

Use All Free Tools At Your Disposal

Luckily, we live in the digital age. A century ago, you would have needed to knock on doors every day until you found a business if you couldn’t afford an ad in the newspaper. However, even with ads being available everywhere and for reasonable prices, you don’t even have to use them. Here are a few tools you can use for free at the beginning!

Social Media

Social media is a start-up’s best friend. You can use it for almost anything, and it’s free. When we talked about getting creative, here is the perfect place to do it.

You can try to post viral content until one of them sticks, and by all means, try it. All it takes is one good for you to blow up to tens of thousands of followers overnight, which is great for business.

However, you don’t even have to be that clever. You can post promotional content or interact directly with the public. Don’t underestimate the value of humor for a business on social media. Making a top comment on a viral post related to your business could be enough to get the ball rolling.

You can also post something promotional to try to build followers and even go viral. If your business is a service like a massage parlor or anything that won’t directly cost you money, you can offer a free couple’s massage to a lucky winner if they like and share your post and follow you. This is a good way to build attention. People who see it will have nothing to lose and a free couple’s massage to gain!

Optimize Your Profile

First, create a business account. From there, put up as professional and legible a profile picture as possible. That should be your company logo ideally. If you don’t have one, work on making one that’s as simple and easy to read as you can get it. It can always be changed later on, but having something to start doesn’t hurt.

Your profile name should just be the name of your company. If the company name is something as clear, you can add a word or two for clarity. Like “[Company Name] Music Store”.

For your bio, make it short and sweet. “Local music store in Duluth, Minnesota.” Follow it up with a link to your website or your contact information, depending on the nature of your business. If you’re a plumber, an email or phone number will be fine.

Post At The Right Times

Post to social media at the optimal times when people are most active. Follow trends and use hashtags whenever possible to increase your chances of being seen. This will make a huge difference.

This is also a good time to interact with the public. If you get a couple of friends or customers who say something positive, share it and thank them publicly. It shows a human side to your business, which customers appreciate.

Search Engine Optimization

Another tool you can try is to build up your organic traffic on your website. Now, starting a website isn’t exactly free but you can do it for a very limited amount of money. Focus on two things: user-friendliness and a blog.

Do not overlook user-friendliness. You want your page speeds to be as high as possible for your budget

You need a blog for SEO purposes, as this is the best place to add the necessary keywords and post more content that has a chance of being picked up by Google. Remember, this is a free marketing tool that’s extremely effective, so don’t neglect it. Poor marketing is one of the most common reasons for business failures.

Backlinks

The biggest hurdle you will have from the start is generating backlinks. These are the links from other websites to yours and they’re important for SEO. Without any, you will have a difficult time getting your site to the first page of Google.

However, if you’re a local business like a candle shop, you may only need one or two to show up. Ask around for anybody you know who can give your website a shoutout or try to make a deal to reciprocate in some way!

Keywords

Once you have your blog up and running, use the right keywords to start generating traffic. These will be the words and phrases that would be most likely to appear on the widest range of Google searches but they have to be relevant to your business.

Sticking with the candle shop example, you could have keywords like “best candle shops”, “best candle makers”, or “candle stores near me”.

Then you could have blog posts with your location in the title or any relevant information that anybody searching for it could find in your area. Blog articles like “What Is The Best Wax For Making Candles?”, “Best Candle Shops In Manchester, NH”, and “How To Choose The Right Candles For Your Event”.

Use these keywords throughout pages on your site, and sprinkle extras throughout each of your blog articles. Take a look at some other ways to improve a website that isn’t getting any traffic!

Make Every Interaction Count

Every single time you interact with a potential customer, make it count. This is your best way to not only make conversions but potentially bring in repeat customers. Customer service is an enormous part of brand loyalty, and the best part is that you can start doing it for free.

If you wow the customer with your knowledge, friendliness, and ability to make their process as easy as possible, you may start retaining customers early on, which is exactly what you need to stay afloat later on.

If your business sells something that customers buy frequently like coffee, this will be the difference between sinking or swimming a month or two down the road. Focus heavily on each customer and drop any work that you’re doing when they need something. It isn’t a bad idea to carry this habit throughout the life of your business.

This will also be great for word-of-mouth marketing, which is still believed to be the most effective form of marketing even in the digital age! It makes sense when you think about it. If your best friend swears by a new app, you’ll believe them over the thousandth ad you’ve seen today!

Try To Generate Revenue

If you can generate revenue with little to no cash on hand, then you’re a true business wizard and you now have a huge leg up! If you start generating revenue, use it wisely.

If your business is mowing lawns, it’s a lot easier to start generating revenue without money than it is if you’re starting a marketing firm. Either way, once you start getting any amount of money flowing in, put it right back into the business. Growth is your top priority at the beginning.

Use any marketing tools you can afford, especially free ones, and once you have a lead, give them everything you have. If this becomes more consistent, don’t stop putting money back in. For a small business even 10 years in, you should be putting 7% to 8% of revenue into marketing. For a startup, you may want to increase that by a couple of percents to be safe, and make sure you’re buying equipment to make certain challenges easier and more cost-effective as you go!

Get Help And Get Growing!

Now that you know how to start a startup with no money, the best thing you can do is to take all the help you can get, use all the resources available to you, and focus on growth! Keep looking for opportunities to save money and grow, and be sure to contact us for any help we can offer!

read in Strategy

Are you ready to get your startup going but the bank is empty? Click here for tips on how to start a startup with no money.

So you want to start a business but you don’t have any money? Well, you’re not alone. Over 627,000 businesses are started every year and plenty of them try to do it for free.

While some may say it’s destined for failure, many successful businesses were started with extremely limited resources like Microsoft or Amazon, so don’t be discouraged. There’s plenty you can do to improve your chances of success, so let’s talk about how to start a startup with no money.

How To Start A Startup With No Money: Get Funding

Okay, you may think this is a cheat, but it isn’t. Just because you don’t have money now doesn’t mean you can’t get some for starting a business. There are websites like Kickstarter where you can crowdsource your project and maybe get a little extra cash on hand.

The difference between starting a business with literally zero dollars and starting it with $1,000 from crowdfunding could easily be the difference between success and failure.

Without money, it’s hard to make a pitch, but you need to try. Pitch the vision of your company and offer as clear of a path to that vision as possible. Let potential investors know exactly what you plan to do with that money and how you’ll handle any potential revenue that comes in.

The truth is that you do need some money to start a business. It could be a very small amount but you do need some to get a website up and running, maybe put out a small ad or two, and get the equipment you need. If you’re still working at a job, you can use some of your income, but getting investors is your best bet.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are investors who fund startups at their most vulnerable points. Remember, around 90% of startups fail, so anybody who is willing to invest is taking a big risk.

One of the biggest hurdles for startups to clear up is getting investments at the start, making it a vicious cycle. “My business can’t take off because I can’t get investors, and I can’t get investors because they’re worried my business won’t take off.”

Crowdfunding is ultimately your safest bet at the very beginning, but offering investors enough equity or convertible debt is another option to generate initial funds. It will be tricky to get the first one, as you won’t have any money, but once you have the ball rolling, it will be easier.

Start Small

You don’t have much of a choice in the matter. You can’t choose to wake up and be the CEO of Amazon but you can take baby steps to get there.

Crunch The Numbers

Crunch them as tightly as possible. With limited funds, you have no room for waste. You need to be making the wisest investments possible. If you’re selling products like dog food, coffee, or televisions, you need inventory. That alone demands money.

You’ll realize quickly that you do need some money to start just about any business, so prioritize your spending and cut any costs you can, even in your personal life.

Look For Opportunities To Save

Every single dime will count at the very beginning, so use them wisely. Whether you want to use coupons, make deals with other businesses, or shop around online for better deals, look for any opportunity you can to save money. There are plenty of ways to save money, so be creative.

Use The Right Ads

If you’re going to be buying ads with your startup funds, be careful. You should only be using ads that follow the pay-per-click structure, as the clicks will likely have significantly higher conversion rates than views. Make sure your landing page and website user experience are strong to get the most out of each click.

Use All Free Tools At Your Disposal

Luckily, we live in the digital age. A century ago, you would have needed to knock on doors every day until you found a business if you couldn’t afford an ad in the newspaper. However, even with ads being available everywhere and for reasonable prices, you don’t even have to use them. Here are a few tools you can use for free at the beginning!

Social Media

Social media is a start-up’s best friend. You can use it for almost anything, and it’s free. When we talked about getting creative, here is the perfect place to do it.

You can try to post viral content until one of them sticks, and by all means, try it. All it takes is one good for you to blow up to tens of thousands of followers overnight, which is great for business.

However, you don’t even have to be that clever. You can post promotional content or interact directly with the public. Don’t underestimate the value of humor for a business on social media. Making a top comment on a viral post related to your business could be enough to get the ball rolling.

You can also post something promotional to try to build followers and even go viral. If your business is a service like a massage parlor or anything that won’t directly cost you money, you can offer a free couple’s massage to a lucky winner if they like and share your post and follow you. This is a good way to build attention. People who see it will have nothing to lose and a free couple’s massage to gain!

Optimize Your Profile

First, create a business account. From there, put up as professional and legible a profile picture as possible. That should be your company logo ideally. If you don’t have one, work on making one that’s as simple and easy to read as you can get it. It can always be changed later on, but having something to start doesn’t hurt.

Your profile name should just be the name of your company. If the company name is something as clear, you can add a word or two for clarity. Like “[Company Name] Music Store”.

For your bio, make it short and sweet. “Local music store in Duluth, Minnesota.” Follow it up with a link to your website or your contact information, depending on the nature of your business. If you’re a plumber, an email or phone number will be fine.

Post At The Right Times

Post to social media at the optimal times when people are most active. Follow trends and use hashtags whenever possible to increase your chances of being seen. This will make a huge difference.

This is also a good time to interact with the public. If you get a couple of friends or customers who say something positive, share it and thank them publicly. It shows a human side to your business, which customers appreciate.

Search Engine Optimization

Another tool you can try is to build up your organic traffic on your website. Now, starting a website isn’t exactly free but you can do it for a very limited amount of money. Focus on two things: user-friendliness and a blog.

Do not overlook user-friendliness. You want your page speeds to be as high as possible for your budget

You need a blog for SEO purposes, as this is the best place to add the necessary keywords and post more content that has a chance of being picked up by Google. Remember, this is a free marketing tool that’s extremely effective, so don’t neglect it. Poor marketing is one of the most common reasons for business failures.

Backlinks

The biggest hurdle you will have from the start is generating backlinks. These are the links from other websites to yours and they’re important for SEO. Without any, you will have a difficult time getting your site to the first page of Google.

However, if you’re a local business like a candle shop, you may only need one or two to show up. Ask around for anybody you know who can give your website a shoutout or try to make a deal to reciprocate in some way!

Keywords

Once you have your blog up and running, use the right keywords to start generating traffic. These will be the words and phrases that would be most likely to appear on the widest range of Google searches but they have to be relevant to your business.

Sticking with the candle shop example, you could have keywords like “best candle shops”, “best candle makers”, or “candle stores near me”.

Then you could have blog posts with your location in the title or any relevant information that anybody searching for it could find in your area. Blog articles like “What Is The Best Wax For Making Candles?”, “Best Candle Shops In Manchester, NH”, and “How To Choose The Right Candles For Your Event”.

Use these keywords throughout pages on your site, and sprinkle extras throughout each of your blog articles. Take a look at some other ways to improve a website that isn’t getting any traffic!

Make Every Interaction Count

Every single time you interact with a potential customer, make it count. This is your best way to not only make conversions but potentially bring in repeat customers. Customer service is an enormous part of brand loyalty, and the best part is that you can start doing it for free.

If you wow the customer with your knowledge, friendliness, and ability to make their process as easy as possible, you may start retaining customers early on, which is exactly what you need to stay afloat later on.

If your business sells something that customers buy frequently like coffee, this will be the difference between sinking or swimming a month or two down the road. Focus heavily on each customer and drop any work that you’re doing when they need something. It isn’t a bad idea to carry this habit throughout the life of your business.

This will also be great for word-of-mouth marketing, which is still believed to be the most effective form of marketing even in the digital age! It makes sense when you think about it. If your best friend swears by a new app, you’ll believe them over the thousandth ad you’ve seen today!

Try To Generate Revenue

If you can generate revenue with little to no cash on hand, then you’re a true business wizard and you now have a huge leg up! If you start generating revenue, use it wisely.

If your business is mowing lawns, it’s a lot easier to start generating revenue without money than it is if you’re starting a marketing firm. Either way, once you start getting any amount of money flowing in, put it right back into the business. Growth is your top priority at the beginning.

Use any marketing tools you can afford, especially free ones, and once you have a lead, give them everything you have. If this becomes more consistent, don’t stop putting money back in. For a small business even 10 years in, you should be putting 7% to 8% of revenue into marketing. For a startup, you may want to increase that by a couple of percents to be safe, and make sure you’re buying equipment to make certain challenges easier and more cost-effective as you go!

Get Help And Get Growing!

Now that you know how to start a startup with no money, the best thing you can do is to take all the help you can get, use all the resources available to you, and focus on growth! Keep looking for opportunities to save money and grow, and be sure to contact us for any help we can offer!

Credits

Abdulaziz Aldhubaib

My expertise in digital transformation and agile processes helps people overcome technological barriers.

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