Do you feel tempted to quit traditional employment that has left you drained and feeling empty? Do you think of starting your own business but you have little or no money?
Though we realize that this is not an easy thing to do, the whole process of starting a new business can be life-changing and rewarding. Not only financially, but mentally too, since as a business owner, you will learn various skills traditional employment usually never allows for.
To top it all, you will be the boss. So let’s go!
Steps to start a business with little or no money
In this article, our experts at IdeaBuddy put their heads together, to come up with the seven steps you should follow if you want to start a business of your dreams with little or no money.
- Identify your passion skills
- Flesh out your idea
- Research your market
- Analyze your competition
- Calculate your startup costs
- Make a business plan
- Set up your business
- Start a business with little or no money
Get a pen, paper, and a warm cup of coffee ready; you’re about to start a business from scratch with only $100!
Let’s get started.
STEP 1 – Identify your passion skills
Most successful startups are created from the founders’ own unique interests and passions. Take Lynda Weinman (a self-taught computer wizard), who in the 1990s created training films for her website design students since she found there were none available at that time. She didn’t need much financial startup capital (less than $100), investing mostly her time to create videos. In 2015, her company Lynda.com was acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion US dollars.
Oooh, yah! We certainly think so.
To set yourself up for success, determine what the skills are that you could earn from, and what you are genuinely passionate about. At IdeaBuddy, we call these passion skills!
Questions To Ask & Answer:
- “What are my passion skills?”
- “Can I take one or all of my passion skills and earn money from it?”
- “If I start a business based on my skills or passions, would this motivate me to get up every morning and do it for the next 10-years or more?”
- “If I don’t have any particular passion skills, what other ideas could I start a business with?
- “Could I start my business without investing more than $100?”
Time: Up to you!
How-To: Take a sheet of paper and note down the answers to the above questions.
Just had an “Aha!” moment?
Did an excellent business idea pop into mind seemingly out of nowhere while answering the questions in Step 1?
You’re on the right track. Keep going!
STEP 2 – Flesh out your idea
Ideas have the power to change our lives and help us create a more meaningful existence if the idea is something we are truly passionate about. Now that you have determined what you are passionate about, or established that you have a skill that you can start a business with little or no money, it’s time to put your ideas on paper and determine how you can earn from them.
Questions To Ask & Answer:
- “Which products or services can I create from my skills or passions?” (List at least one product on your paper or Idea Plan board.)
- “How can I earn from my skill(s)/products/services?” (What is it that I can do with my skill that would earn me income without me investing more than $100 to get started?)
- “Where can I sell my skill(s) with little or no upfront money?” (Determine the platforms for selling your products, services/skills.)
Time: 1-2 Hours
How-Do: Note down your business idea(s) on a piece of paper, or sign-in to your free IdeaBuddy account and use our Idea Plan feature to create a visual overview of your ideas and business concept.
STEP 3 – Research your market
Skills determined? – Check.
Ideas jotted down? – Done!
Fabulous! Time to get to the nitty-gritty of market analysis find out if you have a product-market fit. This is the point where you will know if your idea is worth pursuing or if you would need to alter or improve upon it.
When it comes to your target market, ask yourself these questions:
- “Does anyone need my skills, products, or services?”
- “Who are my target customers?”
- “Where are they located?”
- “How old are they?”
- “Where do they hang out?”
- “Which promotional activity would be best to reach my target customers?”
- “Is there a market for my specific skills, products, and services?”
- “How big is the market that I am planning to cover?”
- “Is there a growing need for my skills, products, or services?”
Cost: $0 – $10 depending on if a market analysis report needed
Time: 1-8 Hours depending on research involved
How-Do: Provide answers to your questions on a sheet of paper, or sign-in to your free IdeaBuddy account and use our Business Guide feature to add the info about your market.
STEP 4 – Analyze your competition
Who are your competitors?
What is unique about them, and how do they differentiate themselves in your chosen market?
What can you do that will set you apart from the rest?
These are all questions you can clarify if your business idea is within a market or niche with a lot of competitors. By doing some research and finding out what leading players in your market is doing, you will also find some new and inspiring ideas.
Time: 1-8 Hours depending on research involved
How-Do: Determine the top 5 competitors in your market. Have a look at their websites, the products and services they offer, and how they communicate. You can also use the IdeaBuddy Business Guide feature for this.
STEP 5 – Calculate your startup costs
Excellent work, you got this far already. Next up, we’ll be showing you how to determine any upfront costs you might need to get started in your business. We’ll use Amanda and Tom to illustrate two options, but the possibilities are endless to start a business with little or no money today.
Cost: $0 – $100
Time: 10 min– 1-Hour
How-Do: Create a list of all the things or goods you might need to start your business, including what you already have or the items that won’t cost anything. You can also use IdeaBuddy Business Guide.
STEP 6 – Make a business plan (optional)
Is your idea a winner? Fantastic! Congratulations are in order. You are now ready for the next step to write your business plan. Don’t worry; you don’t need to be a writer!
For a small or solo business, writing a business plan is optional, but it can come in handy in the future.
Simply use your IdeaBuddy account and let us create your internal business plan from the info you already recorded about your business.
Why a business plan?
A business plan is important if your business idea is going to be presented to potential investors or business partners. It is also used internally in your business, even if you are a solo entrepreneur, to formulate the concept and writing that will later go on your website and marketing materials.
Our blog post, Is Writing a Business Plan Really a Waste of Time? , can help you get started.
Time: <10 Min
How-Do: Sign-in to your IdeaBuddy account and complete all the steps in the Business Guide to get your business plan (Journal)
STEP 7 – Set up your business
It’s time to set up your business and start earning money!
Though every business is different, there are several steps needed before you can start selling your goods or services. To guide you along, we’ll follow Amanda and Tom as they proceed to set up their businesses.
Time: It depends on your type of business.
How-Do: Make a list of what you need to do to get your business operational.
Start your business with little or no money
In this guide, we tried to explain how you can start a new business with little or no money at all. We wish you all the best and all the success you desire. If you would like more information on starting a business, check out our other awesome free blogs and content, or send us an email for direct inquiries.