How to Start a Business With No Money
If you want to start a business with little or no money, creativity and a solid business plan are both valuable assets. In the sections that follow, FindLaw explains the importance of having a good business plan to help attract investment and offers some non-traditional methods for financing a new small business.
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Start With a Business Plan
No matter the route you choose as a business owner, you will need a business plan to guide you through each step of starting and running your business. A detailed business plan can also help persuade investors to contribute capital.
Here are some items to consider when putting together your business plan:
- How would you describe your business? What are you selling? If you are offering a service, explain it.
- Do you plan on hiring employees? If so, how many employees and what will their salaries be?
- Who are the people and/or businesses that make up your market?
- How long do you anticipate it will take for your business to turn a profit?
These are ideas that will get you thinking. You can find a business plan template and more suggestions for your business plan here.
As you are creating your business plan, along with the suggestions above, you may want to think about the types of people that you want to present your business plan to and possible sources of funding if you can't find outside investors.
Funding Your Startup
You should also think about how you will finance your business if you don't have enough money to launch it on your own. Options include finding partners with money, obtaining a business loan or line of credit, and finding someone willing to invest in return for a piece of the business.
Bringing in Partners with Money
If you are a person with a business idea, but have limited access to capital, you may want to consider finding a partner or partners who can supply the funds. There are investors that want to find small companies with the potential to become successful businesses, and are willing to put the money behind the idea in return for an ownership stake.
Angel investors are people who want to invest in small businesses that do not have corporate backing. To find angel investors you can increase your online presence and work your social networks. If you advertise your business and yourself well, you may inspire an angel investor to donate individually, through a group, or through a network. Keep in mind angel investors will want a say in business decisions and a share in the profits of the business.
A venture capitalist is a private investor who finds a business with the potential to turn a profit in the future and invests in the company in exchange for an equity share. An equity share gives the holder of the share the right to vote, share profits, and claim company assets.
Small Business Loans
You can apply for a small business loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA works with a potentially profitable business and gives the business owners increased access to capital. Availability and terms of SBA loans vary by state.
Some banks offer small business loans, but many are reluctant to lend money to startups with few assets unless you offer your house or other personal assets as collateral.
Lines of Credit
Another option for funding, albeit the riskiest, is getting a line of credit for your business from a bank or other financial institution. You can learn about business credit cards and business FICO scores here.
You may want to consider getting a line of credit to finance your new business if you think that your business will take off immediately. However, missed payments (even a single missed payment) can result in large financial penalties.
Low Costs Business Startup Ideas
One great thing about the internet age is that regular people with awesome business ideas can lower the average costs of starting a business from scratch. You may think the only way to fund a new business is to sit down at your bank and apply for a small business loan. While small business loans are a resource to begin pursuing your business, there are other creative ways to get a business off the ground with limited capital.
Try a Crowdfunding Platform
Much like the traditional strategy of creating a business plan to present to potential investors and loan officers, the same idea is applied to the general public by starting a crowdfunding campaign. Try using a crowdfunding platform to present your idea to the public and persuade everyday people who believe in your vision to become investors in your business.
If you have an idea for a new product or service that people are looking for, online crowdfunding platforms are great places to present your ideas and try to obtain the funds you need to get your business started. Use these platforms to describe your product or service, share the startup costs, and state your business goals. Using crowdfunding platforms gives you access to a large pool of potential investors in your personal network on one platform.
Throw a Business Shower
Having a business shower enlists your friends, family, and potential business partners to become business investors. Here, your business ideas can shine, and you can explain your business goals clearly to your audience.
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You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.