When starting a business, you may think that you must have funding and a large bank account balance. While it is helpful to have proper funding, it is not always the case. Using smart planning and low overhead options, your business can get off the ground without additional funding or actual employees.
Freelancers or Independent Contractors
Rather than hiring hourly or salaried employees, consider hiring only freelancers and independent contractors. These individuals work per project or for a contracted period of time, but are not considered to be traditional employees. Freelancers and independent contractors file their own self-employment taxes, and will only be furnished with a 1099 form for tax purposes as a statement of wages earned.
Consider starting off as a virtual business offering a specific service or product. You can setup a website, with a shopping cart, for free. While some functions may not be available, as a starting point, a free website can be enough to get your business off the ground.
As you maintain virtual status, also consider a virtual office. Virtual office space is available to rent for short periods of time for meetings, training and specific project completion. This is a central location where contractors and freelancers can gather when working as a team is required. A virtual office provides a physical location with a phone number for contact and mail delivery purposes.
Use Free Advertising Opportunities
Free advertising opportunities are everywhere. Social media networks are ideal for advertising and cost nothing more than your existing Internet connection, a smartphone and your time. Invite friends and family to connect with your business and help spread the word. Create hashtags to identify your business and post with the hashtags for better exposure.
Local newspapers and Craigslist are also opportunities for free and/or low-cost advertising. If you opt to use Craigslist, post in the services section in 3 different cities per day for additional exposure.
To ensure that you have a little bit of emergency cash available, either to fund the business or your home, sell off possessions that sit and collect dust. Items that are not necessary can be liquidated quickly to get cash when your business needs it. Things can be replaced if you really do miss them after selling them.
Start with One Product or Service
Starting slow is a good way to ensure that your new business is not spending too much money right from the start. Adding an additional service, such as a courier/delivery service in the local area can help generate more business quicker. Couriers can be freelancers and should be used on a per job basis.
Perfect your single product or service before expanding. The better your single product or service is, the more demand there will be for it. It is an opportunity to get a feel for your local market and this will help you decide whether or not you should expand to a national or global service. It is best, however, to gain the support of the local community before expanding to national and global services.
Offer Consultation Services
One way that your business can make money without spending money is to offer consultation services. All this takes is your time and the will to meet with clients after normal business hours and on weekends. Consultation services show potential clients and vendors that you are an expert in the industry and that you are an authority figure. This step can help fund your business and develop long-lasting professional relationships that may lead to the longevity and success of your small business.
The key to being successful when starting a business without employees or money is meeting small goals and having determination. Keep your day job to ensure that you have the necessary funds to maintain your household. You don’t absolutely have to take out a loan to start a business.
When your business makes money, reinvest it right back into the business to prevent using funds from your personal money for the business. Make sure that there is a real need for your product or service and market in a way that makes people understand why they need what your business offers and how it will add convenience to their personal life or business.