Follow these 11 steps to start a small business with no money.
From the initial startup process, including the business idea, business planning, to the funding stage!
2. Deciding on a great small business idea
3. Testing your small business
4. Developing the ultimate business plan
5. Registering your small business
6. Setting up finances, accounting and tax
7. Create brand and identity for your business
8. Getting all of the business essentials ready
9. Finding funding for your startup business
10. Creating a sales and marketing strategy
11. Launching your small business
11 steps to start a business with no money – cliff notes
It is always recommend to spent the most time on the topic that is the toughest for you to understand – going into a new small business idea, you should always be as educated as possible, to ensure you don’t take any wrong turns. Take the time to read these startup with no money cliff notes on the below guide, but be sure to tune in below for a more detailed step by step as well.
If you are just getting into business because you think it will be easier than working for somebody – think again!
Step 2: Deciding on a great small business idea
When deciding on a business idea, you should definitely have the knowledge of the field you want to go in, have some sort of experience and have the interest.
Step 3: Testing your small business
Step 4: Developing the ultimate business plan
Step 5: Registering your small business
There are many different business types, so definitely take some time to determine the best option for you – financially and professionally speaking.
Step 6: Setting up finances, accounting and tax
Step 7: Create brand and identity for your business
Step 8: Getting all of the business essentials ready
Step 9: Finding funding for your startup business
Find funding using the Funding Database.
Step 10: Creating a sales and marketing strategy
Step 11: Launching your small business
Full Guide: 11 steps to start a business with no money
Figuring out if you are ready to be an entrepreneur before you start.
Is entrepreneurship right for you?
When you want to start a business, you have to first make sure that entrepreneurship is right for you.
It may not be!
There are a few things that sets entrepreneurs apart from those that simply don’t have it.
This includes ambition, time dedication and in most cases startup money, or at the very least, ability to take a risk.
If you are getting into “business”, to be your own boss and to not have to work as hard, or have somebody to report to – it’s exciting, yes. BUT, this is far from the reality, as your boss soon becomes your own bills that you have to cover each month. You can always get away with telling your boss, sorry, let me make it up; but as a business owner, your rent, your expenses, your staff..they can’t wait.
The time dedication that is required by a business owner is often scary on it’s own – at least within the early on stages.
As a business owner, you will be working as the marketing person, the accountant, the financial expert, the sales person, inventory manager, the janitor and more! That’s many hat’s you will be airing, and the take home pay, if any, may be less than minimum wage at certain times.
That is typically the “startup life” phase. While it’s not always the case and many businesses are successful right from the start, trying to start a business with no money initially, does have a few challenges.
If you have the time to invest, you may also need a bit of money to simplify the process. While it’s not always the case, the more money you have to invest, the better – even if just a few hundred pounds. Again, with no money, a startup process is possible, but does get down to the very fine detail of what you can do and what you can’t do on your own.
The final point, taking risk!
If you have the ability to take on some risk, you may have what it takes.
Entrepreneurs generally can take on more risk than a normal person – you have to be the judge of that based on your own situation.
Do you have a job? Savings? Family/kids…etc
All of these play an important role in determining your risk tolerance.
Not to say that entrepreneurs are risk takers but it does help with those split moment decisions.
Deciding on a great small business idea
Sometimes, a business idea will just come to you, and you run with it.
Other times, you have to dig deep to determine what would work for you and the market space you are in.
Testing your small business
Create a website with your products and services and launch it in paid advertising platforms such as Google Ads, or social media ads such as on Facebook or Instagram.
- Speaking to friends and family
- Using social media polls
- In-person data collection
- Trying the same, on a smaller, non-costly scale.
With this process, what you are trying to figure out by testing includes:
- Show if there is interest in what you want to do.
- See if people are willing to pay for it.
- Collect any feedback that may be helpful to improving your business.
This type of information is hard to come by, and is best when personalized to your specific situation and your location.
While you don’t have to test the business idea, you should!
Developing the ultimate business planHaving a business plan is one of the most critical steps to starting a small business with no money.
While you can run a business without a business plan, to ensure your success, you should create one!
A business plan, if properly done will be your road map to success, a plan that will tell you what to do and what not to do. And in most cases, if you follow the plan, you should succeed.
If you decide to hire a professional to write your business plan, be prepared to spend a lot of money. BUT, if you have the time and can follow direction, using tools like the Business Plan Builder Tool, will help you create a business plan, step by step – with expert guidance!
Depending on if you will be looking for funding from the banks, private investors or the UK government, your business plan may require specific content – so be sure to review step # 9 as well.
The best business plans will outline what your business model is, who your customers are, will explain your growth strategy, show your marketing plan, discuss your funding needs if that’s a factor – and show off your financial projections!
A reader of the plan should fully understand your business and what your plan is to make it a success by the time they are done reading.
Registering your small business
Registering your business in the UK is one of the ways to turn your small business idea into a legitimate, ready to trade business.
There are many different types of business registrations that you can take advantage of, each with a unique set of pros and cons for each. It is always best to do additional research based on your business model, your financial situation, tax plan and more – to determine the best type of registration to apply for.
You may go opt to register as a sole trader, form a partnership or to register as a limited liability company. Alternatively you can also opt go with a community interest company, or charity or a not for profit type of business.
Setting up finances, accounting and tax
Much like the business registration steps, turning your business legitimate by registering, you will also have to plan for your finances as well.
While it may be easy to say “but I have no money to startup”, the financial, accounting and tax process is a bit of a complicated process.
From the simple steps such as creating a bank account, working with an accountant to the more complicated account filings and tracking all of the money coming in and going out, the process can get a bit complicated if not done right.
The UK government provides a lot of funding support for small business owners in the form of tax breaks and tax credits, so keeping your financial in order and organized can benefit you when it’s time to apply for these tax funding options.
Create brand and identity for your business
As you approach the launch of your small business and you’ve completed some of the important steps to this point, the next step is to create your business identity.
Most people start with this step right after picking the business idea – and while it’s not a bad way to start, it’s a bit backwards.
This is the fun part, creating a brand – building your logo, your website..etc
As you build your identity, keep in mind that your business will most likely also have web presence – so anything you do, prepare for the web.
Your website is important, so it should be set up in a way that it is friendly, that it converts to the goal that you have in mind, and that it looks good!
Keep in mind any print materials, any ads, any social media..etc
Getting all of the business essentials readyAs you get into your small business, you will have the essentials that you need to make it all work.
These are the tools, the equipment, supplies and other things that help you with your business.
While the essentials range from business to business, this is the one where you have to have some money to spend.
As you prepare to run your business, some of the costs you will have to consider will include:
· The needed equipment
· Business licensing and registration
· Office Space
· Inventory and supplies
· Marketing costs
· Website (hosting, registration)
· Office furniture and supplies
· Professional Consultants
· Travel Costs
· Shipping costs
They may not all apply to your case, but something worth noting and perhaps worth looking at finding funding for your startup business to cover the much needed expenses.
Finding funding for your startup businessIf you plan to start a business with no money, many of the essential steps such as the above “startup costs” may be an issue.
When you run a business, everything costs money. From your phone bill, to internet, to the pen and paper you use to write notes down…and without any money, you will have a tough time.
While it is possible to run your small business with no money during the startup phase, finding funding for your startup business is a possibility.
Having extra funding can boost your startup process.
As a startup, you may be able to find funds from your family, friends, your bank, or you can find a private investor or access government funding!
One of the top sources for funding for a small business would the British government.
The government has various funding programmes that come in the form of government grants, government loans, tax breaks/credits..etc
These funds are there to help you with a variety of things from purchasing the needed tools, equipment, paying for marketing, covering your wages and hiring costs and much more.
The Funding Database here offers you access to the full listings of each and every programme offered by he UK government.
Take a minute now, before you move on with your small business startup and find available funding for your business.
Creating a sales and marketing strategy
When you have everything you need set up for your business, it’s time to get ready to launch.
Before you launch, you should have a clear path to promoting your business, in order to get the attention of the customers you are targeting.
While the marketing is part of your business plan, now is the time to make it all work and prepare it all for launch.
What type of promotions will you do?
Think about your social media, your website, preparing paid advertising campaigns if you can..etc
And once you start getting the traffic/interest, how do you convert?
What is your sales strategy that will take the prospect/client and turn them into a paying customer?
When you are ready and comfortable to answer those questions, you are ready for the last step – the launch of your small business.
Launching your small business
The final step of the 11 step process to start a business with no money, the launch of your small business.
Hopefully by now you are confident with your small business idea, have built a solid business plan, found some funding and are ready for success.
When you launch your business – you may expect everything to go as planned, however in rare cases does it go exactly as planned.
Entrepreneurship and running your own business is pretty much unpredictable, and as you launch, you may see quite a lot change from the original plan.
This is normal – so don’t get discouraged.
Follow your business plan, your marketing and sales strategy and adjust.
In most cases, business plans and the process of operating a small business, especially with no money, does change as you launch.