It is estimated that approximately 550,000 people become entrepreneurs every month. It’s no wonder considering that around 62 percent of Americans report that they want to own their own business and be their own boss. Although 51 percent of people agree that starting a business is the best way to learn about entrepreneurship, there are still many who want to start their own business who hold back because of fears and concerns about making the switch from employee to entrepreneur.
Although there are a lot of benefits to business ownership, such as creative control and the ability to make executive decisions, there can be some big setbacks as well. For example, business ownership often requires a lot of work hours--even when you’re off the clock. It can also sometimes require that you do a lot of the work on your own if you don’t have the capacity or funds to hire employees. One of the biggest problems that entrepreneurs face, though, is having enough money to start their business in the first place, then having enough money to keep it running.
It seems nearly impossible to start and run a business if you don’t have any money at all, but it can also be a big deterrent for would-be entrepreneurs if they need hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their company going. Luckily, there are ways that you can start a business, even without having hundreds of thousands of dollars available. Below are some tips that can help you start a business and become your own boss, even if you don’t have thousands of dollars in cash-on-hand.
1. Start Online
Some businesses can’t be made into online businesses. For example, you may be able to manage and run a construction company online, but you can’t do any of the construction work on the Internet. Unless you’re planning to specifically start a business that can’t be done online, then starting your company exclusively online is a great way to get going with only a little cash. Online businesses generally have less overhead since you don’t need to purchase an office building, won’t need to pay all of the overhead, and may not even need inventory.
If you don’t have any business ideas already, then considering a dropshipping business, an ecommerce store for crafts that you make, or another type of online business that requires very little to get started is a great way to help yourself become an entrepreneur without having to put up a ton of cash.
2. Choose the Right Business Type
The type of business you start can influence how much money you’ll need to get started. As mentioned, a dropshipping business or an ecommerce store may be a great option since you can generally store inventory in your home or may not need to store inventory at all and will need to cover the costs of a website and marketing. Other types of businesses can be more costly, though. For example, if you want to start a bakery that operates online and ships goods to clients, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the ingredients you need, proper licensing, fully-functioning equipment, shipping containers, and shipping labels to accept and fulfill orders.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t start an online bakery if that’s what you’ve always dreamed of. You’ll need to consider the cost of starting a bakery versus another type of business if you’re pressed for cash and don’t have the funds to be able to cover the expenses at the moment.
3. Use Social Media Like Your Life Depends On It
Social media is an extremely valuable business tool, especially when you’re strapped for cash. Because profiles are free, there’s no reason you shouldn’t start a social media profile for your business today if you haven’t already. Then, you should be posting regularly, interacting with customers, and using it as a customer service channel. There are tools out there that you can be using too to give yourself an extra boost.
As an example, there are tools that help you automatically get real followers, comments, and likes, growing your audience and expanding your brand recognition. You can also use social media as an advertising medium since you can target your ads and reach customers for a better price than other advertising mediums might offer.
As mentioned, when you own your own company, there may be a lot of things that you have to do yourself. Even if you don’t have a degree in accounting or experience in customer service, when you’re an entrepreneur you may find that you have to act as CEO, accountant, and customer service lead all on your own. It can be scary and overwhelming at times, but if you feel like you can manage it, then it’s also a great way to save yourself money and enable yourself to get started and grow even if you don’t have lots of cash.
The cost of hiring employees can be high; although it may be worth it down the road, when you’re just getting started, it may not be a possibility for you to spend that money and you may need to DIY.
5. Take Advantage of Free Publicity
Not all publicity is good publicity, but there are plenty of ways to get positive feedback that is free that you should be taking advantage of. When you start a business, you may not have enough cash to sponsor a local baseball team or pay for the rebuild of an iconic landmark, but you’ll likely have enough to host an event like a free movie night that will attract the public and boost your brand. Forming partnerships with influencers, agreeing to interviews, and participating in charity events, (even if not monetarily), can all help you expand your reach and build up recognition of your brand without requiring you spend a ton of money. In turn, that brand recognition can help you build your business and grow it to where you will have the cash to support and participate in the causes that you want to.
If you want to start your own business, then you should! It can be scary and may seem impossible, especially if you don’t have the cash, but the fact of the matter is that not all businesses require tons of cash to start. By focusing on online businesses, taking advantage of free resources, and sticking with it, you can start your own business with what cash you have and grow it into the thriving enterprise you dream it will someday become.
What type of business would you ideally like to start?