Perhaps one of the most popular goals a lot of us have is eventually starting our own company. However, one of the biggest things holding us back is the one thing a business is supposed to bring in: money.
While a lot of us look at owning a business as an expensive goal, it doesn’t always have to be. In fact, learning how to do it with less or no money will teach you the most in the long-run, setting you up for many years of success. That’s why I’m giving you a few helpful tips as to how to get started. Check them out below:
Have An Idea That Sells Itself
If you ask any entrepreneur their secret to starting a business, it’s that they have an idea that people can gravitate towards. This relies on a few things: first, you need to solve a problem. Second, as you’re going to be dedicating a lot of time to this, it needs to be an idea that you’re passionate about. And finally, it has to be something that can make money.
In brainstorming your business idea, I’d recommend starting from asking yourself what’s something you wish existed and why. Ask yourself what’s important about this, and why you would honestly take the chance of buying it. The process of forming your idea and plan is going to require a lot of hard self-talks and reflection, but the benefit will provide you with something you genuinely want to sink your teeth into.
Seek Valuable Feedback
Once your idea is established, it’s time to start shopping this thing around. And while you might think that the people you may know have your best interests at heart, remember that not all of them are going to be experts in what you’re trying to do. Additionally, people tend to try to find the problems in something that otherwise might be irrelevant, which is why your best solution would be to try to acquire a mentor.
Start attending some networking events or reaching out to business owners that you admire in town. There are also tons of resources for new business owners, including specific mentorship programs and groups. Focus in on finding someone you feel as though you can learn and grow from, as they’ll be a huge help to your early wins.
Reassess Your Finances
Although it’s not going to be fun, in order to start a business, you’re going to have to dump some cash in. Whether it be for product development, licensing, or marketing, these services don’t come cheap, and is something you should start planning for now.
Create a list of what items are going to be necessary for launch, including any incidentals that might arise. Then, starting digging through ways, you might be able to afford this. For example, if you’re somewhat cash-strapped but feel comfortable loaning some money on credit, then conducting a balance transfer with your current debts could leave you with some breathing room regarding interest fees. All-in-all, do your best at accounting for as much as you can and try to limit spending until you’ve got a product developed.
Once A Product Is Developed, Look For Funding
After you’ve developed your plan and product, now’s a good time to start reaching out to investors. If this is a new process for you, then be prepared for some trial and error, as getting your pitch down is a practice that doesn’t come easily to anyone. However, once you land a single investor, then acquiring others will become much more comfortable.
First off, try to get an accurate picture of how much your total company is worth, as well as how much runway/investment you’re going to need. For example, if it’s been determined that your company is worth $1 million if sold today, then aiming for a $250,000 investment to get off the ground at a 25% rate would be what you’re trying to raise. In coming up with this equation, account for all the elements of your business and how long each is going to take to develop (called runway, or the rate you’re burning cash).
Even if this sounds like a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things, it’s much less than you might imagine. According to the Angel Capital Association, angel funding brought in $24 billion for new entrepreneurs. And if you can get a tiny chunk of that, then you’re off to the races.
Get People To Become Evangelists
Finally, once you’re ready to start marketing, it’s imperative you get people to become evangelists for your brand. As noted in a survey by Nielsen, 84% of participants reported that the recommendation of their friends or family was regarded as the top trusted form of advertising. And if you’re business is looking to take off on little money, then spreading good word of mouth is crucial.
Some popular strategies to kick this off is running a social campaign or giveaway, as well as a referral program. Depending on your product, brainstorm some ways you can get your friends and family to start talking about you, as this will be the best way to introduce yourself far and wide.
What are some strategies you’ve used to start a business on a budget? Comment with your insights below!