How to start a business with little to no money

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Entrepreneurship is a pretty trendy thing these days, but the reality is that most people don’t have the money to actually launch into business for themselves. A recent story by QUARTZ revealed that many successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common — access to money. No kidding…So, what do you do when you don’t have the advantage of a strong financial backing? Here are some tips on starting a business with little to no money:

Start a service-oriented business

Use the skills you have to build a business around what you know in order to create cash flow. Stay away from a product-based business as this usually requires some capital. Once you start to generate some income from offering your services you can either stick with your business model and expand accordingly or invest into an idea that would require some start-up funds. Try Fiverr or Upwork to advertise your services.

Use an incubator

If you’re in a big city, chances are there are business incubators available. If you have a solid business plan approach an incubator that would be suitable for the industry your business falls under. If successful, incubators offer funding, office spaces and other services to help get your business off the ground. Also, being a part of an incubator adds some legitimacy to your business and increases the chances of attracting partners or investors. Try The Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation and TBDC’s Business Incubation Program


If you’re hesitant to reach out to your friends and family for money, who can blame you. Instead, try crowdfunding. There are many small companies that have gone on to do great things funded primarily by crowd sourcing. Make sure to spend time doing as much research as possible to position yourself in the most effective way when launching a campaign. Try Gofundme, Kickstarter


If you find yourself without even the basics to start a business – like without a computer or internet. Trade your services like mowing someone’s lawn for a week for their old computer. With the growing popularity of Bunz Trading Zone you can also trade/resell something you are no longer using in order to acquire a few basics to start your business. Try Bunz.

Avoid unnecessary expenses

If you’re working with less than ideal circumstances, then you need to make the most out of what you have and the rest can come later. Forget the office space, work from home as long as possible, forget the fancy branding — if you don’t have the budget for it forget it. Keep things simple and keep costs to a minimum. Ask yourself: Do I really need this for my business to work? Is it a must have or a nice to have? These decisions can make or break your business in the early stages. Try The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau for great start-up inspiration.

Understand your business

One way a lot of businesses can lose money in the beginning is by tweaking the business model or even making major overhauls on service offerings. When you’re trying to start a business by the skin of your teeth then your literally can’t afford to make mistakes that could have been avoided if you had just taken pre-emptive measures. Although you might be eager to start making money, take some time to research every possible aspect of your business and hurdles that you might be faced with. Having a clear understanding of your business and being as prepared as possible for common pitfalls will be key to your success. Try Foundr for great advice for entrepreneurs.


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