How to start a business without capital

So you want to start a business for yourself but you do not really have enough capital to get started. What can you do?

This is one of the questions i get to come across most of the time.

A lot of young entrepreneurs are willing to take a step forward and build businesses from their ideas but unfortunately, so many times, those dreams do not ever come to pass. 

One of the reasons behind this failure is usually attributed to the lack of funds. Not only is it increasingly difficult for micro and small businesses to access funding, so many promising ideas have been buried based on this excuse. But what can we do?

One of the first steps to building a business without capital lies in shifting the way you think about funding for your business.

You can still make funds available for your business by reducing your expenses for the business or building your business on alternative platforms that will demand almost zero capital investment from you.

Before we proceed, let me give you a little background from my personal story…

Some years back, i decided to engage on extensive learning and gathering tech related skills.

With time, considering the enormous knowledge and skills i’d gathered, i decided it was time I use my knowledge to help Nigerian and African businesses get their businesses online.

Considering my financial status and age at that time, i was of the opinion that, if I ever discuss this idea with anyone, people will just laugh it off. So I decided to keep quiet about it.

To get started with my idea, I needed roughly NGN 200-250,000, to rent and setup a small office.

One of the reasons behind my eagerness to get an office space was because i wanted to avoid the question “where is your office? ” Because in this part of the world then, as a small business, people only get to trust you mostly when you have an identifiable office.

Unfortunately for me, I was merely in my sophomore year at that time, trying to push both academics and my side hustle. So there was no where i could raise such money. 

As at then, I already had a blog that was running online. So after looking for alternative source of funding without success, I got to realize that I could set up a virtual office with my website so i decided to start with that.

In no time, i got the website set up and running with less than 5 percent of the amount i could have used in renting an office space.

5 years later; from the virtual office, i have been able to help clients set up businesses that has generated 7 figures in revenue, sit on the board of enterprises, created contents that have been read by millions of people across the world.

Initially, there were challenges of showing potential clients our authenticity as a business without a physical office but ever since i decided to leverage some of the resources i’m going to share with you today, the rest has been history. 

So that’s my little story about how my website helped me start out my dream at less than 90 percent of what I normally would have used.

Actually, I have seen even bigger businesses today who started up their businesses at a fraction of the capital they could have really used to get started, if they were to rent a basic office.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that owning an offline office for your business is a bad thing to do. Rather, as an entrepreneur without enough capital, going without a physical office can help you refocus your money in other areas.

Now, below are the 7 ways you can start a business without adequate Capital…

Start without a Physical office

With the onset of a pandemic like the Covid-19, a lot of people around the world have been forced to see the importance of a virtual office.

Now, it is not like this is an adequate reason for you to consider starting your business without a physical office but the thing, is analysts believe that, the virtual office is going to be a big part of the new normal and the post Covid-19 economy.

So unlike years back, where entrepreneurs without a physical office were being looked down upon in some countries, with this new reality, the world will have no choice than to embrace the virtual office.

Running an online based business will gain widespread acceptance across the world and looking down on businesses with a virtual office will be largely reduced.

With such projections, you could set yourself and your business at the forefront of this new reality.

There are a handful of businesses you can start without the need for an offline office like; Freelancing, Blogging, Outsourcing, Programming, Virtual assistant services, eCommerce, Online retail etc.

Beyond this, there are also a lot of traditional offline businesses you can start with a virtual office including businesses like; Plumbing, Electrical works, Home Cleaning Services, Food retails etc.

Not only will this get your new business more visibility, it will cut your expenses on renting or leasing an office space from the start.

Create engagement via Social Media

One thing that’s critical to success as a small business is constant communication with your clients

It doesn’t only give you feedbacks on how to serve them better, it helps you build lasting relationships with your clients and ultimately a wellspring of incrased income.

Before now, it took a whole lot to get this done but right now, you can get this relationship started by creating social media accounts on platforms where your clients hangout. And then linking the account to your websites.

You can use platforms like this to conduct and get instant feedback on product reviews, polls and so on.

Done well, interactions with your customers through your website linked social media account can further expose your brand to a bigger audience, reduce your expenses on traditional ads and also create a more engaging audience for your business.

Organize virtual meet ups with zero expenses

As a business with a website, instead of hosting get together parties and physical meetup for your customers, you can get to organize these online.

You can set up a calendar for the event on your website and social media platforms, choose a venue and get to host it totally online via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Zoom etc.

Talk about webinars and the likes of it. You won’t have the need to rent venues for these meetings. But at the end of the day, you would have created almost as much effect as you would with a physically hosted business.

Of course you can always expand to host physical meetings and seminars as soon as you’re financially stable, i you want to.

Doing this has huge potentials in reducing your business cost.

Drive Increased Productivity with Automation Tools

One of the easiest ways to start a business without capital is to use alternative tools that will cost you almost zero capital. One of these tools are digital automation tools.

Let’s say you’re in the business of selling books for instance. Getting your business on the internet can help you increase your working hours.

For instance, you can get to set up your website and then sell your books online on automation. This way, people can always check out your stock, place orders or even make purchases even when your offline store is supposed to be closed.

Imagine how this will help you drive growth without increasing expenses.

Bringing your business online enables you to automate it to operate on a 24 hour work day, 7 days a week without having to pay anyone some extra cash.

This could also give you the chance to generate passive income, with or without you physical presence.

When done well, your e-business can function without you being around, 24 hours a day. It can stay open for as long as you want.

Automation can also help you cut cost on employees and additional staff employment. With either a paid or free sales automation tool like the Hubspot CRM, you can track a prospect, schedule meetings, create live chats etc.

Tools like these increases your productivity, reduces your staff force, takes the work off your hands while giving you ample time to take care of other things.

Get Better Marketing Results with Inbound Marketing

To start a business without capital, you need a sustainable tool that can drive even better marketing that will help your business much faster.

Unlike offline marketing where you can try to sell your products to a general audience, with strategic Content, a well optimized SEO and inbound marketing, your website attracts potential clients otherwise called warm leads.

These kind of audience are people that stand a better chance to be interested in your business because they happen to get to your website by searching for items related to your business via the search engine.

Their coming to your website gives you the chance to advertise your business directly to them.

Unlike a paid advert on the traditional media, your website gives you the chance to get a more targeted audience. And sometimes you don’t pay for this audience.

With tools like content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing etc, instead of advertising to just about anybody, you get your potential clients over to your website and then work on getting them to buy from you.

Let’s look at this example below. Let’s say for instance, I’m a business coach. I teach people how to set up their businesses online.

One day, I decided to write a great post on how to become a successful entrepreneur and post it on my website.

On your own part, you’re looking at taking your online business to the next level. So you decided to find out “how to become a successful online entrepreneur”.

You searched for it on Google then luckily, the search result led you to a link on my website.

After reading the rich post. You learned a great deal. Then still on my website, you saw a free ebook offer I made just to say thanks for visiting my website.

You entered your email and get the ebook.

Over time we start conversation through emails. I send you posts that delivers huge results for you.

Once in a while, I send you offers to join my paid coaching so you can really get this to the next level. And then you joined. And I won a new client.

Comparing this, to traditional media advertising where you don’t really have the exact data of your preferred customers, advertising on your website will not only reduce the cost of running your business, it will get you an audience that will most likely be in need of what you’re selling.

Become a thought leader with Content Marketing

Another way to start a business with low investment and drive faster recognition for your brand is to become a thought leader in your industry through content marketing.

With a good website, great content and smart marketing strategies, You don’t have to be a university Don or have a PhD before you can become a thought leader in your industry.

All you need is to have a very good knowledge of whatever you’re doing, create valuable content around that, show up consistently and the rest is history.

Compared to building an online business where it would take you a much longer time to become a well known name in your industry, building your business online makes the journey much shorter.

And the web affords you the opportunity to compete with bigger brands at a close range.

Well, this is where I want to take a break on how to start a smart online business with 70 percent less cost.

Build Loyalty With engaging Stories

Over the years, brand storytelling has been one tool that businesses have used to build a compelling brand and loyal audience.

Unlike a completely offline business where you will have to work harder to build structures before engaging on brand storytelling…

An online business gives you the chance to engage in brand storytelling from the get go. Instead of waiting for a particular time in the future, with your web tools, you can engage in brand story telling either as a small brand or a big brand.

Done well, this can deepen your connection with your audience, increase brand loyalty and build a tribe that believes in your business.

It is true; there are businesses you can’t operate without owning a physical office. But, with continuous the advancements in technology, this numbers is reducing by the day.

In a nutshell, beyond all the benefits listed here, running an online business can lessen your financial burden as well as give you a better chance, to compete with bigger businesses without exorbitant financial investments upfront.

So are you ready to start your business with capital by launching your business online? Let’s help you.

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    Victor Winners

    Victor Winners

    Award winning Blogger, Author, Web Developer, Senior Digital Strategist and Founder of Africa's most widely read blog on Content Marketing and Digital Strategy, VictorWinners.Com.Named as one of the top 50 design influencers globally, since 2014; Victor Winners has helped over 2 million readers to understand and use digital technology to transform their lives and businesses.

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