When learning how to start a small business, it is important to review the various challenges that you may face and need to overcome in order to succeed in your business venture. You may face financial, technical, marketing or customer acquisition related challenges. If you are learning how to start a business without money, then it is important to review the ways that you may be able to raise money initially, cut down on costs or offer services in exchange for funding.
You may wonder about the best business to start with little money. However, each type of business will likely incur some expenses and will require you to have some sort of capital. Challenges may also vary based upon whether you intend to run your business online, offline or both.
Therefore, when learning how to start a business plan, it is important to review certain guidelines that can help your business exceed, set realistic expectations and offer solutions for common challenges that new businesses face. Regardless of the type of business that you intend to operate, it is important to ensure that your business venture is personally satisfying, legal and likely to be profitable. If your business plan does not meet this criteria, it may not be the best venture or it may require further review.
Starting a Business With Very Little Money
If you would like to know how to start a business without money or without a personal loan, it is worth knowing that the options that are available to you will likely vary based upon the type of business that you intend to create. Do you intend to offer a service or a product? A business that offers services can be started with little to no money by simply creating a service-oriented business in which services are completed before collecting funds for the service.
However, if you intend to start a small business that is product oriented, you may need to think outside the box. If your business is product-based, it is important to consider whether you could offer any additional type of service to help you generate a cash flow for your product-based business. For example, if your product-based business revolves around software, is it possible to offer any other software or technical based service in order to generate further revenue?
When learning how to start a business from scratch, it is worth taking the time to calculate potential costs and profit margins. If you do not have a lot of money to invest into your business up front, look for ways that you can cut down on costs. Consider forfeiting a paycheck of your own until your business becomes profitable. If you need to hire additional employees, determine whether or not it is possible to hire an employee purely on a commission basis. Be prepared to do the hard work that it will take to get your business off the ground.
If you need to start a business without money, there are a few different ways that you may be able to secure funding, including:
- Programs designed to provide funding to assist startup companies, most commonly offered by local or regional economic development organizations, colleges and universities.
- Crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, which allow the public to invest a small percentage of money in exchange for a future buy-in.
- Lines of credit that are offered by banks and credit institutions for the purpose of generating growth within the early stages of a business.
Different Plans and Methods for Starting a Business
When you begin your checklist for starting a business, it is worth taking a look at the type of business that you wish to create and whether that business would flourish more online, offline or both. Each type of business will have a variety of initial challenges that you must overcome in addition to benefits and drawbacks that are based upon the platform of the business.
If you intend to start a small business offline, it may still be worth considering a small online presence in order to generate some of the online benefits that your business would otherwise be lacking, such as online advertisement and 24/7 availability.
Starting a Business Online
If you are wondering how to start a business online, it is important to understand the difference between an online and offline business, including the benefits and drawbacks of an online business and the challenges that your business may initially face. Many people find working though online avenues beneficial.
Some types of businesses are overall more successful as online businesses. For example, certain product-oriented businesses sell far more online than through traditional physical retail outlets. Examples of these types of product based business include:
- Selling big ticket items, such as industrial machinery, boats or airplanes.
- Selling anything that has a narrow targeted audience.
If you want to start a business online, it is worth knowing that there are several benefits that are unique to online businesses. These potential benefits include:
- Less initial investment.
- Less expensive to operate.
- Online businesses are always open.
However, that does not mean that online businesses do not face unique challenges. One of the biggest challenges that an online business is far more likely to face compared to an offline business is trust related challenges. Statistically, people trust offline businesses far more than online ones. This is due to the fact that customers are generally in the dark about who they are purchasing a product or service from when purchasing online. First time customers are far more distrustful and reluctant when it comes to an unfamiliar business if that business is online-based.
Therefore, if you would like to start a small business online, you will need to invest far more time in establishing trust with customers. You can work on gaining the trust of potential customers by:
- Providing full contact details on your website, including an actual street address.
- Displaying any endorsements that your business has received from industrial authorities or state, local or federal government.
- Displaying photos and information about the business owner and key personnel within the business.
- Offering the opportunity for customers to use third-party payments, such as PayPal.
When reviewing your checklist for starting a business online, it is also worth noting other critical challenges that your online business may face, including:
- Website and user interface related challenges.
- Digital marketing.
- Customer acquisition.
- Finding the time to work on your business, especially if you have one or more other jobs.
Starting a Business at Home
If you are wondering how to start a small business at home, it is worth reviewing potential challenges that you may face in addition to the benefits of an offline-based business. Offline businesses can be just as successful or even more successful than online businesses. In fact, some businesses do not work as online businesses, including businesses that offer services at a local level.
If you intend to start a small business offline, your business will likely have several benefits and advantages over an online based business, including:
- Consumers typically have more trust when it comes to an offline business, especially when the consumer can inspect a product prior to purchasing it.
- Offline businesses may have a greater rate of repeat customers, depending on the type of business, especially in local areas.
While there are several advantages of offline businesses, it is worth knowing that offline businesses typically include far greater startup and operation costs in comparison to online businesses. Additionally, offline businesses must worry about crime, including shoplifting and vandalism.
A small business at home must be marketed differently than an online business. However, offline businesses have the unique opportunity to take advantage of advertisement techniques both offline and online. In addition to online marketing techniques, small businesses can take advantage of:
- Free publicity through local newspapers, radio services and television networks that are interested in providing facts or reviews on your business and product or service.
- Low-cost newspaper adds.
- Local and regional endorsements.
- Local networking opportunities.
- Vendor trade shows.
- Educational workshops.
- Coupons, flyers and handouts.
By learning how to start a small business, you will be better prepared to begin your business venture as well as have a better idea as to whether your business should be online or offline. Now that you understand the benefits, challenges, advantages and drawbacks of both online and offline businesses, you can make an informed decision about your business.