Do you think starting a business is too expensive, and that the initial fees are too high? It doesn’t have to be that way.
There are many opportunities to start a small business without any upfront investment. There are, in fact, some viable business ideas to consider.
Many entrepreneurs believe they cannot make a living from their passion or talent since launching a business costs money. The truth is that there are various ways to start a small business with no money at all; all you need is a decent business strategy. In truth, some of the most successful companies were founded with little or no capital.
The best business idea is one that you are enthusiastic about. Consider launching a business in a specific field if you have an interest in that subject. If you’re a web developer, for example, you can create online courses, a dropshipping store, and so on.
Working for yourself and being your own boss are two of the many benefits of starting your own small business. However, it might be tough to tell which company idea is best for you when you are just getting started.
Is there any downside to businesses with low startup costs?
Not at all! There are many benefits to start a business without any upfront investment. The main benefit is that you no longer have to put up your own money or wait for outside investors to fund your company. You can now focus on making sales and building your customer base, which will help grow your business exponentially.
Here’s what you need to know about starting a business without an investment:
Get creative with your product or service
When you’re building your startup, keep in mind the “lean” philosophy: Start with a product/service and add features and benefits as needed.
This can help you avoid unnecessary costs in development and marketing while also giving you an opportunity to discover and pursue new revenue goals.
Find free office space
There are many places where you can find free office space, such as public libraries or unoccupied retail stores. Additionally, coworking spaces allow entrepreneurs to use workstations and other office amenities for a monthly fee that is often lower than what you would pay per hour in a café.
Don’t be afraid to partner up
Oftentimes, you can find a partner that has the skills and resources that you need for your venture but doesn’t have yourself.
Whether it’s for a needed service or product, office space, legal assistance, etc., if you don’t have the extra cash, look for a partner that can provide it.
For example, partner up with a graphic designer if it fits your niche and save extra money on having to hire an additional person.
Conduct market research
Before you start a business, research the market extensively to figure out if there are other competitors in your space. This can help keep you from wasting time and money on an idea that might already be saturated with the competition or simply not have consumer demand. It also helps to predict how much money you need to spend to start it up.
Sell before you even make it
Perhaps the biggest challenge with starting a business is generating revenue before your product or service is even ready for market.
Now, you can conduct market research to help define the who/what/when/where of your potential consumers, but you can still get an idea of what they are looking for by selling ‘pre-orders.’
Get creative with funding
A great way to fund your startup is through a crowdfunding campaign, where you can secure pre-orders and raise money simultaneously. Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter allow entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, products, or services in order to attract potential customers that want these items as soon as possible.
Have a business plan
A good business plan is essential to the success of any business venture. It’s not enough just to come up with a good business idea; you also need to take the time and effort into putting together an effective plan that will help you get where you want to go.
A well-thought-out, detailed, and comprehensive business plan can do wonders in helping grow your company.
The best way to start your business plan is by looking at what has worked for other successful businesses before yours. Doing so will give you valuable insights on what might work for your unique situation, too.
Asking yourself questions like “What are my competitors doing?” or “How could I improve upon their model?” can be incredibly helpful in this regard because you will get to see the best ideas that other entrepreneurs have found effective.
A great place to start your research is by looking at businesses similar to the one you are trying to create, but in a different industry. This can be done simply by searching their industries for related keywords or brands on Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
You might also type the name of your favorite brands into Google along with the word “competitor” to see what comes up.
Once you have found some direct competitors, take a look at their websites and other social media platforms to find out what they are doing right, or wrong.
Which articles are drawing in the most traffic? What types of images perform best on social media? What is their pricing strategy, and do they have any special offers for customers?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself when looking at the competition.
Asking these types of questions can help you come up with some great ideas to help improve your business in one way or another.
Build a business model
After you have found some businesses similar to the one you are looking to set up and created a business plan, it’s time to build a business model.
Business models are roadmaps of the various stages your company will go through while operating its business, and they can help orientate your efforts towards what is best for developing your company overall.
After deciding on some potential business models, it’s time to create a roadmap that will help you achieve your goals.
For instance, if you are looking for ideas about how to make money without investment, there are plenty of opportunities out there.
One example is the mobile app business model; many mobile apps today are created without any startup costs. If you have a knack for creating useful, fun, or entertaining mobile apps, consider getting into this field as it’s one of the best small business ideas.
List of small business ideas
Here is an overview of several small business ideas that have the potential to earn a decent income:
A dropshipping business is a low-cost startup idea that doesn’t require any money upfront but that could be a successful business.
As a new business owner, you don’t have to worry about shipping fees, storage costs, or even manufacturing and packaging your products.
All you need to do is find the best supplier and start selling! Because of this, all you need for a dropshipping business is a product, an eCommerce store, and marketing know-how.
While it doesn’t require any startup money, you should note that not all products are the same when it comes to profit margins. You may have to try several different products before finding one that fits your needs.
We recommend investing in search engine optimization once your online store is up and running to attract more customers and create a lucrative business.
Tutoring or creating online courses is another free small business idea you can start today! As a tutor, it’s your job to help other students learn concepts and complete assignments. Many parents use tutors to help their kids excel in school. So, if you have a specialty or are good at explaining information clearly, this could be the perfect opportunity for you.
Creating an online course is an easy way to share your knowledge with the world. Many online courses can actually be taught by working directly with a company rather than creating one yourself. You can hire a web developer to create your website, or you can create your own website using a hosting service that offers straightforward website builders.
If you have a crafty side, use it to your advantage as selling your goods can be another lucrative small business idea! People always need custom creations for special occasions like weddings or birthdays – especially if your specialty is making candles or knitting scarves.
You can sell these items on Etsy as well as take them with you to the local market and fairs where you can sell to people face-to-face and earn good money.
While Etsy is the most popular place for crafters and artists to sell their wares, there are plenty of other platforms out there where you can try your luck. For example, Bonanza is another alternative you might want to check out.
Selling digital products is one of the best low cost business ideas. If you can create digital products, consider selling them on your own online store. While this does relate to eCommerce, it’s another business model that can become extremely profitable if done right.
There are plenty of opportunities out there where you can sell music, eBooks, or unique applications people can use on their computers or mobile devices.
Sell your time and know-how. If you’re an expert in something that others might need then you can consult for them or teach them directly. For example, you could be a writing coach and work one-on-one with students via Skype – they would pay an hourly rate for your assistance.
If you have a personal training certification then you could also look into gyms in your area that would be willing to hire an in-house trainer for a set rate per hour.
Consulting clients can be a very successful business if you devote your time to it and promote it via social media channels.
Offering packing services
As you know, online purchases often come in boxes. And plenty of people need help when it comes to packing up their items for delivery; not to mention they might need someone to unpack them once they arrive.
So if you’re good with your hands and enjoy working with the public then this could be an opportunity for you to start your small business!
If you’re familiar with shipping procedures you might consider offering your packing services through Craigslist and attract clients that way.
If you’re a whiz in the kitchen why not start selling your baked goods or specialty dishes? You could sell these items to local grocery stores or cafes that are willing to give them a try.
Alternatively, you could create your own online store or sell online your products on Amazon – it’s free to sign up, and you only pay fees when someone makes a purchase.
One of the reasons that selling food can be such a lucrative small business idea is that you don’t need to worry about the overhead costs associated with running a brick-and-mortar store.
For example, you may have trouble finding a retail space in your town that would let you sell food without having to pay expensive commercial rental fees. And even if you could rent the space, you would need to purchase equipment like fridges and ovens along with other large items to maintain an actual kitchen.
Planning events is a popular line of work. If you’re sociable and enjoy helping others, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to start your own business as an event planner.
You could also consider joining an agency or getting hired by another organization to help plan their next big shindig, as event planners sometimes do. The only real commitment you would need to make is to deliver a well-organized and successful event.
You could also offer your services through social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn groups, where you can find people looking for help with their own events.
Dog walking business
A dog walking small business is a great option for people who want to work from home and is the right business idea if you love dogs. Startup costs are low, and all you need is your own transportation, appropriate attire for the weather, and an appropriate crate or bucket to store poop bags.
You can start this small business by using social media to notify people in the area that you provide these services. Plus, this is a great way to get more exercise and spend time with your four-legged friends!
Much like the dog walking business, people in your area will be excited to have their lawns maintained by you. Living in an apartment complex? Landscape the common areas in exchange for payment. Just about anyone can use a little help with gardening and outdoor upkeep, so this is a win-win!
Professional photography small business
Are you camera-ready? If you love taking photos, then consider starting your own small business with this talent. There are many ways that you can monetize your skills in photography, whether it be through offering headshot sessions to professionals or photographing weddings and special events.
Consider offering photography classes at local community centers where you can make some extra cash while helping people learn a valuable new skill.
Because of its huge potential, photography businesses frequently develop by word of mouth.
Develop a Facebook page where you may tag recent customers and promote your business using social media.
Food truck or catering business
If you’re looking for the best small business idea that is inexpensive, consider starting a food truck.
It may take some time to establish yourself, but this business idea has the potential to become very profitable. For starters, you can start out by consulting with friends on the best cuisine to serve at your truck. After choosing your dishes, it’s time to get your food truck ready! Keep in mind that there are specific requirements for operating a food truck; make sure you know what they are before getting started.
The catering business Is one of the most profitable business ideas. If you’re interested in catering, start by contacting family and friends to find out what their tastes are like. For example, do they enjoy spicy foods or do they prefer chicken dishes? You should also consider the dietary needs of your clients; make sure you can provide something everyone will enjoy.
After choosing a cuisine and obtaining the necessary licensing, it’s time to get people to eat.
Start by networking and making connections with local hotels and caterers, then advertise your services through word of mouth and flyers.
Great business ideas you can do on the side
Blogging is a great small business. In fact, many bloggers have been able to turn blogging into their full-time job and achieve tremendous success!
By creating an engaging blog about your passion or hobby, you can attract people from all over the world. As a blog owner, you can share information and advice with other people through the internet.
It may take time to build up your blog, but you can start today for free, and be your own boss.
Another great piece of advice is to invest some money in search engine optimization once your own website is up and running so you can reach more people.
Do you have a way with words? If so, freelance writing is another great business idea that can be done in your spare time for free! As a freelance writer, you can write content for blogs or websites all around the world.
Although it may seem hard to get started today, it only takes a few minutes to create an account and list your services.
Are you good at multitasking? As a virtual assistant, you can offer administrative support to small business owners all around the world.
Even though it may seem like a 9-5 job, most virtual assistants set their own schedules and work from home. Plus, you can start working with one company today to gain valuable experience.
There’s a high demand for assistants that know how to type fast and maintain an organized system of files – most people need help with scheduling, emailing, social media management, and more.
If this sounds like something you’d be good at then check out the options available and give it a try as being a virtual assistant if you’re good at it is a perfect business idea.
Affiliate marketing business
If you like to shop online, why not make some extra money using affiliate marketing by promoting products that you already use and love!
Whether it’s beauty supplies, clothing, or other items – there are so many businesses looking for affiliate marketers.
You can earn a percentage of the revenue made from any sales you help generate.
Just like any business concept, it may take some time to hit your stride and build up a solid customer base. But once your site is generating income, the money comes in on autopilot each month!
Affiliate marketing is a great side hustle and can earn good money via passive income.
Youtube channel and video marketing
YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the internet and is a brilliant business idea for aspiring vloggers. If you’re already filming videos, why not upload them to YouTube and start making money?
Many businesses will pay you flat fees per your video or offer affiliate commission for all sales that you help generate. Either way, you’ll be able to start making money quickly.
Promoting your own business
If you want to promote your business, create an online presence that is professional and appropriate for the nature of your small business. It can be difficult to market small businesses without a large budget, but it’s possible. Social media is a great place for this because it’s free to post there.
Be sure to use hashtags related to your industry or event when posting on Instagram or Twitter so people can find you more easily. Partnering with other businesses in your niche is another way to gain exposure and grow traffic on social media.
Post on Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis and talk about upcoming events.
You can also utilize free marketing tools like Google Adwords and Facebook ads, as well as paid ad services like promoted social posts on Instagram or Twitter to promote your business.