Sawaram Suthar is CMO at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.
Are you planning to start your own business? Are you not sure where or how to start?
For many people, starting a business and being their own boss is a dream. But this is not easy as you think; you require employees, money and time. Getting a business off the ground also requires your best efforts. Even if you’re already in business but considering expansion, you may be hampered by these facts — you simply don’t have enough employees or funding to take your company to the next level.
It seems like every day there’s a budding new startup showcasing millions of dollars from venture capitalists; but what you usually don’t hear about is the number of startup failures that blow through millions of dollars just to fade away, shutting their doors forever.
The good news is that you can either start your own business or expand it now with NO money and NO employees. You simply need to plan ahead and make the most of the resources available.
So, how do you start your dream business with no money and no employees?
1. Make the decision to get started!
You are not going to just wake up one morning and decide to open a business. First, you need to decide to get yourself ready for the challenges you’ll encounter in the competitive business world. Ask yourself these questions — why do I want to become an entrepreneur? Am I really ready to start my own business? Most people have a common question— how do I quickly become a millionaire? In reality, starting and running a business just to become a millionaire is not a good enough reason!
Are you happy and satisfied with where you are right now? Are you tired of your 9-to-5 job and want to quit? Do you have some brilliant business ideas? These questions will assist you in determining whether you’re making a good decision in starting a business or not. Remember, whatever your reason for wanting to start a business, you must ensure that it’s practical and strong enough to boost you through the numerous business challenges you’ll face.
2. Look for either a business idea or a business opportunity
Every business is built on an idea of some kind — and it’s that idea which determines the success or failure of your business. It can be a product or service idea but it has to be solid and most importantly, should solve a problem. Without a proper business idea/plan, there’s a high risk of failure.
3. Conduct a feasibility study
The world today is crammed with exceptional million-dollar ideas, but there’s a lack of brilliant entrepreneurs in the world. Most of the businesses simply die. A feasibility research report can help you find the correct answers to these questions and more about the best business opportunities.
- How can you separate a winning business idea from a dead one?
- How much will it cost to establish a new business?
- How can you decide whether or not a business opportunity is worth practicing?
- How much effort is required?
4. Outline a business plan
There are many entrepreneurs who are not aware of how to write a great business plan and as a result, they launch their businesses without an effective one. If you want to make sure that your business runs properly, don’t ignore the power of a business plan. Also, don’t let the procedure of making a business plan get in the way of your launch.
5. Offer equity
If you want to start your business without any money, you can offer equity. Equity is a sensitive topic. Many people offering their efforts and skills for equity look forward to being a key part of the business' future in some respect. If you’re offering equity in return for services, you not only expect the person’s skill but also their commitment, network, ideas, time, and effort. It’s going to be a partnership, so instead of an exchange of skills, you get future monies.
Here is my advice “Develop a clear picture of where you want to see your business in the next 5 or 10 years and document everything as it’ll be important in case you wish to raise venture capital money down the road”.
6. Raise capital
Raising funds is one of the most critical challenges entrepreneurs face and unfortunately, it’s also the key job of an entrepreneur because, without it, not even the best business idea is going to survive. To be successful, you must know how to raise seed capital even if you don’t know any investors. There are several things you must consider before raising capital for your business. You must also learn how to raise capital from angel investors and venture capitalists.
7. Make the most of free advertising and marketing
There are a number of ways to create buzz for your business without striking gold. Leverage the power of social media for the utmost exposure and engage your existing and potential customers. You can also extend an invitation to local media so as to present your expertise.
Try making additional local media contacts and be responsive to their requests. Doing so will help you to get branded by them as the local authority, creating lots of free press for your business.
8. Save by avoiding unnecessary expenses
When you start your business, there are going to be lots of expenses in front of you and there are a few that you simply won’t be able to avoid. What you can avoid though is overspending. Consider an example of business cards— instead of going for metal or fancy business cards, you can opt for traditional business at the initial stages of business setup. Being penny-pinching in the starting can make a significant difference between a successful and a failed business.
9. Prepare to hustle
An uphill struggle is an unconditional necessity, especially when you’re setting up a business with little to zero capital, yet you should be ready to commit everything you’ve got in order to make the business a success. This may mean handling customer support, cold calling, dealing with accounting and billing, and any other working part of your business. To make your business successful you’ll have to wear many hats and it will demand the majority of your efforts and time if you’re to make it.
Employees are the pillars of a successful organization, but if you’re just stepping into the business world, you can start your business of your own without any employees!
10. Technology is making it possible
With the developments in technology, a business can be started and expanded with no employees. A few years ago, the businesses were upsizing and flourishing. The need to spend to accommodate a growing team signified that you were doing very well. The scenario has completely changed.
Thanks to the developments of digital technology, it’s becoming easier and more convenient to start and operate a successful, economically-feasible, growing business, without any staff!
Today, there are a lot of tools and software that can automate your business processes and the rest of the processes can be outsourced.
11. Best communication methods
With the use of a savvy combination of communications methods – conferences calls, Skype, Tagove and time-management tools, businesses of every size can tap into the vast business world in the most cost-effective manner.
These digital technologies work most efficiently with a better workforce and a reduced cost. It has already started happening and there are several research studies that have shown that consumers prefer live chats and other real-time supports. If we dare look ahead to 2016 and beyond, then it’s no longer a surprise, but a rule and an opportunity that all businesses need to consider for offering better customer support.
Don’t let limited assets prevent you from taking a great business idea and running with it. It will be difficult and you will come face-to-face with some stressful situations, but that’s all a part of entrepreneurship. Making the best use of tools, employee and available resources for your business, you can perfectly represent your brand and make it grow by taking a big leap.
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