How to start a business with no money

Editorial Team

7 min read
A piece of paper with to do: start a business typed on it

From new AI therapy chatbots to the viral cookie croissant store in Paris, new businesses and services are popping up everywhere. But can you start a business with no money? Simply, yes.

Many of today’s big brands started small–in a home, in a garage, and with very little money. In the age of the internet and entrepreneurship, there are many ways to start a business with little to no capital. 

You may be wondering how to be an entrepreneur with no money. Here’s a simple guide on how to start a business with no money and the four basics you’ll need to get your small business  

1. A business concept

The first step in building a business is to decide what it will be–that is, what you want to do. Do you want to sell jewelry? Offer consulting services? Or do you just know that you want to start a profitable business? 

In any case, it’s smart to research the market to understand what types of businesses are booming. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of small businesses to start that could generate profit in 2024. 

For those interested in starting a business with no money in the food industry, check out this guide with tips and tricks to save money while opening your restaurant. 

And, here are a few starter questions to keep in mind as your research the market and determine what your business will be:

  1. Is this product or service new to the market?
  2. If so, how is it different from the competition?
  3. Is there a market for this product or service?
  4. Who is the target audience?
  5. How will you present it or make it available to the public?

Be sure to refer to relevant news reports and social media, like Instagram, Tiktok, or even Facebook, to see what products are trending among users. Social media is also a great way to vet out ideas and gauge how the public may respond to your business ideas.

Once you have a handle on what your business will be, you’re ready to put a plan together.

2. A business plan 

The key to starting a business with no money is to create a strong and cohesive business plan. A business plan captures your vision for the business and serves as a roadmap for your business. What’s more, it can be critical to securing the financing you need to launch and grow your business. 

Business plans can vary by the type of business you’re starting, but effective business plans should contain the following sections:

  • Company Description: This section should include your company’s goals, mission and objectives, including the proposed company structure–for instance, sole proprietorship, LLC, or other.
  • Products and/or Services: This section addresses what your intended product or service is and how you hope to execute or produce it.
  • Market Analysis: This portion of the plan contains your research and analysis of the market and your competition.
  • Financial Forecasting and Projections: Here, you should include an analysis of how well your business could perform and what kind of financing you need to reach your business goals. Learn more about why forecasting is crucial to your business plan.

A solid business plan can also help you attract funding from venture capitalists, investors, and government business loans. 

And, because just about all businesses may need an infusion of cash as they launch, you may need to get a little creative with how you finance business expenses that may arise. Here are a few ideas for sourcing those expenses:

  • Friends and family: Investing in a small business is a great way to round out an investment portfolio or invest extra cash sitting in a checking or savings account–especially if it helps a loved one. It’s important, though, to treat friends and family like any other investor and provide a business plan that demonstrates how their investment can grow.
  • Online lenders and Small Business Administration Funding Programs: Federal funding exists to help small businesses–like the state small business credit initiative, for instance. Additionally, many states, cities, and counties offer incentives or assistance programs for small businesses, depending on circumstances, so be sure to check out your secretary of state website site, as well as your local government sites to see what programs may be applicable to your business. 
  • Crowdfunding: There’s a growing number of sites that make it easy to share an idea, a cause, or even a business with the public for financial support–sites like GoFundMe, Patreon, and CrowdFunder, to name a few. One simple way to engage is to set up a profile on a crowdfunding site and share that information with your social media followers. 

Be sure to peruse these posts for more information on how to finance a restaurant or open a restaurant with no money.

And, if you find your business needs extra cash to grow, whether it’s a retail, restaurant, or service business, Clover Capital could be a fit for you. It’s designed especially for up-and-coming businesses that are at least 6 months old with a minimum processing volume of $1,000/month for 3 months. Additional qualifications may apply, so be sure to speak with a Clover Consultant for more information.


3. A marketing plan 

Marketing is essential to growing your company, especially when you’re launching a business with no money. And it all starts with writing a marketing plan to capture the steps you can take toward reaching the business, sales, or engagement goals you’ve set for your business. It’s also a tool that can help you set aside the resources you’ll need to reach, convert, and retain customers. 

While some digital marketing tools can be expensive, using social media can be economical and can be an effective way to get the word out about your new business. Other tactics like email marketing, SMS marketing, and even word of mouth can be effective and economical tools in your marketing toolbox.

A website is another tool that can help boost sales–especially for eCommerce businesses, of course–and can be a standout marketing and communication channel. The About Us page, for instance, can be a great way to tell a compelling and authentic story about your journey, your company, and its mission–particularly when you’re introducing your brand to the market. What’s more, many site builders, like Wix and Squarespace, for example, make it quick, easy, and cheap to set up a site for just a few dollars per month. So, as you’re launching your business venture, ensure that you have a simple, well-designed website–and leverage these tips on how to set up a business website

What’s more, this guide offers more tips on how to successfully market your business when you’re strapped for cash. 


4. A simple way to accept payments

Whether your new business offers a retail experience, personal services, or food and beverages, you’ll need to provide your customers with convenient ways to pay. Fortunately, Clover Virtual Terminal offers a simple, economical way to accept customer payments with a set up that’s quick and easy. And, as your business grows and becomes more profitable, Clover has you covered with time-saving and cost-effective POS systems that can help you manage the daily demands of your business–anywhere, anytime. 

As you start out and as your business grows, the Clover team is here for you. Speak to one of our experts about how Clover can help you start building your business today. 

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