5 Essential Tips to Start a Successful Business Without Money

August 06, 2020
Do you have the dream of starting your own business?
5 Essential Tips to Start a Successful Business Without Money

Maybe you have a knack for pastry and want to open a bakery, or you are a coffee connoisseur looking to bring that experience to the world and open a coffee shop. Are you already working from home, ready to register your business and expand your company? Whether you want to grow your current business or build a successful "passion project turned business" from scratch, these five tips will help you achieve your goal.

1.    FOCUS ON YOUR PASSION | What is a good way to start a business? The most successful companies not only fill a need on the consumer side, but they often sprout from personal passion. The road to an established business is often bumpy, especially during the first few years. You will face challenges, unexpected roadblocks, and it will require 110% of your energy and attention. Therefore, the most valuable aspect of the process will be staying focused on your passion. If you live and breathe the reason behind your venture, and that reason is a legitimate drive, you will be far more likely to overcome challenges and embrace any changes that are needed to succeed. Visual cues and the process of writing things down has substantial positive effects. For instance, try the following exercises: 

  • Write down why you feel so strongly about the relevance of the product(s) you wish to sell.
  • Is your business service-oriented? Write down the reasons why you love doing what you do.
  • Look beyond your initial service or product offering – what aspects of the business do you enjoy? Ex. Quality customer service, supporting your local community, etc.
  • Remember the core values related to your desire to start a business. Create a vision board and make sure your source of passion takes precedent.

You will be more productive. Writing activates the neurons in your brain and gets it ready to overcome the rest of the tasks (you can use it as a kind of warm-up at the beginning of the day).” - Facile Things

Capital gain cannot be your only motivation. A love for the art, appreciation for results of services rendered, supporting the growth of your local economy, these are the foundation of your success.


2.    FULLY DEVELOP YOUR VISION | Before you start looking for financing, spend some serious time carefully developing your brand. The best way to start your business is by carefully considering who your company serves. Once you are familiar with your target demographic, you need to be absolute in your ability to stand apart from your competitors. Your name, logo, colours, etc., that's the fun part! When it comes to establishing a reliable brand, however, you need to go one step further. What is the no. 1 aspect that will identify your company and differentiate you from the pack? Is it:

  • High-quality products
  • Personalized service 
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Guaranteed results
  • Fast shipping
  • Product availability

You don't need to pick just one, but make sure that those you choose are ones you can deliver. Imagine scenarios that don't go your way in terms of customer relations or product production. Will you be able to stick to the above examples despite unforeseen challenges? It is far more valuable to create a brand that is renowned for its specific quality than a brand that's so-so and lacks consistency in many areas.
 
Next in the developing your vision is foresight. While you will want to concentrate your efforts on your initial period of business, planning five, even ten years down the line, is a valuable exercise. If all goes well, will you expand? What if your business doesn't get off to the flying start you anticipated; do you have an idea of how to downsize your business model before throwing in the towel? Do not get too committed to any one approach as this will close doors rather than open new ones in the likely event that you are required to make significant changes. Think of your end goal as your destination on a map. Never find yourself married to one route, instead look for multiple ways of getting around obstacles and fully embrace the need to, in the words of Ross Geller, "PIVOT!".

...if you are confident you have a product or service that people want, you can propel your way to the top by pivoting, grinding it out, getting creative, and differentiating yourself.” - Forbes


3.    CONSIDER WHICH INDUSTRIES ARE THRIVING | While your business idea may not line up with the industries having the most success, you can always learn a thing or two about what makes those industries so successful. Finding commonalities that you can incorporate into your business venture is a definite game-changer. These companies have already experienced bumps along the way and have essentially provided a path for us to follow. Look to the leading companies in each sector for markers of quality, whether in product, service or core values. 
 
What are the most successful businesses? There is plenty of excellent guidance in considering the five most profitable industries in Canada. They are:

  • Real Estate - “With a 46.5% profit margin in 2019, and a growing rental industry, real estate businesses in Canada tend to be profitable.”
  • Transportation & Storage - “...more than 86 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises engaged in transportation and storage are profitable as of 2016, with average yearly revenues exceeding $279,000.”
  • Waste Management & Remediation - “Over 86 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises in this industry turned a profit as of 2015.”
  • Professional Financial Services - “As of 2019, small- and medium-sized professional services enterprises are doing well in Canada, with a 1.9% growth rate since 2018.”
  • Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers - “For those that did well, profits were strong, to the tune of $312,000 in average annual revenue — the highest amount of all industries profiled.”

"Starting a small business gives you the autonomy to be in charge of your destiny and your success, and it lets you turn your passion into a lifelong career. There are many industries in which you can succeed as an entrepreneur in Canada; the key is finding the one that is right for you." - Intuit

4.    IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT | Many can lose sight of the more important things when starting a business. While it is true that a successful business requires your undivided attention and a significant portion of your resources, if you lose your sanity, family, or love of life in the process, what have you gained?
 
In addition to creating a substantial differentiator, build your company on a schedule and lifestyle that you can realistically keep up. There is very rarely a fast track to long-standing success, and even when there is, it is also less likely related to a specific effort you've put forth. The most wildly successful businesses are built on a slow and steady program of passion, work ethic and adaptation. Create a healthy lifestyle around running your business right down to the employees who work for you, the clients that come to you and even the community that supports you. Integrity is often the strongest of currencies, and loyalty is sure to follow a business that's built on it.
 
In a time where consumers are steadily moving towards brands that boast integrity over those who cut corners to save on cost, ethical values, even on a personal level, have earned their place in the business world.

" In my private conversation with Goldman (Seth Goldman, Honest Tea, he flat-out told me two reasons he made it through the rough years: first -- he believed in his purpose, second -- his drive for personal balance. The notion we need to kill our family relationships, personal health or level of sanity to build our own business is sadly misaligned.” - Forbes

5.    THE BUSINESS PLAN | Writing a business plan can quickly become a tedious task. However, if you change the way you look at it and focus on the value that comes from it, you will end up with a solid step by step plan that will streamline your venture from planning stages to the proposal to execution. E-commerce guru Shopify has excellent advice when it comes to a fool-proof business plan.

" A business plan can help you clarify your strategy, identify potential roadblocks, decide what you’ll need in the way of resources, and evaluate the viability of your idea or your growth plans before you start a business.” - Shopify


THE ISSUE OF FINANCING YOUR STARTUP

Don't be shy to ask, how can I start a business with no money? The majority of business owners did not, and do not, have generous investors in their back pocket. If you feel at ease with the five must-dos listed above, you should not let a lack of startup funds keep you from starting your business. So, what is a good way to start a business when it comes to the financial aspect?
 
These are our top picks from Quora's leaders in business when asked the question, what are the best ways to start a business with no money?

  • If your business works harder than its competitors, profit will find its way into your hands.” As mentioned before, new generations of consumers and B2B clients prefer to deal with companies that are dedicated to integrity. Work hard, offer quality products and services, not at the cost of inflation, and you will see an organic flux in your favour.
  • If you don't have a lot of cash, at least have enough time to save yourself when something goes wrong." Don’t underestimate the value of time as a resource. Time, to think through problems, create alternate solutions and man the station, is a luxury few can afford. If you can dedicate this time to starting your business, you will face fewer costly mistakes that are often a result of owners trying to buy their way out of a predicament.
  • Last but not least, "You can easily start a business with zero capital. How? Don't spend money on anything. This is not a joke. Avoid spending money on anything and everything. You will be surprised at how much you can grow your business without spending." It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves when imagining all the details we want to bring to our business. This is not to say that you need to curb your enthusiasm, but it is best to prioritize need from want. Then, as you gain financial momentum, you can slowly integrate your wish list according to what will bring the greatest value.  

For the full list of tips on financing your business venture, check out Business Insider.

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