Is lack of start-up money holding you back from launching your dream business?

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It doesn’t have to. More businesses than you know are started with no initial investment. In fact, many well-known successful business were started in someone’s basement or garage. Think “Geek Squad”, started by Robert Stephens at his kitchen  table and later sold to Best Buy for millions.

If anyone suggests you borrow money from family or friends, ignore them. If someone loans you start-up money, they are likely to be worried about recouping it and could get more involved in your new venture than you want them to. You are starting a business because you want to be in control of your own life and having to answer to your lender could end up feeling like you still have a boss.

Especially with the internet and social media, even businesses that are not web-based can be started with little or no money. One of the biggest expenses for a new business used to be advertising and now so much can be done for free.

If you think about it, it’s not really money you need. It’s what money can buy and believe it or not, you can actually get a lot of those things for free in trade or partnership. If your business is service oriented, you may be able to trade your services for the things you need to start up.

Let’s say you are starting a mobile massage business or even a pop-up spa. You will probably need business cards, flyers and signage for your space or vehicle. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding a graphic designer to do your logo, a printer and a sign maker who are willing to do your printing in exchange for a couple of massages.

When I had my gallery, a woman came in and loved one of the jewelry lines I carried but said she wasn’t spending any money because she had just started a dog training business. I had just gotten a new puppy and we traded a bracelet for puppy training sessions. I actually hired my first help the same way. I had a couple of retired women work as sales people in exchange for merchandise.

Another way to get free start-up goods and services is to offer professionals the opportunity to “micro-invest” with you but rather than loan money, they invest with their service. An electrician, painter or other service professional is more likely to do $1500. worth of work for you in exchange for getting a piece of your profit than she would be to loan you $1500. And, rather than just doing the work, the people who trade you work are likely to feel invested and share their ideas and expertise with you.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find people with expertise in marketing, public relations, graphic design and web programming who are willing to trade their services for yours or for a percentage of the profit down the road.

Even a brick and mortar business can start-up on very little cash. You’ll have to get creative about the space rent and even inventory can be on consignment until you make enough to purchase it outright. Many vendors looking for new retail outlets are willing to do consignment or agree to 90 day terms.

There are lots of other work-arounds for not having start-up money so don’t let that be the reason for not moving forward with your dream business. You’ll find everything you need to know to open a pop-up shop with little or no startup cash HERE 


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