‘If you can’t start a business with $0, being an entrepreneur is probably not for you.’ I read this quote recently and it resonated deeply.
Today, let’s talk about how to start a business with $0. (Note that I said start, not run or finish =D)
1. Dissect your idea:
If you are like me that gets ideas from a consumer’s perspective and outside the scope of individual expertise, you need to spend some time dissecting and understanding the idea’s academic and professional background. You will need to spend time reading anything you can find on the subject matter. Google is your best friend here.
2. Find out who is doing or has tried to do what you want to do:
So that we all don’t waste our time, it’s important to find out who is doing or has done what you want to do so you can know what pitfalls to avoid. In searching for this, you do not have to restrict it to your home country. Check wide and connect with people. As you try to reach out to others personally, be very careful as some of them realizing what you want to do may try to discourage you or even be seeking expansion to your country and trying to use you as a vehicle etc. Bottom line; Be focused! Be sharp!!
3. Identify risks and minimize them:
Identify the risks associated with your idea or impending business and think of ways to minimize it. Many times, here, I just use google too. I basically work with two computers with countless tabs opened when working on an idea and google anything that comes to my mind around it. Often, one article will provide a tiny bit of information about your next step and you have to take the tiny bit of information provided, magnify it and turn it into a search itself. Be patient. Fall in love with researching. Invest Time.
4. Find someone who believes in your idea and can push you to the next point without making money a priority:
Trust me, people like this still exist. They are often people with a set skill required to help move your idea to the next level and have some experience around what you want to do. Your work is to get them sold out to the idea with your passion and credibility. You both know they will eventually get paid or even be part of the bigger team but they understand that right now this is just an idea and they are crazy about helping you let the idea see the light of day. Never mind if you have to search 1,000 times to find them or send out random emails 20 times a day to different people you’ve never met until you find that one willing person but trust me when I say they exist. I’m speaking from experience…
5. Break it down in phases:
Many times as entrepreneurs with an idea, we are eager to commence operations and often look at the total amount needed then get drowned in the thoughts of ‘how will I ever raise this money’. Here’s the trick, break it down in phases. If you are lucky and meet someone like the one stated in 4 above, he or she will help you break it down. After breaking it in phases, take it one step at a time. Think carefully about the phases and make sure the items listed are not dependent on something in some other phase.
6. The best price isn’t always the best price, explain your situation and ask for further discounts:
As you know you do not have the capital to start, the last price quoted can never be your last price. Be motivated to ask for further discounts on quotes always. Be an Oliver Twist without apology.
7. Share details of your progress with people you know can help with funding without asking for funds:
This one is a killer skill you need to master. Chances are you told them about all you are doing when it was just an idea but they do not really believe you will do anything about it or make progress with it, after all, ideas are cheap. When you update them with progress you have made, professionals you have been in contact with and those involved in moving your idea to the next level, they start to take you more seriously and start considering an investment.
These aren’t just tales! I got my first investment on a new project last night through this method. So you see dear friends, you can surely start a business with zero capital and make headway with it.
Always remember that passion is your capital when you do not have cash. Spend it wisely.
Author: Adepeju Jaiyeoba
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