Should businesses redo their accounting ways?
How you can start a business with no money in the UAE Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Let’s say you want to be in business for yourself but you have little or no cash to put up as capital. Then you are well aware that the funding options for start-up businesses are severely restricted.

You also may even have heard that only about 3 per cent of people looking for substantial outside funds to launch a new venture ever raise the capital they require. So what do you do?

Most are programmed to begin the process of looking for new business opportunities by asking themselves: “Where is there a gap in the market and how can I fill that gap?” A gap could be an unfilled customer need or a new invention yet to be brought to market.

Next, we consider the resources necessary to make the goal a reality by going out in search of those resources. We write a business plan and present it to potential financiers with the promise of a return on investment.

Then comes the matter of start-up investment.

If the financiers like the business proposition or investment idea, they provide with the start-up capital to launch the business. However, this is a situation wherein many get stuck – when one cannot come up with the required money.

Most times, business experts believe that people find it difficult to raise the resources they require, causing the entire project to fail from launching. There is an alternative route to creating a new venture.

Matter experts add that instead of starting with the question, “Where is there a gap in the market and how can I fill it?” ask yourself, “What do I have and who do I know?”

Monetise assets linked to aptitude, knowledge base

If you’re thinking about how to start a business with no money, you have resources at hand that you have yet to tap into. Your skills, knowledge, passion, and experience are the tools that could build your business.

So before money, locate where your interests and passions lie. These will be the foundation of the work you end up doing. Although money is essential, what you cannot do without is awareness and command of your inner resources. So start a list and compile what are all the resources in and around you that you can use for your business?

The downside of the low capital approach

Although there are many benefits to starting your entrepreneurial journey by asking “what do I have and who do I know?” there are also downsides to this approach which may require further action to overcome the negative consequences.

It becomes difficult to scale the business because the owner only has so many hours a day to keep selling his services. It also becomes difficult to sell the business because it is worth very little without the owner and there is a risk that the owner may become overworked and burn out.

To overcome these challenges, experts view that entrepreneurs should focus on training a few others to be able to replicate it, at least initially. They should also aim to systematise as much as possible in the business – creating systems and processes to do what they would otherwise have done.

Can you or can't you start a business without money?

You can start a business with little or no money, but that's not the same as starting without resources. In fact, the more resources you have, the less money you will need.

By resources, it includes a social circle, experience, studies and knowledge in general, the time available, the ability to see opportunities where no one else finds them, a business or crisis manual etc.

If you really don't have any money, there's only one way to start: ask for funds or work to get them. If you don't know about crowdfunding platforms and you think your idea won't be attractive enough, you should do some research on the reputed business projects that have been launched this way.

If your plan is to open up a storefront where you sell your hand-crafted wares, you can always start by selling them to friends and family. You can build up a reputation and get initial feedback. Then, you can sell them on a third-party website online. After that, you can move on to hosting your own site and store.

All start-ups require funding, even if not much

If you’re looking for more capital and have been operating on a shoestring budget, consider applying for a small business loan. Banks and online lenders offer differing kinds of small business loans to customers looking for extra cash flow or investment funds.

You can usually get more favourable terms with a traditional bank. Online lenders, however, are typically more lenient in their requirements. So, watch out for those high interest rates.

If you’re not looking for a lump sum loan amount, consider a business line of credit. In short, they’re like credit cards for your business. They’re good options for purchasing items on an as-needed basis.

Find out about potential angel investors

You’ve probably heard of angel investors, and with good reason. They come in when it’s time to scale your business beyond you, yourself, and the handful of loved ones who’ve bought in. Angel investors are usually among the first people outside the company to invest in a business.

Unlike outside firms or other venture capitalists, angel investors put down their own personal funds. They can also make for the best kind of mentors, since many are former/current entrepreneurs themselves.

Types of businesses that can be started for nearly nothing:

Starting a business with no money might seem impossible to many, but there are also many examples of business you can start without any money:

Selling domain names: All you need here is a little money, provided you are creative enough to come up with unique and interesting domain names. You can buy a domain name for as low as Dh44 to up to Dh300 and then sell it someone in need for as much as possible.

There have been many stories, proving that brands go to any lengths to own the domain name of their own brand. It might be tough to find a domain name of a brand that someone does not already own.

However, you can always come up with interesting and creative names that can fetch you good prices in the end. It’s practically free business, as whatever you will be spending will come bouncing back to you hardly in a couple of months.

Sell your talents: You should know that there is a kind of business to start with no money, and selling your talents is a vivid example. You can sell services like – research proposal writing service, website creating service, essay-writing service and anything that you are good at.

Once it works, you can start an agency or continue freelancing to boost your finances. You can always start selling parallel services that you’re good at as well.

Making money via marketing: Marketing is one field in which you can make a lot of money. There are guides online on how to start a business with no money, and marketing tops the charts in every single one of them. You can market and advertise other brands, businesses of other people, for small fee.

Many big brands are willing to even pay higher for professionals in this field. People who own popular Instagram channels and Facebook pages earn thousands of dirhams every month just by posting about brands that sponsor and pay them.

Instagram is a popular medium for many fashion brands to hunt for celebrities’ faces, and channels with high amount of followers.

Blog writing can earn you an income: You can have a blog where you post content, pictures, text. If that blog becomes popular, it can make you a lot of money.

Big brands and businesses always seek platforms to market themselves in places where there is a lot of visibility and large crowds. Once you are established, you can set a price. However, this is dependent on how long it can take to establish and brand your particular style of writing.

There has been reportedly a trend wherein websites can sell space per pixels, and companies buy some space on that page, which looked nothing but cluttered and overcrowded version of pop-up ads. While it did not look appealing, it does make money.

Verdict: Is it possible to start a low-cost business?

It is not difficult to understand how to start a small business with no money. It might be tough to do that, but it is not impossible. All you need to know is the market trend, and what drives demand.

Once you understand what is trending, and once you start working in that direction, you can make your business grow – but, all this is only possible with the right planning and timely decisions.