Do you have a business idea you believe is worth millions of dollars? You are not alone. In an era where simple ideas like disappearing photos are being turned into billion-dollar companies, millions of people believe they have the next big thing.
To turn your business idea to a thriving business, you will need a combination of things. You will need a good team, a good website, a good business plan, and above all, starting capital.
Most upcoming entrepreneurs I meet tend to complain about the latter. They wonder how they are going to manufacture, patent, and market their products.
Surprisingly, the most successful entrepreneurs of our time struggled through this. Steve Jobs, John Paul DeJoria, Sam Walton, and Ray Dalio all started their companies with no money.
I bet you have heard stories about all companies that were started in garages.
Here is a simple guide to help you turn your idea into a booming business with no money.
Keep Your Current Job
If you have a job with a steady source of income, you should avoid the temptation of quitting to start your business.
Instead, you should work on your business idea while working in your new job. This will be tough, but it is impossible to succeed in business without making the sacrifice of time.
Keeping your job will give you an opportunity to work on and refine your business idea while having a regular flow of money to pay your bills.
Alternative Sources of Funds
As you keep your current job, you should also strive to find other sources of money to supplement your regular salary.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can do that. For example, you can drive for Uber, answer simple surveys using Inbox Dollars, answer simple trivia questions using HQ Trivia, and rent out your house using AirBnb.
These tasks will give you good money to start your company. In fact, some successful entrepreneurs like Oprah, Warren Buffet and Mark Cuban started their companies with money made from odd jobs like delivering papers.
Cut Costs by DIY
When starting a company, you will often find it useful to outsource some duties like logo and website design.
Sadly, some of these tasks don’t come cheap. A professional logo design can cost you hundreds of dollars while a good website can cost you thousands of dollars.
Instead of spending money on all this, you can do it yourself. You can create a website for free by learning WordPress or by using companies like Wix and Weebly. You can also use free online platforms like Logomkr to create your logo.
Simply said, you should do your best to do things yourself instead of using subcontractors.
Do your Research
A common problem I see with many entrepreneurs is starting businesses without doing any research.
For example, recently, a friend tried to start an online marketplace where people could buy movie and sports tickets. To him, this was a good business with no competition.
After sharing his idea, I showed him all the companies he would compete with, the price he would need to pay for online ads, and the barriers to entry. Understandably, this was not music to his ears. After a few days, he came up with a new, simpler and less competitive business idea that he is working on.
Before you start your business, do your research. Ask yourself these questions:
What makes my business unique?What are the customer acquisition costs?What is the size of the market?Which companies will I compete with?Do I have a patent for the business?
Starting a business is like planting a seed. Farmers plant a seed, water it, and wait for it to bear fruits.
All companies you see around started as seeds. Years ago, Steve Jobs started Apple as a small company. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a platform for college students to communicate.
As an entrepreneur, you should start small. Build your product, start selling to people close to you, get feedback from the customers, and implement the feedback.
If your product is good, these people will start referring other people to the product and before you know it, it will be a really big company. This is how all companies start.
If you start small and your product sells well, you now have a proof of concept. Now is the time to grow the business by attracting funding from family, friends and external investors.
If you have a good and unique business, people will always want to invest in it. They will either offer you debt or equity financing. In the former, they will give you a loan, while in the latter, they will become shareholders of your business.
In our country, investors are always searching for companies to invest in. I recommend that you reach out to venture capital firms like Google Ventures, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Greylock Partners among others. You can also give Shark Tank a try.
Another alternative to venture capital is crowdfunding using sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter.
To get investments, you should do the following:
Present your business in the simplest way.Tell investors about the problem you are solving.Talk about your competitive advantage.Tell them about your patents.Describe your growth strategy in clear terms.Give investors a fair value of your company.
Quit Your Job and Grow
If you had not quit your job, now is the best time to do it. To do this, I recommend that you send a respectful resignation letter to your company and explain to them why you are doing this. Thank them for giving you a chance.
It is possible to start a successful business from scratch. In fact, people who start businesses with a lot of money tend to fail because of complacency. Remember that starting a company is often a slow process. It took years before companies like Google and Facebook started making money. Therefore, if you are to become successful, you should have traits like being patient, perseverance, and hard working.