Experts have suggested how to launch new business with no funding
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While money can be an invaluable asset to help launch a new business, there are ways to start out with no initial funding. In fact, self-funding calls for creative problem-solving that can actually result in greater success – personally and professionally. Express.co.uk spoke to experts to find out how to do this.
Helena Young, new business expert at startups.co.uk, said: “Scarcity breeds clarity. Some might view starting a business with less money as having one arm tied behind your back. But self-funding naturally calls for creative problem-solving that can result in strengthened branding and cash flow.”
From crowdfunding to freelancing, or even figuring out what assets a person already has to monetise, there are a number of low-cost ways to launch a new business.
Launching a business, especially for a low cost, requires being vigilant and observing any gaps in services or products within a chosen industry.
Peter Marshall, chief marketing officer at Add People, said that finding this niche will allow people to “procure income quickly”, and is therefore “essential”.
In addition, Mr Marshall added: “You should try to procure as many resources as possible for the lowest cost available. For example, your website should be hosted on an affordable website, before investing more money into it further down on the line.”
If industry gaps aren’t too apparent, people can also capitalise on their own niches and key strengths because, after all, there can never be too many excellent service offerings.
Cheryl MacDonald, founder of YogaBellies.com told Express.co.uk: “Identify your strengths. Take time to ask yourself, what do you love doing? If you don’t love doing it, your heart’s not going to be in it and you’re not going to work as hard.
“Look at your skills and experience. Ask yourself, what are you really good at? What do people tell you you’re good at? What do you enjoy doing? Then, make your business something that aligns with those strengths and passions.”
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Mr Marshall added: “In most cases, the best place to start is your CV, as you can look at all of your previous roles and make a list of overlapping duties or areas of expertise. By finding your niche, whether managing a team, using specialist software, or even being a ‘people person’, you will succeed in no time.”
Moneywise, Ms MacDonald continued: “You don’t need a tonne of money to start a business and you don’t need to quit your day job. Start offering things on a small scale, see how it goes and scale up later.
“I would suggest putting your business idea and offering out there before you spend months and months putting it together. For example, put together an advert or a webpage and see what kind of response you get from the initial idea before you spend all your time and money getting involved in it.”
Ms MacDonald also suggested people make use of their own network to gain clients. She said: “Speak with friends and family. Word of mouth is so powerful.”
There are also a number of various free sources to help build up and raise awareness, such as free social media tools like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Ms MacDonald said: “There’s also Business Gateway to make the most of, and online you’ll find loads of free business advice and tools that are available to everyone just by Googling.”
In recent years, all kinds of businesses have been using crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe and Crowdfunder to help acquire cash.
Mr Marshall said: “Using these websites is a great way to get an initial investment, especially if your startup idea is innovative and exciting.
“By appealing to individuals rather than investors you can retain the equity in your business and get your name into the public domain ASAP.”
Starting out as a freelancer is a low-cost and flexible way to start attracting and retaining customers or clients.
Mr Marshall said: “As you have no office overheads or staff, it is an excellent way to gain as much income and skills as possible in a short term.
“As a bonus, being a freelancer will not only allow you to gain the capital required to start your business, but it can also give you a great reputation within the relevant industry – meaning success from the get-go.”
Speaking on his own experience launching a business while also saving a lot of money in the process, Nick Swan, founder of tech start-up SEOTesting, a remote-first business based in Cornwall, said: “As a result [of being remote-first], we’re able to save a lot of money by not having an office, shop or warehouse.
“The cost of rent only seems to be going up and up, so I would tell other business leaders and start-up founders to consider adopting the same structure for their businesses, where possible. As an added bonus, remote working is also beneficial to employees – once you reach that stage – as they get to save money on eye-watering fuel prices.”
When it comes to websites and advertising service offerings, Mr Swan also suggests business leaders familiarise themselves with search engine optimisation (SEO) and define a well-thought organic marketing strategy.
He said: “The sooner that business owners sit up and understand the way that SEO can not only just transform a business’ prospects but actually save a company or brand in these tough times, the better.
“There’s a large divide between business owners that understand the importance of SEO to their businesses and those who don’t. SEO is intrinsically linked to brand awareness, reach and visibility, making it a massive asset to any owner utilising it correctly. Ultimately, it results in increased leads and sales.”
In an impatient bid to get rich quickly, Mr Swan said an “inexperienced start-up founder” might “rush to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising” to get fast results.
However, he noted: “Neglecting organic marketing will prove ineffective. A short-tail keyword or ‘head term’ is a search term between one and three words and covers a generalised topic. Landing on the first page of results for a short-tail keyword is extremely difficult for new businesses, as there’s already so much content on Google and other search engines.
“As such, long-tail keywords are crucial for businesses as users are more likely to be closer to a point-or-purchase when searching them. For example, searching for ‘pizza cutter’ is a short-tail keyword, while searching for ‘how to cut my pizza’ is a long-tail keyword.”
It’s important to be aware of and cover any legal steps required towards setting up a valid business, and these will be dependent on the industry and any relevant legislation within it.
Mr Marshall said: “For example, it is more difficult to set up a doctor’s practice than a retail site, so doing research ahead of time is essential.
“For any business, the next thing to do is register and get a licence, with all information necessary available at gov.co.uk.”
Following this, Mr Mashall said people could also look into hiring a lawyer to make sure there is “no stone unturned” when it comes to being complicit with the law.
Ms MacDonald added: “As a yoga teacher particularly but to all start-ups, I would advise people to keep learning. You don’t know everything – you can learn from others all the time, whether that’s your employees, colleagues, or customers. Keep growing and just stay up to date with developments in the industry and keep developing your skills and knowledge.”
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