Ask someone what you need to do to start a business, and they’ll likely tell you that you need to get a business loan. While this is an essential step for some business types (primarily those who are trying to sell a physical product that is expensive to produce and keep in stock), there are actually many types of businesses that you can start without plunging yourself into debt.
It takes a little bit of work and some careful planning, but if you’re looking to start a business, here’s how you can do it without taking out a major business loan.
You are going to need some money to start your business, no matter what that business may be. You will likely need to purchase business cards, a website, and a few other business staples to get yourself off the ground. So if you don’t want to borrow money, you’ll have to save money to self-fund your new business.
This means you’re going to have to cut back and make personal sacrifices. The first step to doing this is to set up a savings account specifically for your business. When you get a paycheck from your current job, put money into that savings account before you do anything else. Better yet, set up automatic deductions.
As the U.S. Small Business Administration explains, automatic deductions work even better, because you can’t forget to pay into your savings account or make excuses for not doing it. “It causes you to work with what remains in your paycheck to meet your living expenses.” You’ll have to set a budget to live with your smaller income, but it’ll pay off when you get your new business off the ground.
Choosing the right kind of business is also an important part in starting a business that’s free of debt. As mentioned, some businesses will always have a high overhead cost. But with the widespread use of the internet, there are endless options for low-cost startups. Products and services can be offered online, helping you avoid the overhead of an office, and you can hold meetings at your clients’ locations. Not only is it less expensive for you, but many clients actually prefer it this way, as it’s convenient for them.
If you’re not sure what kind of business you can start for a minimal startup cost, Small Business Trends offers a list of 25 business that you can start for less than $100. And remember, a low startup cost doesn’t mean low returns. Dating website eFlirt.com was started with $50 and a Twitter account, and is now worth millions.
One popular choice for young entrepreneurs these days is to start a business consulting firm. It’s a business model that can be started with very minimal funding, teaches new entrepreneurs about cash flow and marketing, and according to successful entrepreneurs Sam Ovens and Richard Lorenzen, it’s the best way to learn sales and marketing from the ground up.
So you start a business for a minimal cost, and you land your first client. Don’t immediately turn around and put all that income into your personal account. When you’re just starting out, you need to worry less about paying yourself and more about growing your business. So for the first year, the majority of your business’s income should go right back into the company.
Use those funds for marketing, new product, and other investments that will help your company to grow. You’ll have to tighten your belt for a while, but as your company grows, you’ll be able to pay yourself more over time.
So if you’re dreaming of starting a business, don’t let fear of debt keep you from pursuing it. You can easily start a business without taking out a loan by following these principles.