Journal logo

How To Start a Business With No Money

The first thing you'll need to do is change your mindset.

By Odedele BadiruPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

Let me start by clarifying. You can't launch a business with no capital. I only need to get in touch with those for whom it appears to be their only choice.

Maybe "It doesn't take an inheritance to establish a credible, high-growth firm anymore" would be a better heading. Since too many people start incorrect businesses and fail as a result,

Before I understood what the startup concept was about, I traveled along that path when I was younger. I believed that launching a firm required obtaining seed capital from venture investors to hire staff who could grasp the technology and create the business machine I envisioned.

That is accurate. When most people hear the phrase "startup," they envision this path. Additionally, when those who are new to entrepreneurship are exposed to the realities of that career path, they perceive the entry obstacles as insurmountable.

They have no idea what a pitch deck is and don't have any connections to the people they should be pitching to. They finally give up. Or, much worse, they adopt a drop-ship, multi-level, paint-by-numbers strategy. And it backfires on them because the only goal of the business is to generate revenue for the scheme and is not intended to be a business for them.

But there are many other ways to launch a business than the pitch-deck-to-VC-to-IPO approach. In reality, by simply dividing the term "startup" along a single axis, you may place the "machine" startup and the "mission" startup side by side.

1. Mission Startups Versus Machine Startups

I don't mean "mission" in the sense of charitable endeavors. I use the word "mission" to refer to the process of employing available resources to solve a problem. For the record, both a machine startup and a mission startup require a lot of study and labor.

The difference is that learning and hard effort now go into the building, selling, and scaling rather than learning how to pitch, hire, and run a board meeting. Every respectable business owner establishes and sells and scales it. Unless you're simply interested in making money, in which case you might have stopped reading this article when I indicated that it costs more than nothing to get started.

During the nearly three decades of my entrepreneurial career, I have concurrently lived in the machine and purpose startup worlds, sometimes doing both at the same time. Here are the lessons I've learned from attempting to create something from nothing.

2. Adapt Your Viewpoint

I don't want to seem preachy, but if you're going to start your business with a mission, you need to decide what that is. It's a challenge to reduce everything to just one idea. In light of this, you must not skip it.

My first business, Bedi Media, had the goal of exposing excellent writing only based on the work itself. My most recent business, Teaching Startup, aims to develop more and better entrepreneurs by providing startup guidance at a reasonable price.

Everything I do is in line with this objective, and I have realistic, even-tempered expectations for how these two missions—one based on writing and the other on entrepreneurship—will develop.

3. Improve Your Approach

The product is crucial when a business is first starting up. The utility of a product can be improved once you gain traction if you can create one that serves a large number of clients and is outstanding.

At Automated Insights, we did this. To create a product, we first had to find out how to program computers to create content from data. Before we made our first product sale, we raised more than $1 million.

With a mission startup, you must demonstrate that your original solution to the customer's problem will work before you develop a product around it, and here is where most mission startups fail since it is a chicken-and-egg situation.

Thankfully, ideas like minimal viable products exist. Without using any of the expensive automation, you may test the viability of your solution in a real market with real customers and real money.

You don't have much time to squander because that will take some time.

4. Learn the Low Code and No-Code

Whatever you're producing, you'll need to rely on innovation and technology to get a competitive advantage.

There are numerous third-party suppliers (Hubspot, Salesforce, Shopify, Zendesk) that may place your business on somewhat of an equal footing with larger organizations in areas like marketing, sales, eCommerce, and customer care. However, you will only get there partially thanks to such sources.

You can organize your information around a single point, such as a website or even just a database, with the aid of no-code and low-code solutions.

Additionally, no-code and low-code will enable you to create internal apps that will support innovation, whether that innovation is incorporated into the product itself or simply in the delivery and access methods.

5. Get Sustainable and Look for Catalysts

The most crucial query for a mission startup is this: What features can you incorporate into your business model to ensure its viability indefinitely until you identify one or more catalysts that can serve as growth accelerants?

For instance, I can keep running a Teaching Startup "forever" or for as long as I can get business owners to ask me questions that I and others can respond to. It requires no maintenance, is not my main source of revenue, and almost all of the "stuff" required to sell and deliver the "product" is automated using no-code and low-code.

It took me some time to get here, but that allows me to spend the majority of my time thinking about how to increase the product's value more broadly and to more people. I do this by searching for drivers that can propel the business to a higher level, such as new features, bigger clients, strategic alliances, better marketing tools, etc.

6. Plan To Expand Slowly

On paper, starting up a business is easy. Raise money, spend it, go raise more money, and keep doing this till you leave. In reality, it's much more challenging.

The reverse is true of a mission startup. Although there is no one right technique to scale expansion, if you have a plan in writing, it is much simpler to carry out and maintain.

It simply takes an absurdly long time.

To launch a machine company, you'll need to find one catalyst after another, just as you would need to raise money in successive rounds. Additionally, just as the founders of machine businesses must continuously guard against unfavorable funding conditions and investor demands, the founders of mission startups must be alert about avoiding dishonest partners and clients who make grand promises but never deliver.

Two routes lead to the same location. Both have the potential for both danger and reward. One is simply a lot more feasible for the majority of individuals. Additionally, a mission startup can—but need not—transform into a machine startup.

No matter whatever route you choose, failure will always be present. The worst type of failure, though, is when you fail at something you detest because you feel that there is too much of a barrier to doing what you want to accomplish.


About the Creator

Odedele Badiru

Odedele Badru is a freelance content marketer who promotes growth of businesses. His articles have appeared on a number of websites, including BusinessDaily, Entrepreneur. He holds both a marketing and public relations diploma and an MBA.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.