Start a Business With Little or No Money – Part 1


As I write, the world is currently in the grip of a global pandemic.

COVID-19, is currently causing turmoil in the global economy.

To halt, or at very least suppress, the spread of, infection, governments in many countries are telling citizens to stay home .

Non-essential businesses are closing their doors with no idea when they might reopen.

For some this means either furlough or dismissal for employees.

If this has happened to you, now might be a good time to consider your next career move.

Will you seek to go back into full time employment?

Or join the millions of people who have learned the only sure way to never be fired or laid off is to be the boss.

The best way to be the boss is to start your own business.

That is where Link Management Group started back in 1998.

My co-founder and I started the company with a mission to help and support people leaving full-time employment to start their own business.

Specifically, those people delivering a professional service.

And in this time of crisis, that is what we are going to do now.

We’re going back to basics.

If you are at a point in your life where you want to start your own business, we’re here to help and guide you.

Two Basic Questions

The two big questions you should ask yourself before starting any business are:

1. Is this the right time to start a business?
2. What type of business should I start?

Is there a “right time” to start a business?

A popular Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

This means if you want success and growth in the future, the best time to act is now.

So now is as good a time as any.

So let’s address the second question….

What type of business should you start?

Starting any business contains an element of risk.

Risk of making the wrong decision.

Risk of wasting your time.

Risk of losing your initial investment and running out of savings.

These are real risks at any time, but especially when the economy is on a downturn.

But did you know that businesses which start in times of economic uncertainty, are those which survive the longest? .

In fact economic downturns offer startups certain advantages.

Everything you need to fuel your business will cost you less when times are tough.

An entrepreneur’s two most valuable resources are her time and money.

“But I do not have very much money, if any.” you say?

Well, not every new business needs a massive investment to get going.

Over the next few weeks I will be giving you some ideas about service businesses that you can start for little or no money at all.

Many of these businesses serve basic human needs.

Things that people always need.

This means they should be recession-proof.

None of my suggestions are get-rich-quick schemes.

I am not claiming you will make five grand a month from the very beginning.

Or that you will be able to retire young.

I am telling you, that no matter how much or how little money you have, you should still be able to start these businesses without much fuss.

So what is the catch?

Well, the only thing that you might consider a “catch” is that you will need the skills and motivation necessary to deliver the service.

Do not start up a dog grooming business if you do not know how to groom dogs.

The key is finding something which interests you.

Something where you feel you could do a good job.

Perhaps you can immediately think of the perfect service business for you.

But if you are struggling for inspiration, here are a few example businesses can your start with little or no money:

House and Office Cleaning Business

This business requires little or no money to start.

The only thing you will need is the skills to clean (which everyone should have), and the cleaning supplies to do it with.

For your first client you can use the cleaning supplies you already own. As you get paid by that client you can then buy more supplies.

If you do not already own cleaning supplies, the basics won’t cost you much.

You don’t even need to buy them until you have got your first client.

Advertising a cleaning business is simple.

Place an ad in the local paper.

Pin a notice in a local store.

Create a printed flyer and hand-deliver it to houses and businesses in the area in which you would like to work.

Stand out from the crowd by offering a free quote in all your adverts.

Potential clients will call, you take a trip to their house or office.

Then analyse the effort required and give them your price.

Laundry Business

This is business where you can take a skill that you should already have, and then put it to good use.

Your target customers are the people who do not have the skill, time, or the energy to do it themselves.

Offering a pick up and delivery laundry service involves picking up someone’s laundry, washing and drying the clothes, folding, and returning the clothes to their house.

You could even offer ironing as a premium service.

The only thing you will need to get started is the soap to wash the clothes.

You don’t even need your own washing and drying machines because you can use the local laundrette.

This business is valuable to bachelor men, and busy, working moms.

So advertise in places that would attract this type of person, such as a gym, a coffee shop, or in the reception area of office buildings.

Alteration Service

If you have basic sewing skills, then you may want to consider starting an alteration service.

Alteration could mean hemming pants, changing seams, or dying clothes.

The only things you may need to buy are various colours of thread, needles.

You might also need a sewing machine if you are planning on taking on larger jobs.

Since your main focus will be clothing, you will want to advertise at local clothing shops or department stores.

If your local laundrette has a notice board you could advertise there too.

Finally, think about businesses you could work with to get clients.

For example a business that supplies uniforms to its employees.

Such businesses include restaurants, hotels, car hire agencies, healthcare providers.

Even local government such as the Post Office, Police and Fire Service.

Businesses and agencies can recommend you to employees who need their uniforms altered.

In Part Two of this series we’ll take a look at a couple of personal services which are simple to offer and are always in demand.

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Written by 

Co-Founder & CEO of Link Management Group. An Investor & Coach to Small Business Owners, for the past 30 years I have helped startup and early-stage businesses to enter new markets and achieve sustainable growth of both revenue and profits. I have experience across a diverse range of sectors including central government, information services, software, health insurance, pet products, couture fashion, entertainment and aviation.  How can I help your organisation accelerate growth and achieve its full potential? 

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