Note: This is a guest post by John Cerasani, Author of Paid Training
and President of Northwest Comprehensive, Inc. based in Chicago. He works with small- to mid-sized employers nationwide. John helps small businesses compete and win as a start-up operation while going head-to-head against multimillion-dollar organizations.
With little help from a seemingly stagnant unemployment rate and recent graduates flooding an already meek job market, job seekers are left with little to no hope for securing stable positions.
However, the returning trend of “Mom and Pop” businesses has given many job seekers a way to control their own fate, even without having enough start-up money or enough small business loans. Chicago Entrepreneur and author of Paid Training, John Cerasani offers tips on how to start a business without money in the bank:
1. Partner Up
Determine your business’s niche or specialty and develop a partnership with an already existing company that your business can complement. For example, a graphic/web designer can align itself with a marketing company to enhance packages for potential marketing clients. When you find a way to partner with an existing company by adding a product or service that is complimentary to an existing customer base, the sky is the limit in terms of synergies in attracting and retaining additional clientele.
If working with tangible products, a start-up can eliminate the need for capital by outsourcing their products on a per-use basis. A company can wait until their product is purchased and then use that money to then manufacture the product. This practice can actually be implemented on a long term basis. There are plenty of ‘brands’ that exist that have nothing to do with the physical manufacturing of their products, this is a common practice in plenty of industries. This is also true for “value added” services that sometimes are necessary to offer clients. For instance, instead of having internal compliance/legal personnel for your clients– have a reputable law firm on retainer to use as needed. Make sure your clients are aware that the service is there and that your larger, more established competitors have no advantage over you in that regard.
3. Offer A Service
A great way to start a business without any cash flow is to open a service-oriented company. Consultants and brokers have little need for office space and even less need for manufacturing products, leaving them with a company based solely on their expertise. There are many companies that are desirable to customers based simply on the intellectual capital that the people at that company possess. Do you have knowledge or expertise in a certain industry that you can sell to others and provide value with?
4. Angel Investors
Sift through your network looking for financial backers who can help start your business. These investing enthusiasts tend to have a love for promising small business ideas and can often help an entrepreneur get on his/her feet. There are a number of websites looking to connect start-ups with these types of investors. Make sure you have a business plan in order and a feasible avenue for people to get a return on their investment prior to approaching any Angel Investors.
5. Group Funding
Group funding websites such as Kickstarter and Chipin.com have made themselves quite valuable in today’s “Mom and Pop” market. With a short profile video describing your business idea and fun perks for potential donors, entrepreneurs have a platform to raise funds without giving up control or percentages of their business.
So, the next time the entrepreneurial spirit hits you, don’t let your bank account get you down. With a multitude of options out there, just about any business can thrive, despite the market’s tough economy.