It has never been easier to start your own business than right now: The rise of the online side hustle has allowed countless entrepreneurs the opportunity to make their dreams reality.
Yet, perhaps your dream is looking like it will cost more than you can afford right now – and you can’t think of a way to get the money you need for it.
Other than starting a side hustle to pursue your side hustle – yes, people do it every day – there are a few ways for you to start up your business with minimal investment funds and build from there.
Find a Low Investment Niche
The first step to starting your business is finding your niche market. There are some important questions to ask as you are figuring out just where to go with your business.
- What are you good at doing?
- What are you passionate about?
- Who do you want to provide products and services for?
- What areas of the market can you corner which no one else is yet?
- What do you offer that your competitors lack?
Another thing to keep in mind is – how much does it cost you? You are, after all, searching for a business idea that doesn’t require huge investments.
Knowing who you and why you do what you do is crucial to figuring out just how to do it. Once you find your niche market, then the real research begins – you need to see what your competitors are doing – what they are good at and what they lack.
Efficiency is key to starting a business with minimal capital. By looking at your competitors within a niche, you can learn from their investment mistakes instead of your own.
This will save you time and lots of money.
Save Money by Investing in the Right Technology
Speaking of saving money, one of the greatest ways to improve your online business’ efficiency without bleeding money is through the use of technology.
It might seem counter-intuitive to invest in tech if you are trying not to spend money in the first place, but the right technology will help you set up business operations the right way from the very start. Businesses are migrating to the cloud because is it offers more efficient collaboration and better continuity.
How does that help?
It frees up your time, and time is money.
Depending on your niche, you can pick and choose which technology will bring you the most benefit – is it planning, development, or maybe production that could benefit from the right tech stack?
For example, if your niche requires you to be super active on social networks, a product like Hootsuite is ideal for scheduling out social media posts and interactions.
You will create a consistent online presence without having to manually post every single update to every network.
This saves time and energy which you can funnel into other pursuits. You will still have to create the content you put in the queue, but once it’s in line, it will be posted according to the schedule you have set up.
Using Hootsuite and similar applications will also help you to optimize your mobile e-commerce sales. Social media is mostly consumed on smartphones and other portable devices.
Advertisements and content interacted with on the go are more likely to generate sales than any other form of online advertisement. Therefore, social media optimization is a must.
Look at Services Rather than Products
Last, if you are looking to slash your startup costs, shift your focus from products to services.
Products require materials, manufacturing and delivery fees. Services require only time, and depending on the service, a stable internet connection.
For example, my first business was a tutoring business during my high-school years. My only startup costs were a few notebooks, pencils, and the time to reach out to schools to advertise my services.
In a few weeks, I had my clients list and worked with kids from the local Jr. Highs. My investment – the notebooks and pencils – were paid back in a single session.
So instead of starting with a product, you should start with a service that is related to your product. Consultations and support services are an excellent beginning point, as they give you access to your ideal consumer.
Couple that with some high-quality blogging, and you’ll be able to get all the data you need on your ideal customers. Then when the time is right, plant the seeds for the product you are going to be developing at a later stage.
Once your product is developed, it will answer all their needs because you played the long game.
Your Dream Business Lies Just Outside the Box
Developing an online business with minimal investments requires ingenuity and the ability to think outside of the box.
Besides, raising capital to begin your venture is easy nowadays, with services as Patreon or Go Fund Me, and even good old traditional loans help.
Know exactly who you are, what you want to do, and why you want to do it. It will help you determine what crucial elements you need to succeed, which will allow you to streamline your business process and zero in on your target market.
This will lead to quicker sales and brand recognition which will help you make your initial investments back quickly.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Follow her on Twitter