There’s a common belief that you don’t need money to start and grow a company or business — at least, not for the first few years. We believe otherwise. In fact, there has never been anything better timed than today for someone who wants to be their own boss and take control of their life and future. And, as it turns out, no amount of cash can buy them freedom.

1. Choose the right industry

The choice of your niche is crucial before you even have money in your pocket. There’s always room for growth when you choose an area where you can make a significant impact on your customers and add value to your product offerings. If you decide to launch a new product, look through some competition to see what they offer. Once you’ve identified your chosen market, focus on providing high-quality products and services to meet consumer needs.

2. Invest in technology and equipment

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to need both software, which will help you run your business smoothly, and hardware, such as computers and printers, to deliver these end-to-end solutions. It also means hiring employees, so we recommend having a small payroll budget at least for now.

3. Get funding and secure funding

Once you identify your product or service’s major market and target audience, start getting serious about securing funding. Funding sources include individual investors (i.e., angel investments), VCs (i.e., venture capitalists), strategic partners, lenders, family offices, friends, banks and financial institutions, etc., depending on how much capital you already have. Make sure you find a way to get past the “no, really?” phase when meeting with investors and ensure you’ve secured financing before asking for more money from them. Also, consider making use of free finance tools like SeedInvest or Finacraft and setting aside up to 5% of your monthly income, depending on the type of startup you’re trying to build. You’ll also need to find a way to generate revenue, either by raising funds from existing customers or using ads or other marketing strategies to increase traffic. Finally, don’t forget about working with experienced entrepreneurs looking for partnership opportunities. They might be able to provide valuable insights on best practices and strategies to help accelerate your business’ growth from scratch.

4. Set-up operations

Now that you have the key resources to fund your operation — namely, funding and staff — it’s time to set up all the infrastructure required to operate a company with minimal overhead costs. This includes everything from website design and hosting to accounting and management systems. For each part of the setup, aim to cut costs to reach profit margins while maintaining your brand identity.

5. Scale your activities

Once you’ve built up a strong foundation, scaling up your activity should only begin once you’ve achieved profitability. That’s because profits are what allow startups to grow into larger corporations and gain scale. Nowadays, starting a big business can take anywhere between 1-5 years before reaching profitability, but things change quickly depending on several factors, including industry competition and customer demand.

If you’re thinking of launching a business, remember things like innovation at every step along the way. Our experience shows that most people who start businesses fail from the beginning, yet many of those who do succeed eventually wind up scrapping their plans after failing to achieve initial goals. So let’s face it, you’ve got this!

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