An MBA in entrepreneurship can give you the technical knowledge you need to start a business, but it won’t help you find the start-up capital. And while would be nice and easy to have a few wealthy investors, a fat line of credit, and maybe a rich old aunt who really likes you, the truth is you don’t need a lot of money to start a business in some cases.
Some of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs started out with next to nothing. You don’t need a ton of money to start a business. You just some knowledge, perseverance, a strong work ethic, and the ability to give your customers something that they want or need, be it a product or a service.
Sell Services Instead of Products
Funding is such a huge hurdle for so many would-be entrepreneurs because it takes money to develop, manufacturer, stock, and ship a product. Even if you’re selling products someone else has developed and manufactured, it still costs money to buy the inventory and rent a stockroom in which to keep it as well as a storefront from which to sell it. You can avoid incurring all these high overhead costs by selling a service, instead of a product. This is why it’s so important to know what the cost will be to start the business – not to mention how much you’ll need to live on.
What service will you sell? That depends on your skill set and background. Once you earn your MBA in entrepreneurship online, you’ll have the skills necessary to develop a successful business selling any service, whether it is housecleaning, dog walking, babysitting, or even personal shopping. If you have additional skills or education in your background, you may be able to start a business selling a more rarefied service like accounting, programming, or technical writing.
Take Advantage of Online Platforms to Sell Your Own Products
No matter what you’re selling, you can reach more customers if you take advantage of multiple online retail platforms to sell it. You can sell handmade objects on marketplaces like Etsy, Ebay, or Bonanza. You can promote services on platforms like Taskrabbit, Fiverr, Craigslist, Skillshare or Elance.
Online platforms allow you to sell your products or services without investing in a storefront or office space. Just make sure that if you’re selling actual products, you keep your online catalogs up to date.
Sell Products With Drop-Shipping
Drop-shipping companies allow you to sell a range of manufactured products without maintaining your own inventory of stock. Instead of shipping products from your own inventory, you pass along order and shipping information to a manufacturer who handles fulfillment. You’ll make money either by taking a retail markup, or by taking a commission on the sale.
With drop-shipping, you won’t need to invest lots of money up front on inventory, since you’ll only pay for items customers actually purchase. That way, you can offer your customers a wider range of products, and you’ll be able to run the business from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. If your business ultimately fails, you won’t be stuck with thousands of dollars’ worth of inventory to unload.
Look for Funding Everywhere
No matter how much you’re able to slash start-up and operating costs, you are going to need to find some money in order to start your business, even if it’s just a few hundred dollars. Look at new ways to use the resources you already have to generate cash flow; if you can expand your range of products or services, you might attract just enough new customers to make your business profitable and get the cash you need to expand.
Find out if your local economic development organization, or one of your local universities, offers a business incubator program to help you access the funding and resources you need. You might even try crowd funding your business idea if you think you have a product that will take off.
Too many aspiring entrepreneurs let a lack of funds stop them from starting the business of their dreams. But you don’t need a lot of money to start a business – just ask John Paul DeJoria, who co-founded Patron Tequila with only $700. Keep your operating costs as low as possible at the start and work hard, and soon you’ll find that your business is generating all the money it needs to grow and then some.
Photo courtesy of: Dan Moyle