But we know it takes at least SOME money to start or grow a business.
So what's a home-based business owner to do if they want to start or expand their business?
There's plenty you can do without the assistance of a lending institution.
Start or work the business on a part-time basis. If you are still employed by someone else, hold on to your job as long as you can and determine how much money and time each week that you can devote to your business. Here are some ideas for assistance in working the business if you are employed full-time:
- Hire a freelancer or part-time person to answer phone calls and emails or for any other task.
- Solicit college students who are majoring in marketing to help you with marketing and public relations. To build your website, contact career colleges or schools and seek out students who are majoring in web design. The students may tackle your project for free as an internship or project.
If you have been self-employed full time and your finances are drying up, there are several avenues to pursue:
- Apply for full-time jobs and if you are fortunate to get a full-time job, make sure you stay focused on why you went back to work - to help finance your business. Word of caution: make sure when you are at work, you are doing your employer's work and not your own. A dear friend of mine recently got fired for using the company email to advertise her business. Use the aforementioned ideas regarding freelancers, part-timers and college students to keep your business going.
- Apply for part-time jobs and let your clients and customers know that the hours of your business have changed. With the economy being the way it is, not many people will question a reduction in your hours and as long as your customer service is great, a reduction in hours will not reflect poorly on your business.
Considering bartering with other entrepreneurs or solopreneurs. If you are a member of a social networking group, perform a search within the group for people who offer the service you need and are willing to barter in exchange for your expertise.Let's say you are a copywriter but you either don't have the time or the skill to create a newsletter for your subscriber list on a weekly basis. Check within your group for a virtual assistant who lists newsletter management as one of his/her services. Contact the virtual assistant and explain that you are looking to barter their virtual assistant services for your copywriting services.
The thing to remember is that everyone is an expert at something (yes, even you) and it's time to use your expertise to get what you need.
Research federal grant and vendor opportunities to see if the service or product you offer is something the federal government will buy or, if your product is service is something that can enhance your community.
Many people don't realize that the service or product you offer just could be what the government would award you a grant for. For example, based on the current economic situation, many people are being laid off and if these individuals have been in a certain industry that didn't require technical skills, to get back to work, these people are going to need computer training, assistance with how to complete job applications, interview tips - the list is endless. So, as an example, if your company offers computer training to individuals, you would research federal government grants to see if a grant opportunity exists for displaced workers. The next step would be to form a nonprofit corporation and then begin to apply for grants.
There are three things you must remember about federal government grants:
- You must carefully complete the grant application and give them everything they ask for in the grant application.
- Federal grants are usually issued on the state level. In other words, you may have to apply through a state or local agency to get the federal grant.
- You should never fall in the trap of buying into any federal grant funding scheme or scam. Do the research yourself and apply for the grant through either the federal government's website or the agency's website.
If you have done your market research, done all your homework and know you have a great viable business idea, you can also use your 401K as a means of starting your business.