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Starting a Business with No Money

When perusing small business articles, it is all too easy to imagine the response of some people who might like to start their own business but think that it's well out of their reach.

"This is all very well but how do I start my own business with no money?" you may ask. Well, it's easy to see how people on very low incomes (the unemployed, those only in part time work or on minimum wage) can feel trapped in their current circumstances and believe that the dream of owning their own business will almost certainly remain just that.

Fortunately, in this day and age that's no longer necessarily the case. There is in fact a great deal of help available - ranging from simple advice and support to financial aid - for both low income earners and others who may fit into the category of the disadvantaged (such as carers, former offenders, and the homeless) who wish to try and make it on their own.

Like anyone else considering setting up their own business, the first thing they need is, of course, a good idea. If you don't already have one as yet, then take a look at your skills, your likes, your dislikes and see if you can use those attributes as a way to find a business that could be to your liking.

Once you have an idea, you need to make sure that there is a market for the services or products you are planning to offer via your new business, and ensure there is not already such a degree of competition in this field that your new enterprise would have little to no chance of succeeding in a packed market.

There is also the question of what kind of business you would be interested in starting up - home based, co operative, or social enterprise? There is also a great deal to consider when ensuring that you know in advance the correct amount of tax and National Insurance that you will have to pay toward your new business.

This involves deciding what kind of legal structure you wish to set up. Options include Sole Trader (the simplest and most common way for small business owners, but involves personal liability), a Limited Liability Company (company finances remain strictly separate from your personal finances), Partnership (two people running a business together, with equal responsibilities, liabilities and share in the profits) or Limited Liability Partnership (almost the same as a Partnership but liability is limited to the amount each partner has invested in the business).

This might all sound a little too complicated, but fortunately, as stated above, there are many support groups out there ready to help people looking to start up their own business, including several that specifically target low income earners or the otherwise disadvantaged.

These groups can help you to deal with the issues raised above, as well as with writing a business plan, finding other means of support and helping you to find a network of people with similar issues or possibly even a business mentor to help you through.

Don't be fooled into thinking "I could never do that" just because of what appear to be dark circumstances. These days, almost anyone can, with the right attitude, assistance and advice, become a small business owner.


Nazir R. Daud - CityLocal UK & Ireland

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