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Five No Cost Methods to Start a Business

written by: W. A. Swan•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/1/2010

Everywhere you turn, people tell you about the need for money to start a business. While many types of business require startup capital, many more can be started for free. Various methods exist that are no cost ways to start a business.

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    Consignment

    This is one of the easier no cost ways to start a business. Consignment sales involve selling inventory for others. You are acting as the middleman between the consignor and the customer. For this service you gain a fee, or percentage of the sale. Often you will have a consignment agreement detailing how and where you will sell the inventory provided. Included in agreements is the percentage each party will have from the final sale; what happens if the inventory doesn’t sell; conditional requirements of the inventory to be sold such as age or physical condition; and how long inventory will be for sale.

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    Partnerships

    Partnerships can be an effective method to starting a business without money. This depends on various conditions: your expertise, the amount of financing being provided by the partner(s) and the percentage of ownership being given to the partner(s) providing financing. Using this method will result in some loss of control over how the business operates and how funds are spent.

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    Flea Markets and Yard Sales

    An old method to start a business for free is to sell off some of your own stuff. If you have old books, movies or clothes you can sell these to create a no cost way to start a business. The best way to do this is to hold a yard sale first; this allows you to use your own available space to sell items. Once you have the money to rent a booth at the flea market, you can expand to sell more items. Using these methods can create the initial funding while eliminating unwanted items or exposing future customers to your product.

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    Creating Product

    This is the most economical method to starting a business because you have complete control over the product. You can start as small as you need to keep costs to nothing. If you create an information product this becomes a no cost way to start a business. Recycling items into products is another method of generating funds while starting out. Crafters, contractors, instructors and service type businesses can create a product almost instantly without initial capital because they are most likely creating their product from a hobby already.

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    Online Sales

    One of the easiest no cost ways to start a business is to sell online. Start with sites such as eBay, Etsy and Craigslist. Sell a few items you have laying around the house to start raising initial capital. Purchase more items online and resell for a profit to gain more money. Create information products such as ebooks or CD’s that can be sold online. Use blogs to create your own sales page. Often online sales can become an important part of the business model.

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    The best case scenario if you are looking to start a business for free is to use a mix of these options. Creating your own product, and funding it through flea markets and online sales should result in enough capital to build a retail location. Service products can bypass this process by just using already available resources such as your basement, garage and vehicle.