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Question added to topic FranchisesApril 25, 2011

Can I Start a Business with No Startup Capital?

I am an electrical engineer and want to be my own boss. But how can I start a business if I have zero capital to work with?
Of course you can start some kinds of businesses with no capital. Service businesses tend to need a lot less capital than product businesses. Professional service businesses such as graphic arts, management consulting, engineering consulting, accounting and similar businesses don't need a lot of capital.

If you have clients -- as in work to do and clients to bill for it -- you can get going very fast.

I'm not an electrical engineer, but I have to assume you can start your own business as an electrical engineer for hire, as a consultant, without needing much more than your expertise and credentials. Will your business require equipment such as a computer? Will you need a marketing budget? You might, but then again you might be able to start your consulting business simply by calling a few contacts and getting hired.

Also, put yourself on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, if you haven't already. Those are all free avenues for finding customers.

Related: Deciding Whom to Ask for Money
Related: How to Keep Family and Friends Loans Strictly Business
Related: How to Approach Lenders Now
Tim Berry is the president of Palo Alto Software Inc., based in Eugene, Ore., which produces business planning software. He is also the author of 3 Weeks to Startup and The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press.

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