In an economic slump like the one we are currently experiencing, many people are starting small businesses. It is said that the most lasting businesses start in times of extreme economic turmoil. You can start a profitable business with little or no startup capital. Whether you are looking to create an online or offline business, a little financial ingenuity goes a long way in starting a business.
If you are in a services business for example, you can take advantage of flexible vendor contracts. These are vary popular with consultants who sell software services to customers or retailers. If it takes you 45 days to get paid from your customer, use a net 90 agreement with your vendor to pay them 90 days after you purchase your goods. You can also take advantage of small business loans through the SBA. Small business loans through the SBA are usually small, at around 10-30,000 for first time entrepreneurs.
Starting an online business is an even more cost effective way to start a business. Gone are the days that you had to shell out 30,000 for servers. With hosted solutions and opensource software, you can easily start an online business incredibly cheap. You can outsource a lot of web development to Philippines or India, as long as you are careful to control the quality.
For labor, many people use college interns in need of college credit. College students are by and large and underused resource for startups. College students are incredibly bright and mostly extremely motivated.
Another way to go about it is to start using credit cards. This can be an extremely dangerous alternative if you are in a business that does not have strong cash flow. Many internet businesses started with credit cards. Just be careful when you are using this strategy.
As long as you are creative and persistent, you can start a company inexpensively in most industries. Some industries such as biotech or clean energy obviously require a much high capital investment.