First of all, let’s be clear: you are the business. Any business you create and conduct is an extension of you, your passion and your practices. If you’re reading this as a writer or any kind of creative, you should be doubly mindful of your creativity and yourself as a business.
It’s entirely possible to start a business from nothing, because good business stems from good knowledge. In the age of information, good knowledge is free and available 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection. The trick is to replace what you watch on a daily basis – like prime time TV – with videos about your industry, geared towards increasing your knowledge. A good mental diet is even more important than a good physical, nutritional diet – so what are you feeding your mind?
Good business solves a problem in people’s lives, and does it by providing more value to its customers than the value of the money in their hand. It’s not just a fair trade; the transaction is weighted in favour of the customer. The business over-delivers on value to solve its customers’ problems, to the point where the customer has greater need for the product or service to improve their life than they have the need for the money in their hand.
Along with getting the right information and the right knowledge to grow your business – both of which you can get for free through channels like YouTube, with enough conviction and daily discipline – it’s also important to set high personal standards.
Gordon Ramsay for example, one of the world’s top chefs, sets exceptionally high standards for his food. He trains his staff to those same exceptional standards, and upholds those standards fiercely because they’re the flesh and blood of his success. And: standards cost nothing.
With the right knowledge (free online from top business mentors), the right approach (being in it to serve your customer, solve their problem and over-deliver on value) and the right standards in what you sell, create or produce, it’s entirely possible to see growing success for your business without spending a penny.
(Just remember that, as you grow, you will indeed need to spend a penny.)