How to Start a Business for Free [CNN]

But after spending months, or even years, meticulously fine-tuning your unique selling point — the heavy lifting starts. Building a business takes an enormous investment in time and money, both of which can be in short supply for a budding entrepreneur.

While established businesspeople advise not to skimp on fundamental elements of a business such as financial and legal advice, there are free resources which can help entrepreneurs save some much needed cash.

Here are five things you can do to help lift your start-up off the ground without spending any money at all.

Business plan – BPlans offer free sample business plans for several categories, so whether you're opening a bakery, beauty salon or a software firm, there's a plan for you. Banks and charities also often offer template business plans. If you live in the United States, your local Chamber of Commerce is a good source for free consulting for those first steps you take toward building a company.

Co-working space – Some charge a fee but others offer space in lieu of non-monetary compensation, like the Wix Lounge in New York which hosts start-ups who use the Wix website platform. And from France to India, the Free Coworking Directory lists places across the globe that will welcome entrepreneurs for no charge at all.

Marketing – Having a lively and responsive Twitter and Facebook company page is a great way of raising the profile of your start-up, especially as an increasing number of people reach for social media first if they have a comment or a query. Google Analytics can give you understanding of how people are using your company's website, and assist you in crafting your strategy.

Mentorship – But finding an online mentor through a website like Find a Mentor can also prove successful. It hosts a database of mentors in areas from business and advertising to art and entertainment, and one day when you've made it you can pay it forward by signing up to pass on your accumulated wisdom to others.

Organization – With digital tools like Evernote you can archive notes, receipts, save interesting articles or snap and upload pictures. The service works across several devices, so you access your records from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Curated from “Tired of the 9 to 5? This is how to start a business for free [CNN]


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