How to start a business without money?

business without money
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Your head is full of ideas but your pockets are empty. The question is therefore: without money, how can you manage to set up your business? In the first half of 2018, nearly 13% of business creators started their activity without any financial means (excluding micro-entrepreneurs). A proportion which amounted to 27% for the category of individual entrepreneurs alone (source: Insee Première, Business creators of 2018, September 29, 2020).

Like them, do you want to embark on the adventure of creating a business? Here are our tips for successfully starting your business without personal input.

This is the ba-ba of entrepreneurial ambition. The business plan is the roadmap and the compass of the entrepreneur who wishes to create his business, especially in the absence of personal input. Its writing must be the result of a process of reflection and maturation of your project. This document is the major part of your financing application files, because it is your argument for banks and potential business angels.

The business plan must

summarize the identity and purpose of the company you are creating, its manufacturing-creation process

present a market study

detail your development strategy, and of course, your objectives and financial needs.

The more careful your business plan is, the more chances you put on your side to obtain the loans or raise the funds which will allow you to concretize your business creation project without personal contribution.

Do you want to apply for funding but lack the support for your business creation project? No problem. Under French law, and with the exception of the SA (public limited company), all forms of company allow you to create your business without share capital.

Depending on your initial situation, some statuses will however be more suitable than others for your project.

Sole proprietorship or company: how to make the right choice?

if you are a solo entrepreneur, you can opt for the simplified micro-enterprise regime, that of the sole proprietorship or the EURL (individual enterprise with limited liability);

if you are starting out with several people or intend to join forces in the near future, you can create a SARL (limited liability company), an SAS or a SASU (simplified joint-stock company/single-person simplified joint-stock company).

In 2022, a single legal status of individual entrepreneur should be created for the sake of simplification, leading to the disappearance of the status of EIRL. The transition from a sole proprietorship to a company should also be facilitated. These measures are part of the Independent plan presented by Emmanuel Macron in September 2021.

To help you choose the right status for your situation, find the useful information in this comparison of the 5 legal business statuses .

Obtain public aid and subsidies to open your business without personal contribution

Even with a limited professional network and a modest economic situation, it is possible to find sources of financing to set up a business and thus make up for your lack of personal contribution. In 2018, nearly 4 out of 10 business creators had thus benefited from at least 1 aid scheme (source: Insee Première, Les Créateurs d’Entreprises de 2018, 29 September 2020).

More concretely, you can, for example, apply for public aid such as “loans of honor” from organizations such as Initiative France, Réseau Entreprendre or chambers of commerce and industry. The Regions sometimes also offer them.

If you are a job seeker, it is possible to benefit from aid in the form of capital (Arce, aid for the takeover or creation of a business) or the maintenance of your unemployment benefit in parallel with the launch of your new activity (Are, return-to-work assistance).

Another solution: to dig the track of European financing, the EU participating in the establishment of certain loans and microcredits for business creators.

For more information, consult the websites (managed by CMA France) or Their search engines will allow you to find aid suited to your needs (business creation, innovation, investment in equipment, etc.), your sector of activity and your geographical location. It also lists the competitions and calls for projects open to business creators, some of which provide financial allocations for the winners.

Use love money and crowdfunding

How to start your business without money? You can ask your relatives to invest in the creation of your structure by financing part of its own funds. This call for personal and family funding is nicknamed the Love Money, “the money of love”.

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