Starting a company and owning your own business is the foundation of the American dream, but it’s difficult, it’s stressful, and yes – it’s expensive. You might think you need an M.B.A. and a stack of cash to make it happen, but it’s actually possible to start your own business without using any of your own money at all. Here’s how first-time entrepreneurs in East Texas can start a business with no money.
Get Funding For Your Small Business
It’s impossible to operate a business without any money at all, so the trick is determining where your funding will come from. Luckily, East Texas is one of the friendliest places in the country for small businesses and resources exist to provide grants, loans, and investment opportunities to entrepreneurs. If you can’t spend money out of your own pocket, you need to put in the work to secure initial funding from other sources.
East Texas Business Grants
Small business grants are money that’s provided for the purpose of starting a business. Unlike a loan, you don’t have to pay back a grant, but the competition is fierce. If you want to compete for a grant, you’ll need to create a rock solid business plan and learn how to pitch your idea like a pro. Reach out to organizations dedicated to helping small businesses in Texas for help. One such organization is SCORE, which has location in Tyler and Mount Pleasant.
Small Business Loans
Like any loan, you shouldn’t take out a small business loan without a plan to pay it back. But if your business plan is airtight and funding is the only thing standing between you and your new business, you should consider small business financing options in Texas. A small business loan is a loan structured to meet the needs of small businesses. SBA Loans, also known as Small Business Administration 7(a) loans, are loans that are guaranteed by a federal agency. This makes it possible for you to secure a loan with terms and rates that are more favorable than a personal loan would be.
You can avoid or supplement funding from a small business loan by seeking investors in East Texas. This could be as simple as approaching friends or family members who believe in your vision. It’s also possible to network with your local rotary club or small business development centers to find individuals who are willing to take a risk on a promising new venture. If you decide to pursue this route, you would be wise to seek legal advice and document everything very carefully. It’s important to set clear expectations at the beginning of any financial relationship.
Build Up Savings
If you’re starting from zero, it might be best to take a beat and save some money before you pursue a new business. Keep your day job, find a side hustle, and cut expenses like crazy. Don’t put your dream on hold forever, but spend six months saving every penny, nickel, and dime you can. A few thousand dollars – or even a few hundred – will make starting a business in East Texas so much easier than starting from scratch.
Forming A Business In East Texas
Once your funding is secured, the next step is to act on your business plan and officially form your East Texas business. Each city will have different restrictions on small businesses, so it’s important to do your research. The requirements in Sulphur Springs or Mount Pleasant may not be the same as the ones in Longview or Texarkana.
Form Your Business Structure and Choose A Name
The first steps to opening your business are picking a name and ironing out the structure of your business. You should carefully consider exactly how your business is going to make money and anticipate significant obstacles. File the name and official structure of your business with the state of Texas and your local county.
Obtain Permits And Licenses
It’s best to work with a legal advisor or small business professional to determine what permits and licenses will be required to operate your new business. If money is tight, consider reaching out to your local small business development center or resources provided by organizations like the SBA to see if guidance might be available to you for free. Remember to consider requirements at the state, county, and local levels.
Ultimately, starting a business does require money upfront, but that money doesn’t have to come out of your checking account. Leveraging small business resources in East Texas can provide you with access to loans, grants, and investment opportunities that make starting a small business with no money a possibility.
BONUS: Small Business Resources in East Texas
East Texas is home to an incredible wealth of resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Your local small business development center will often work with you to develop your business plan, seek permits and licensing, and get your business up and running for little to no cost. Cities recognize that successful businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and are willing to make an investment in promising businesses.
East Texas SCORE in Tyler, TX
1530 S SW Loop 323
TJC West Campus Suite 101
Tyler, TX 75701
UT Tyler – Longview SBDC
911 W. Loop 281 | Suite 209
Longview, Texas 75604
Northeast Texas SBDC serving Texarkana, TX
105 North Riddle, Mt. Pleasant, TX 75455
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