By Michael Zhou

It’s a fantastic time to be a small business owner. There are more opportunities than ever before. The traditional gatekeepers to business success are falling away. You don’t need capital, connections, or an advertising budget to get started.

The internet has been called the great equalizer. Struggling entrepeneours have as much access as rich CEOs.

It probably won’t be easy. Building a business from the ground up takes time and dedication no matter how you start out.

Here’s what can you do without a budget.

Go Digital

Your business needs a thriving web presence. A website, social media accounts, etc. It doesn’t matter what your industry is. These days even mobile apps build real websites as well. The popular Https://, a medical records app, maintains an informative, helpful website.

If you’re not a programmer or graphic designer, you’ll have to pay for these services. A shoddy or slow website is worse than not having one at all. To keep your prices low, use freelancer sites like Fiverr. You can also try using students.

Keep the website as simple as possible. The more bells and whistles that you install, the more complicated your site will be. Complications = expenses.

Your social media sites can be updated and organized for free. A paid advertising campaign is great if you can afford it. If you can’t, however, you can run an effective campaign without. You just need to spend more time on the project.

For example, if you want to hire influencers, start out with small, niche influencers that will promote your business in exchange for free product.

Respond to all of the comments on your page.

Creative Marketing

If you can’t go the traditional route, you have to get creative. Hand out t-shirts, create videos and put them Youtube, speak with your friends. It’s tiring but you need to become a cheerleader. Speak about your brand whenever you get a chance.

Figure out what your customers want. Many companies gain recognition through humor. It doesn’t work for every industry, but it works for some.

If you can’t find your way through humor, try sharing customer reviews and stories. Pick something that resonates.

You can save money by hiring a fresh marketing manager. Choose someone who just graduated and is eager to prove themselves.

Go Remote

Office space is expensive. In addition to paying rent, you’ll also have to deal with insurance and potential employee problems. Your employees are human beings. They’re prone to error. Sometimes their errors happen in the workplace.

Your reputation is on the line. If one of your employees harasses someone, for example, your customers could boycott your product if they find out.

Going remote takes care of all of these issues. You never have to worry about office space and it’ll be much easier for your employees to maintain professional relationships.

You can create a remote environment without spending money. Use free services like Skype. As your team grows, you can pay for one of the more advanced programs.

To make it easier, try to set up an exact time that your employees should be online.

Be Different

If you want your customers to notice your brand, you need to learn how to differentiate yourself. You sell dog collars. So do many other people. Why should customers choose your brand?

One way to establish your voice is to set yourself up as an expert. Become the go-to company for all things dog related. On social media, if people ask questions about dog training, or how crating, etc., your team should be there with an answer.

It will take a while for this strategy to be effective. You have to wait until people start to recognize your name.

When it comes to founding a business without any capital, your only plan is to the use internet. There should be many forks to your strategy.

As your business grows larger, you can switch to more routine marketing strategies. For instance, paid social media campaigns have been demonstrated to be highly effective. You can target your exact customer base.

Use Connections

Do you have any connections in your industry? Use them. A fledgling business needs all the help that it can get. As your clout increases, more and more people will hear your brand name.

If you don’t have any useful connections, forge new ones. Go to meetups and industry events where you can schmooze. It’ll be a big help you.

Michael Zhou is a Senior VP of Business Intelligence Development and has assisted the Fortune 1000 company with expertise in the web as a whole, including ground-zero marketing efforts that benefit both consumer and vendor. He is also contributor on Esprittoday.

Business stock photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock