By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you putting your business startup plans on hold because you don’t think you have enough startup financing to launch a business? Well, please think again. Starting a business can take much less capital than you may believe.

I’m not downplaying the difficulty of getting startup financing to take advantage of business opportunities. In fact, a Harris Interactive survey conducted for lender Borro reports that two out of five (40 percent) of U.S. adults trying to start businesses say they’re having trouble finding startup financing.

It’s clear some valid business opportunities are being ignored due to lack of capital. Two-thirds of adults in the survey said they would not want to start their own business because of the current economic climate. However, more than half (52 percent) of respondents said they would be more likely to start their own small business if it were easier to get financing. And among all adults in the survey, 80 percent believe it should be easier for small businesses to get financing.

Even among those who do get businesses off the ground, things don’t get any easier. More than 22 percent of business owners surveyed said they had had to pass up potential business opportunities due to lack of financing.

Financing has always been a challenge for small businesses. But don’t let this survey get you down. The good news is, today there are more ways to start a business for less than there have ever been before. The Internet has opened up a world of opportunities for business ideas that can be built out on a dime (well, maybe not literally a dime, but almost). Here are some ideas for saving money on your startup so you don’t need much capital to begin with.

  • Use the Internet to survey customers or prospects online and get immediate feedback on your business ideas.
  • Market with social media—it’s free, so you won’t need a huge ad budget.
  • Partner with other startups that have complementary products or services, either to market your businesses or to offer more to your customers than you could on your own.
  • Barter with other businesses for products and services so you can conserve your cash.
  • Outsource tasks to freelancers instead of hiring full-time employees with their accompanying benefits and management hassles.

There are two approaches to the reality that startup capital is hard to find. You can bemoan your tough luck, or you can cut back how much you need. Which is more likely to result in startup?