Working with limited capital is nothing new for small business owners. In fact, that's probably the norm. What separates successes from failures is the ability to "make it work," regardless of how low the numbers look. Fortunately, for the most part, you shouldn't have that much trouble. Free resources are available everywhere, and you can always talk to your network to hook you up with affordable options. It doesn't end there, however; there's plenty you can do to maximize what you have, no matter how limited it is.
When you lack money, you should start looking into other resources. There are plenty of things, besides capital, that can help you run your company. Your network, for example, can put you in touch with people willing to give you a discount for something in the future. They also connect you to influencers, or possible mentors, who can give you a leg-up. Look closely; you will find value, even in something as simple as the time they give you.
What you should understand about small businesses is that the ideal situations are few and far in between. It doesn't matter how well you plan or how much of an advantage you have; something will always be wrong. What you should remember to focus on are the possible consequences. Will whatever is wrong truly hamper you?
Think about the equipment you need for your product. Do you need brand-new equipment, or can you get the same quality of product with used equipment? Focus on the consequences of working with less-than-perfect situations rather than the fact that they aren't ideal.
The value of capital is it makes things easier. Capital is strength; the more of it you have, the more situations you can brute force your way through. The less you have, the more finesse you'll need. For example, whereas other companies would hire people to work, you may have to opt to do things yourself. You'll have to wear a lot of hats, but considering your lack of capital, it's what is best for your small business.
This goes beyond doing more things personally. It can also involve saying no to investors. Investors who know how much you need the money will leverage that need to give themselves more benefits, often in the form of more control over the company. If you're not comfortable with giving investors control, say no. Work hard until you have more to bring to the table.
Persistence is the most important quality a small business owner can possess. There will be days when you feel as though you're not going anywhere. You'll likely approach, if not reach, burnout. Because you're making do, things will come slowly and stress you out. Persist, regardless. A difficult situation is no reason to quit.
This goes for everything. Investors and partners who see the difficulty inherent in your situation will probably say no to you and your small business. Find a way to convince them. If it means setting up a convoluted three-way partnership, do it. You have little in the way of capital, so you must seize every opportunity.
It doesn't matter how impressive your product is if your target market doesn't know it exists. Marketing campaigns are often expensive and time-consuming. To get the word out, you'll need to get clever.
Influencer marketing, for example, can give you a leg-up if you can connect with the right one. You can also go for a grassroots campaign. Since you're not likely to be invited to events, due to your size (or lack thereof) or because you can't deliver enough for said event, you can make yourself the event. If you're offering food, for example, use a food truck to promote your small business near offices and schools or wherever your target market lurks.
Lack of capital is never a death sentence for a small business. There's always something you can do to make things work. Use that brain of yours and come up with a strategy. Don't get hung up on what you don't have -- focus on what you can do.