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How to Start a Business in Michigan With No Money

Michigan is a great state for entrepreneurs. The state offers a number of resources and programs for small businesses. And with a little bit of research and planning, you can start a business with no money. 

Develop an Idea

Any successful business starts with a great idea. If you’re looking to start your own business, the first thing you need to do is come up with an idea for a product or service that you can provide. This can be something that you’re passionate about or have a talent for. Consider your hobbies, interests, and skillset when brainstorming ideas. 

Once you have an idea, it’s important to do your research to make sure there’s a market for what you want to sell. There are a few ways to go about this. You can look online to see if there are already businesses providing similar products or services. You can also conduct surveys or interviews with potential customers to get feedback on your idea. 

Do the Research

Any new business venture should be thoroughly researched before launching. This is the time to learn everything you can about your industry, including the competition and what price points are realistic. For those interested in starting a business in Michigan, it is also important to research the laws and regulations governing your industry. By taking the time to do your homework upfront, you can help ensure the success of your new business.


Draft a Business Plan

A business plan is an essential document for any new business. It outlines your business goals and strategies, and how you plan to achieve them. A well-written business plan can help you secure funding from investors, get a loan from the bank, and attract talented employees. Even if you’re not looking for outside funding, a business plan can still be a helpful tool for planning and goal-setting.

If you’re starting a business with no money, it’s even more important to have a solid business plan. This document will show potential investors that you have a serious, well-thought-out plan for your business. Without a business plan, it will be much harder to convince anyone to invest in your company.

Drafting a business plan may seem like a daunting task, but there are plenty of resources to help you get started. There are many software programs that can walk you through the process step-by-step, or you can hire a professional consultant to help you put together your plan. Whichever route you choose, taking the time to draft a comprehensive business plan will pay off in the long run.

Secure Funding

If you’re starting a business with no money, you’ll need to get creative with your funding. There are a number of options available to entrepreneurs with good credit, including business loans and lines of credit. You can also look into grants and crowdfunding.

Business Loans and Lines of Credit

If you have good credit, you may be able to secure a business loan or line of credit from a bank or other financial institution. This can be a great option if you need funding for start-up costs or working capital. Business loans and lines of credit typically have lower interest rates than personal loans, and they can be used for a variety of purposes, including buying inventory, equipment, or real estate. 


You will likely need to provide collateral for a business loan, and your ability to repay the loan will be based on your business’s cash flow. If you’re not sure whether you qualify for a business loan or line of credit, it’s worth talking to your banker or meeting with a small business development center advisor. They can help you understand your borrowing options and figure out which type of financing is best for your business.


Grants can be a great source of funding for small businesses, particularly when starting up or expanding. In Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) offers a number of programs specifically for small businesses. The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant provides up to $50,000 in matching funds to help businesses cover the cost of things like rent, utilities, and payroll. 

The Pre-Seed Capital Fund offers grants of up to $250,000 to help businesses with the costs of commercialization and market entry. Both of these programs are competitive, and businesses must meet certain eligibility requirements to apply. However, they can be a great way to access funding for small businesses in Michigan.


Crowdfunding is a great option for entrepreneurs who are starting a business with no money. There are a number of platforms available, including Kickstarter and Indiegogo. With crowdfunding, you can raise money from a large number of people in small increments. To be successful with crowdfunding, you need to have a great pitch. You need to be able to clearly articulate your business idea and why people should invest in it. 

You also need to set a realistic funding goal and create rewards that will incentivize people to donate. If you’re thinking about using crowdfunding to start your business, do your research and make sure you have a strong pitch before you launch your campaign.

group of people talking

Decide on a Legal Business Entity

When you’re starting a business, you’ll need to decide on a legal business entity. The most common options are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations. You should consult with an attorney or accountant to decide which option is best for your business.

Sole Proprietorship

One of the simplest and most common business structures is a sole proprietorship. This type of business is owned and operated by one person, and there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner has complete control over the business, and all profits or losses are reported on their personal tax return. While sole proprietorships are relatively easy to establish and operate, they do have some disadvantages. 

The owner is personally liable for all debts of the business, meaning that their personal assets could be at risk if the business fails. In addition, it can be difficult to raise capital or attract investors with a sole proprietorship. For these reasons, many small businesses eventually choose to incorporate as they grow.


A partnership is a business arrangement in which two or more people agree to share the profits and losses of a company. Partnerships can take a variety of forms, but the most common type is the general partnership. In a general partnership, each partner is equally liable for the debts and obligations of the business. This means that if the business fails, each partner could be held personally responsible for the debts. 

Partnerships are relatively easy to establish, and they offer some advantages over sole proprietorships. For example, partnerships allow partners to pool their resources and expertise, which can make it easier to start and operate a successful business. However, partnerships also have some disadvantages. 


One major downside is that partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, which means that each partner’s personal assets are at risk if the business fails. Another disadvantage is that partners may not always agree on major decisions, which can lead to disagreements and conflict.


A corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. This means that the corporation can enter into contracts, own property, and be sued in its own name. The owners of a corporation are called shareholders, and they elect a board of directors to oversee the corporation’s affairs. The directors appoint officers, who are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the corporation. 

One advantage of forming a corporation is that it provides limited liability protection to its shareholders. This means that the shareholders are not personally liable for the debts of the corporation. Another advantage is that a corporation can exist indefinitely, even if its shareholders die or sell their shares.

However, corporations are subject to double taxation, meaning that they are taxed on their profits and then their shareholders are taxed on their dividends. This can make corporations less efficient than other business structures when it comes to tax planning.


An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business entity that offers the liability protection of a corporation while avoiding the double taxation of profits. LLCs are created by filing articles of organization with the state in which the business will operate. The owners of an LLC are called members, and they can be individuals, corporations, other LLCs, or trusts. 

keep eye on competitors

One of the key advantages of an LLC is that it offers flexibility in how the business is taxed. Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership, where profits are taxed as personal income, an LLC can elect to be taxed as a corporation. This allows the LLC to avoid double taxation of its profits. Another key advantage of an LLC is that it offers limited liability protection to its members. 

This means that each member is only liable for their own actions and not for the actions of the other members or the LLC itself. This protection applies even if the member holds a controlling interest in the company. As a result, an LLC can be an attractive option for businesses looking for both liability protection and tax flexibility.

Register Your Business

Once you’ve decided on a legal business entity, you’ll need to register your business with the State of Michigan. You can do this online.

For Sole Proprietorships

Establishing a sole proprietorship in Michigan requires no special filings if your business includes your own name. However, if you plan to use an assumed name separate from your given name, you must file an assumed name certificate. The process for filing an assumed name certificate is relatively simple and can be done online or in person at your local county clerk’s office. 

In addition to filing the certificate, you will also need to post a notice of the assumed name in a newspaper of general circulation in your county. Once the certificate and notice are filed and posted, you will be able to operate your business under the assumed name. Note that sole proprietorships are not legally separate from their owners, meaning that the owner is personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. 

man working on his laptop

For this reason, many sole proprietors choose to operate under an assumed name in order to protect their personal assets.

For LLCs and Corporations

Every business needs a registered agent, and there are many reasons to why it is important to have one. A registered agent is someone who is appointed to receive process notices and other government correspondence on a business’s behalf. If you have a physical address in Michigan, you can be your own registered agent, however, hiring a professional is inexpensive and will ensure that your forms are filled out and filed correctly. 

Appointing a registered agent is the first step for every entrepreneur forming a corporation or an LLC in Michigan. By hiring a registered agent, you can rest assured that your business is in good hands and will be taken care of in the event that something comes up.

Acquire Federal and State Tax IDs

Opening a business bank account and filing your taxes usually requires that you have a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website. In addition, most states also require that businesses have a state tax ID number. For a state tax ID in Michigan, you can apply online through the Michigan Department of Treasury website. 

Acquiring these numbers is usually a simple process and only takes a few minutes to complete. Once you have your EIN and state tax ID, you’ll be able to open a business bank account and file your taxes without any problems.

tax record

Open Business Banking and Credit Accounts

Once you have your tax identification number, you can open a business bank account and credit account in your business’s name. This is an important step in keeping your personal finances separate from your business finances. When you open a business bank account, you can deposit money earned from your business into the account. 

This makes it easier to track how much money your business is bringing in and what expenses need to be paid. Additionally, having a business credit account can help you build up your business’s credit score. This is important because it can give you access to better interest rates and terms when you apply for loans in the future. 

Ultimately, opening a business bank account and credit account are both key steps in setting up your business for success.

Get the Necessary Licenses and Permits

Before you can open your doors for business, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary licenses and permits. Failure to do so can result in fines, or even having your business shut down. The State of Michigan website has a listing of the different types of licenses and permits that may be required for your business. 

While the list may seem daunting, it’s important to take the time to ensure that you have everything in order. Once you have all the necessary licenses and permits, you can focus on running your business and serving your customers.

michigan tax

Choose a Location for Your Business

If you’re starting a physical business, you’ll need to choose a location for your business. The ideal location will depend on the type of business you’re starting and your budget. When searching for the perfect location to start your business, there are a few key factors you’ll need to consider. Here are four of the most important factors to think about when making your decision.

The Cost of the Location

When choosing a location for a new business, it’s important to consider not just the up-front costs but also the long-term costs. The purchase price or monthly rent is obviously a major consideration, but it’s also important to factor in the cost of utilities, property taxes, and other long-term expenses. 

For example, a property in a high-tax jurisdiction may have a lower purchase price but end up being more expensive in the long run. Similarly, a location that’s convenient for customers may come with higher rents but could end up being more profitable as a result.

The Size of the Location

The size of the location you choose for your business is important for a number of reasons. First, you need to make sure that the space is large enough to accommodate your needs, both now and in the future as your business grows. Second, you need to consider the type of business you are running. If you are running a retail business, for example, you will need to make sure that there is enough foot traffic in the area to justify the rent. 

Finally, you need to think about the image you want to project for your business. A small, cramped office in a run-down building is not going to give off the same professional image as a spacious office in a modern building. 


The Location’s Proximity to Customers or Clients

One of the most important considerations when choosing a location for your business is its proximity to potential customers or clients. If you’re relying on foot traffic, you’ll want to be sure that your business is situated in an area that’s easy for people to get to. This might mean choosing a location near major transit hubs or in a busy shopping district. 

Similarly, if you’re targeting a local market, you’ll want to choose a location that’s convenient for your target customers. For example, if you’re opening a daycare center, you might want to choose a location near residential neighborhoods. By taking into account the needs of your target market, you can help ensure that your business is located in a place where it will be able to succeed.

The Zoning of the Location

One important factor to consider before choosing a location for your business is the zoning of the area. Zoning regulations determine what types of businesses are allowed to operate in a particular area, and it can vary from city to city. For example, some areas may only allow for retail businesses, while others may permit a mix of commercial and residential uses. 

It’s important to be aware of the zoning regulations in a potential location to make sure your business will be allowed to operate there. You can typically find this information on the website of the city or county planning department. 

Get Insured

Every business, no matter the size, should have insurance. There are a variety of different types of insurance policies available, and the right policy for your business will depend on the type of business you’re starting and the potential risks associated with it.

signing the papers

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a system of insurance that provides benefits to workers who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. Benefits can include medical costs, income replacement, and death benefits. Workers’ compensation is typically mandated by law, and employers are required to provide coverage for their employees. 

In most cases, workers’ compensation is paid for by insurance premiums, although some states allow employers to self-insure. Workers’ compensation covers a wide range of injuries and illnesses, from minor aches and pains to serious injuries such as back strains and broken bones. 

It can also cover illnesses that are contracted as a result of exposure to hazardous materials on the job. Workers’ compensation benefits are generally tax-free, and they are not considered taxable income.

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance is a social welfare program that provides financial assistance to workers after a loss of a job. The program is designed to help workers bridge the gap between jobs and to provide some financial stability during periods of unemployment. Unemployment insurance is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, and eligibility for benefits is determined by state law. 

In most cases, workers who have lost their jobs through no personal fault are eligible for benefits, which are typically paid for a period of six months. Although unemployment insurance can be a lifesaver for workers who have lost their jobs, the program has some limitations. For example, benefits are not available to workers who quit their jobs or who were fired for cause. 

reading documents

In addition, the number of benefits received may be limited based on the worker’s previous income. Nevertheless, unemployment insurance can be an important source of financial support for workers during periods of unemployment.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance is a type of insurance that protects businesses and professionals from losses arising from property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, and negligence claims. It is important to have this type of insurance in place in case of any legal action that might be taken against the business or professional. 

If a business is sued for any of these reasons, the costs of defending the case and any damages that are awarded can be covered by the insurance policy. This type of insurance can give businesses and professionals peace of mind knowing that they are protected from financial losses that might occur as a result of lawsuits.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is a type of insurance that helps to protect businesses from financial losses that can occur as a result of damage to their buildings or other property. This type of insurance can cover damage caused by events such as fires, theft, and storms. In many cases, commercial property insurance also provides coverage for business interruption, which can help to offset the loss of income that can occur when a business is forced to close its doors due to property damage. 

While the cost of commercial property insurance can vary depending on the level of coverage, most businesses find it to be a valuable investment that can help to safeguard their operations in the event of a disaster.


Disability Insurance

Disability insurance provides benefits to employees who are unable to work due to an illness or injury. The duration of the benefits depends on the policy but typically lasts for a few months to a year. In some cases, the benefits can be renewed if the employee is still unable to return to work. Disability insurance is required in a few states, such as California, New York, and Hawaii. 

In other states, it is not required but may be offered by employers as part of a benefits package. Some employees may also purchase disability insurance as part of their personal financial planning. Disability insurance can be an important safety net for workers who suffer an unexpected health issues. 

Develop an Internet Presence

In today’s digital world, it’s important for businesses to have an internet presence. Even if you’re starting a brick-and-mortar business, potential customers will likely turn to the internet first when they’re searching for a product or service that you offer. There are a few key things you’ll need to do to get your business online.

Register a Domain Name

Registering a domain name is one of the first steps in creating a website. Your domain name will be your website’s address on the internet, so it’s important to choose a name that’s easy to remember and relevant to your business. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a domain name:

domain name

Once you’ve chosen a domain name, you’ll need to register it with a domain registrar. This process is usually fairly simple and only takes a few minutes. Once your domain is registered, you can begin building your website.

Create a Website

There are a number of different options available for creating a website, depending on your level of experience and expertise. If you’re not familiar with web design, there are a number of different platform options available that can help you build a professional-looking website without any coding required. platforms like WordPress and Squarespace offer templates and drag-and-drop editors that make it easy to create a website even if you don’t have any coding experience. 

However, if you’re looking for more control over the design and functionality of your website, you’ll need to use a more advanced platform like Shopify or Magento. These platforms offer more flexibility and allow you to add features like eCommerce capability and custom blog posts. No matter which platform you choose, be sure to select a design that is responsive and mobile-friendly, as more and more people are accessing websites from their phones and tablets.

Set Up Social Media Accounts

In addition to having a website, it’s also important to have a strong social media presence [1]. Create accounts on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and be sure to populate your profiles with relevant, engaging content. Regular updates and fresh content will help you build a following of engaged users who are interested in what you have to say. 

As you build your audience, you can use social media as a powerful marketing tool to promote your brand and drive traffic to your website. In order to maximize your reach, be sure to use relevant hashtags and post during peak times. With a little effort, you can quickly turn your social media accounts into valuable assets for your business.


Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

There are a number of ways to optimize your website for search engines. First, consider the design of your site and make sure it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Second, focus on creating quality content that is relevant to your target audience. Be sure to use keywords and phrases throughout your site that consumers are likely to use when they are searching for businesses like yours. 

Finally, take advantage of social media platforms by promoting your website on these popular online channels. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your website is visible to the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.


Can You Start a Business With $0?

For many would-be entrepreneurs, the biggest obstacle to starting their own business is lack of funds. However, it is possible to launch a business with very little start-up capital. There are a number of ways to finance a new business, from personal savings and loans from family and friends to crowdfunding and government grants. In some cases, you may be able to launch your business without any upfront investment at all. 

For example, if you are starting an online business, you may be able to create a website and begin marketing your product or service without incurring any significant start-up costs. However, even if you don’t have to pay for your start-up costs, there is a good chance you will have to pay for something along the way – especially if you are expanding. 

There are several resources you can take advantage of to help fund your business, including small business loans, angel investors, and venture capitalists. With careful planning and a bit of creativity, it is possible to start a successful business with very little money.

Does Michigan Require a Business License?

There are many different types of businesses in Michigan, and not all of them require a license. However, there are some business activities that either must be licensed or can optionally be licensed. In many cases, the appropriate license is issued by a state agency. The primary website for the State of Michigan has a section devoted to state licenses and permits. 

This section provides information on which business activities require a license and how to obtain the necessary license. It also provides contact information for the various state agencies that issue licenses. As a result, anyone interested in starting a business in Michigan should first consult this website to determine whether or not they need a license.


Now that you know how to start a business in Michigan with no money, it’s time to get started. Use the tips and resources above to get your business off the ground. And remember, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed in business. But with a great idea and a solid plan, you can make your dream a reality.

Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
Charles is a family man, an entrepreneur, and a writer. He is skilled in finding the balance between efficiency, affordability, and high-quality offerings when it comes to business services. He’s on a continuing mission to discover and rediscover the most popular LLC services, while sharing his most accurate assessment and review to help business owners like himself.