How to make your startup grow without financing


By Chomwa Shikati

Business isn’t a fairy tale; it is not as friendly as most success stories may portray it to be.

And it sure isn’t a smooth sailing ride without any storms encountered along the way. Reality has often shown that in a business anything can happen in an instant, at one point in time you may be making money feeling comfortable and at the next you may find yourself desperately looking for money that you need to kick start your business back to life.

It is generally hard to build a successful business. It is even a lot harder to build a business with no funds available to you.

And that is because, for any business cash is oxygen.

At some point in your business venture you are going to have to address the issue of needing money to grow or survive in your industry. But let’s just be realistic, not every business out there will get funding at the snap of their fingers, life just doesn’t work that way.

There will be times when it will be hard to secure a loan, find a VC or even inject personal finances in your business.

And this leaves most of us business owners wondering: Will that be the end? Will the fact that I may not be able to secure any funding mean that I have to go out of business?

Well, it does not have to be that way. It is hard to build a business without cash, but it is not impossible. There are thousands of founders who can attest to that, they have done it and so can you.

If you have a viable business, good customers, and a business plan, there are options to get the funds to grow and succeed. You can grow a company without borrowing (or with minimum borrowing) and without using a VC through a number of ways.

Let us consider 5 ways:

Use your profits to grow

Well the first thing you can do, as your company grows is to stick your hand in your profits.

It’s as simple as it is painfully true: you’ll have to put that profit back in your business so it can survive and float above the drowning level. This will basically require a ton of work, nerves of steel and the ability to make do without profit for a really long time.

But hey, in the beginning, well for a couple of years at the start of your business you are going to work ridiculously hard anyways. As an entrepreneur you are going to have to wear many hats.

So don’t mismanage your profits and be quick to pay yourself out, if you want your business to survive the hard times, grow and really achieve the vision that you set for it in the long run, you have to invest your profits back in the business and somehow make it work.

Increase the business Revenue

Try and increase the income streams of your company. You can do this in many ways.

First of all, you can begin by raising the prices of your products in a way that does not alarm or drive away your customers. Then you can consider adding products that compliment your main product, this may help you save up on marketing costs but still increase your revenue.

Then you have to be a publicity magnet. There are plenty of ways to generate valuable publicity for free that you can capitalize on in your business if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work.

And this will be very valuable for you.

What you want to achieve is grow the income of your business without incurring large expenses in the process.

Limit and control your expenses

Some Startup founders focus on the things that don’t matter in the beginning. A fancy office space and a nice flat screen TV in the office is cool, don’t get me wrong, but they can be an unnecessary expense in the early stages.

They are all expenses that will run you down in the long run. If you can build your product in the beginning and still satisfy your customers in a cheaper way then place your focus on that.

If you let your guard down and start freely spending, it can cause a problem down the line if business slows or you face a challenge.

Being financially responsible is key and will save you huge amounts of cash that will keep your business afloat. And if you can keep the expenses down to the bare minimum, you can use more of the revenue for the growth of the business.

Get a job

If push comes to shove, get a second job that will help you keep the capital coming in.

You could simply be Clark Kent during the day at your day job and then turn into superman during the night to save your business (Poor analogy I know, but you get the point).

This will give you a scheduled income that you can use to invest back in your business.

Keep in mind that you need to survive personally, so this method is a long term process where you save up small amounts of your salary and grow your business slowly.

Don’t be frustrated with the growth and slow progress; at least you’re not stagnant.

Keep reinventing your company

The market world is ever changing and a company needs to constantly reinvent itself if it wishes to survive.

Customers’ needs may be constantly changing and you can’t keep offering the same product to them or you risk being driven out by your competition.

An intelligent Startup can sense change from a mile away and is agile to adapt. This calls for smart leadership, a clear vision for the company’s direction and a good nose for what the customers will want in the future.

Who knows, your next reinvention may be what increases your revenue tenfold.

Reinventing your company will help you maintain a steady flow of income and keep you one step ahead of turbulent bad times making you plan for them efficiently.

Final thoughts…

It can get financially tough sometimes, but you need to have passion and unwavering faith in your vision to be able to survive the pitfalls of uncertain everyday life. Without those things you would not be able to make it.

Think of other ways you can get around the funding issue if you can, that is part of what makes entrepreneurship fun; Looking for innovative solutions to the millions of problems that stand in your way.

Don’t give up or think you cannot grow your business without money being injected in your company by VC’s and loans, they are many ways to survive and the methods listed above are only the beginning.