When I started my business, Social Summer Camp, two years ago, I didn't have any funding. Not that it wouldn't have been nice to have, but I really didn't know much about the world of VC's and angel investors and that you could actually get money from others to run your business. In the early days I spent money, but mostly I focused on making it...I never let not having any money get in my way. So imagine how shocked I was today when I read that Uber, a huge company that I admire and figured was bringing in boatloads of cash, was operating at a deficit. Not only are they not making money, they are losing a lot of cash. Obviously Uber is a much larger company than the one I own, but I do think there are some interesting learnings here. Specifically, how can you start a business without any funding?
1. Start a business that doesn't require you to manufacture- If you can start a company that doesn't require you to manufacture a product, you are already one step ahead of the game. Service-based businesses require a lot less money to start up and you will able to operate at first with a lot less cash. Service-based businesses require employees to operate those services, but that can be scaled up as you make more money.
2. Make employee benefits an important part of your company, but don't overspend- Honestly, keep all of your spending in check! They often say, "you have to spend money to make money," but I don't always agree with that. Spend money where it makes sense (customer support, great employee benefits, etc,) but save where it makes sense (maybe you don't need a 100x100 booth at a random trade show).
3. Work hard to differentiate yourself- This could have just said "work hard," which I truly believe is the best way to start a business without funding. But also work to differentiate your company as soon as possible. If you can differentiate yourself and show value to your customers, money will most certainly follow. Working hard really is the key to starting a business without and funding.
What are you some other tips for starting a business without any funding?