Starting a business can be a daunting thing in the best of times. Doing it with no money can take the fear factor to the next level – but it can be done. If you have a passion and an idea, instead of focusing on what you don't have, concentrate on what you do have, and what you can do without, and you might be surprised to find that you can scale a business without outside investors.
Starting and scaling a
business with limited resources requires a different mindset – one that
examines what you have, who you know, and what you can do and achieve for free
or cheaply. Carefully examine the relationships and resources that you
have influence, and see what's essential to your business right now, to
get you to that next step.
Starting EHPlabs after making the difficult decision just to walk away from a law career was the result of an autoimmune disease diagnosis – one that saw me in hospital for close to a year. I didn't have the luxury of entering EHP full time after months of hustling on the side or getting my ducks consecutively.
It was a function of my circumstances that I started my own small business, and that i took the opportunity to make sure it was one that would make a difference to individuals. I started small and looked at who I knew that may be able to assist. I became aware of a local personal trainer with a huge Facebook following (quite possibly one of the very first influencers, before it was even a coined phrase!), and so I reached out. She agreed to post a photo of an EHPlabs product, and also the demand from her followers was immediate. It cost me nothing, but certainly paid off!
From beginning with one small supplements store to now running a global distribution, export, and e-commerce business, I'm able to say that bootstrapping a multinational business is possible! You need to simply focus on a few key areas and keep that different mindset in position.
My top tips for scaling your company without bringing in outside capital are:
- Focus on your expense management and cashflow. Keep the expenses as low as possible and don't spend some money if and when you don't have to. That may sound simple however i know so many small business owners who throw 1000s of dollars at stationery, branded merchandise, even fancy premises before they're really earning money. Check your ego at the door and focus on making sure that the money you're expenses are working for you.
- Stay focused on your customers and ensure customers are at the core of your business. Drive a customer-centric culture in each and every department and in every employee. Take customer feedback on board – even if you don't like it – to make sure that what you're pushing into the market is what they want, and will continue to invest in.
- Use technology. There is so much free tech out there that will give you basics on where your visitors are coming from, who they are, and how to reach them – but if you're searching for data, make sure you're using it. Focus on what you need to know to grow, then find it and use it.
- Don't get stuck. Don't limit you to ultimately what is working now. If you're seeing signs of success, it's important to keep momentum going. Search for your additional growth opportunities and repeat the formula – start when the time is right and costs low as you take the very first steps.
Yes, it's difficult,
but growing a company from internally generated funds isn't impossible.
EHPlabs is definitive proof of that.
Izhar Basha, Founder, EHPlabs