Capital … Is it really the Holy Grail for Startups?

- September 18, 2012 2 MIN READ


When you start your own business it’s exciting. It’s also challenging and, at times, all consuming. Your appetite for learning needs to be enormous as you’re going to learn more about your determination, risk tolerance and ability to innovate than you could’ve imagined when you first had that seed of an idea.

Since starting my own business, Know The Game , in 2010, I’ve taken every opportunity that time permits to move among entrepreneurial networking groups to absorb, share, debate and consider the experience of others.

Frequently the topic of these entrepreneurial forums delves into how to source venture capital, pitch to angel investors and ultimately secure that big cash injection that will help you succeed. Technology businesses aside, I’m often left wondering why this is apparently seen as the holy grail of a start up.

I’m not looking for funding. I’m backing myself – figuratively and literally. I didn’t start my business until I had the savings to do so. I think if I’m not willing to invest my own money into building my business why should I expect someone else to take that risk?

While I have a number of planned initiatives that will only come to fruition with further outlay, I’m creating a business built off its own profit. A business that is self-sustaining. In a market as financially constrained as it currently is, this can be tough going. It’s also difficult to carve out a niche market to establish a completely new business that works across two separate markets – the corporate sector and the sports industry.

That said, my business has been built with a strong foundation, it’s proven resilient to market turmoil and it’s growth has come through multiple channels. It’s now well-positioned to broaden and scale.

I’m not saying more capital wouldn’t be appreciated or well spent. There are plenty of ideas I have which I’d love to put in place: enhancing my website, utilising quality filming, expanding my broader online capabilities, increasing my PR/marketing spend, growing the team and the list goes on. Having said that, the upside to being the only funding source for my business is that I’ve achieved growth and profit without the pressure of jumping hurdles set by investors and I’ve been able to stay true to my core purpose and values.

Bootstrapping requires commerciality. There’s no luxury spend. If I’m not going to get a return on investment I can’t do it. I view business success by profit, not turn over, and cash flow is the master decision maker. This is another way in which I stay accountable and work progressively towards each milestone I’ve set for the business.

New businesses can succeed without an external cash injection. It may take more time, resilience and persistence and it will require you to have a good support/mentoring network. Have the confidence to know if you focus on providing the highest quality experience for your clients, manage your costs appropriately and believe in your abilities, you can succeed.