Like most business owners, you probably started your company because you enjoy being your own boss and calling the shots. But if you take on investors, you’ll usually need to run your business decisions by them, reducing your autonomy. You’ll also have to give up some of your equity, which can be a tough pill to swallow.
Although it’s harder to expand a business without investors, it is possible. Here are four strategies to help you get the money you need to grow your company without answering to shareholders.
4 Ways to Grow Your Business Without Investors
Barter to Reduce Your Business Costs
To expand your business, you may need to upgrade your website or get legal advice. But what if you don’t have the funds to buy the goods and services you need to grow your company?
Luckily, there are other entrepreneurs in your situation who may be willing to trade with you. You can find them using marketplaces like BizX and Tradebank, which help connect business owners who want to barter.
Get a Small Business Loan or Credit Card
If you need new equipment or inventory to grow your business, you probably can’t barter for it. That’s where business loans and credit cards come in. They don’t require you to give up an equity stake in your company or answer to shareholders, making them a more flexible financing option. However, you’ll still need consistent revenue and a strong business credit score to qualify for a loan.
Business credit cards are usually easier to qualify for, so they may be a better option for smaller companies and startups. But you may need to sign a personal guarantee that makes you liable for your company’s debts, so make sure you can pay back whatever you borrow.
Increase Your Marketing Efforts
Increasing your marketing efforts can help you generate the extra revenue you need to invest in and scale your business. Many effective advertising methods are free or cheap if you do them yourself or barter for them. So you don’t need to spend a lot of money to execute a great marketing strategy.
Here are a few things you can try to attract new customers and retain existing ones:
- Create an email newsletter and send out coupon codes to encourage customers to buy
- Write blog posts and optimize them for search engines
- Run Facebook, Google, or Snapchat ads
- Post on social media with a focus on video, which tends to get the most engagement
- Network with other business owners
Hopefully, improving your marketing campaign will increase your earnings and enable you to reinvest that money back into your business.
Start a Crowdfunding Campaign
Another way to expand a business without investors is to start a crowdfunding campaign. Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to collect donations from the public to launch a new product or cover some of your business expenses. However, you’ll usually need to provide a reward to incentivize people to donate, such as a free or discounted product.
It can also be hard to stand out and get noticed on the platform because there are many campaigns. So make sure you market your crowdfunding campaign to increase your chances of success.
It’s possible to expand a business without investors so you don’t have to give up equity or answer to shareholders. We hope these tips help you secure the funds you need to grow your company on your terms.
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.