Running a startup isn’t easy. Sure, it seems thrilling and glamorous: being your own boss, traveling around the world to pitch and raise funds, and making the headlines with your groundbreaking idea.
But it can also be a nerve-wracking process, especially when it comes to fundraising. Anyone who’s started a business will know that cash flow is on your mind, particularly when you start to have a team and office space. If you want to scale, you’re going to have to grow your team and invest in things like marketing to make yourself known.
Chances are, you’ll be looking for investors early on to support you as you develop your business to be able to grow even faster. This is also what most of us believe to be the normal route for a startup, with headlines about investment series breaking every day.
And yet there is an alternative that’s slowly growing in popularity: self-funding.
It may seem daunting to take the plunge, but that’s exactly what we decided to do at Recruitee, in 2017. Based on our experience we’ve put together the top seven steps you can take to become self-funded and run a sustainable startup.
PUT YOUR PRODUCT FIRST We developed Recruitee out of pain point we felt ourselves as we were recruiting.
We’ve always put our product at the center of all our decisions, which means our priority is to ensure it’s user-friendly, fun, and accessible to everyone . . . Focusing on your product first helps you make decisions with that in mind. It forces you to ask yourself what problem you’re trying to solve with your product, rather than chasing after opportunities for investment, or developing solely based on input from partners. This should also mean you deliver a product that works for your customers and has product-market fit, rather than one that resonates with investors’ financial plans.
KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS CLOSE Your product is, of course, important, but without people to use it, it’s nothing.
It’s always been important to us to ensure our customers are successful in using our tool. We want to reduce the impact of their pain points and help them do their job. If you’re able to do that, they’re more likely to come back or stay with you for the long-term. With happy customers, you can focus on growth and acquisition based on previous success stories and key learnings.