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4 Ways to Start a High-Growth Business With Zero or Minimal Funding 

By far, one of the most recurring questions we address on our Quora channel, is related to starting a business with Zero or Minimal Funding. Having a global audience on this channel, we know that this problem statement is a global phenomenon. 

We've also gleaned insights about misconception, related to the sources of capital -  primary assumption being venture capital. There is also lack of understanding on how to broach a startup in general. These topics will be addressed in future articles.

Here we provide 4 options to kickstart your entrepreneurship journey with minimal to no funding.

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1. Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is either putting up your own money on the line or reach out to your family and friends to help launch your business. Bootstrapping will force founders to think lean. Every decision will come with the sacrifice of something else, so you'll need to fully understand your business and financial state, at any given moment.

The lean approach will also force you to validate assumptions quickly, align with customer expectation and pivot as needed. Bootstrapping makes you appreciate your business more because you are personally invested. It also creates a culture where exceptional performance is the norm and the team is fully accountable to meet the goals. Lean times may be rough, but it will make each success that much more rewarding.

2. Leverage Government & Small Business Grants

Start by searching grants from the Federal government at This site has the most comprehensive database of funds the government is going to give away. There are thousands of grants to apply for, with opportunities for businesses from all backgrounds.

There are many nonprofit and corporate entities offering grants and other assistance to small businesses. A few examples: 

Business Warrior Small Business Loans, FedEx Small Business Grant, Walmart Local Community Grants. SCORE, which can assign a volunteer business mentor who can provide guidance on numerous topics, including funding and operations.

3. Sell your Services Through a Subscription Model

Subscription businesses that ensure product/market fit and successfully capture customer obsession, can count on subscribers to stick around for the long haul, yielding huge benefit. 

Additionally, digital payments platforms such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square have made it possible to set up and process recurring payments without the massive investment of manpower that was once required.

For consumers, subscription business models provides predictability, convenience and simplicity. Angel investor Eric Stromberg notes:

“Subscription is a powerful business model because it creates an environment where the default customer behavior is retention, as opposed to one where the default behavior is churn.”

The key to this model's success is ensuring continued product/market fit. 

4. Sell your Frameworks (Best Practices)

All professionals use frameworks. A framework is a step-by-step process to create a hypothesis and validate experiment to reach a goal. Well-defined frameworks separate professionals who win, from hacks that can only dream of success. Consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG have perfected the art of monetizing frameworks.

It's also very common to see frameworks being introduced as part of business case studies. In a recent Entrepreneurship program at Harvard we picked up the POCD framework. Whilst not completely new, this frameworks helps entrepreneurs become more strategic.

Key Message:

Don't let lack of capital get in the way of brining your idea to life. Equally important is not let failure define your success. As Scott Cook - CEO of Intuit, has shared in his story - he started with bootstrapping, got the to verge of failure and then saw a hockey stick effect in growth.