I Need To Grow Fast – But I’ve Got No Cash

This is the situation that faces every pre-funding start-up … and every marketing manager that takes a role without asking what their budget will be in the interview.

There is one truth that’s inescapable, growth costs. It either costs time or money, but since you have to pay the bills, time is money. Many people will quickly reference Growth Hacking and suggest techniques they heard once worked for Dropbox. Assuming you don’t have the technical resource of Dropbox, let’s look at creating a strategy that’s likely to work.

Know Why You Need To Grow

Sounds like a silly question, huh? Growth is good. Period. But, if your trying to grow organically forever, the approach may be different to if you’re looking to achieve seed funding or a Series A round.

I Want Organic Growth, Slow Is Fine

There’s nothing wrong with organic growth, but, you need to be realistic about your expectations. It’s very unlikely you’re going to sustain PR after launch (without budget) or presence long enough to grow quickly. This relies on word-of-mouth, content marketing and good old fashioned grind. In some ways this is much more gruelling than injecting capital into growth even though you’re on a runway. It takes time and you can’t experiment quickly.

Your Goal Is To Find A System

Scattering energy everywhere is foolish. You need to find a system of growth that works and gives your business a predictable trajectory and cashflow. Let me provide a very simple real-life example from a finance business I recently engaged with. They use direct mail extremely successfully, now sending out tens of thousands of letters per week. For every 10,000 letters they achieve 4 new customers, consistently.


Stage Direct Mail Sent Loan Applications Qualified Prospect Draws Down
Records 10,000 13 6 4
Conversion Rate 0.11 % 46% 66%  £16,000 ROI


It costs 30p to send a letter, so every week the company in question is spending £3,000 and returning £16,000 of lifetime value. Good growth.