The 3 Keys to Start-Up Survival

“There were 3 reasons why we survived: We had no money, we had no technology, we had no plan. Every dollar we used very carefully” Jack Ma, Founder of (read that again)

It forces you to be clever, to dissect problems instead of throwing cash at them, to innovate instead of imitating better-funded competitors. Embrace your lack of resources, your weaknesses! Every problem has a potential solution.

There is an inverse relationship between the amount of funding and the ultimate success of companies.

1) Write down the positives of whatever you’ve been viewing as a negative. No funding? Budget wisely. Set trends, not follow them.

2) Consider the negatives of the positives. Too much funding gives a false sense of security. Nothing is perfect so do whatever you can.

3) Look for dark horse models. Has anyone overcome worse circumstances to do what I want to do? Yes, of course. Every problem has a potential solution. Go find it!

The above is an executive summary of an article written by Tim Ferriss. As a first-time entrepreneur, I understand the facts above to be “self-evident”. Think if it this way. If big companies have the best people, and the most money, how is it that entrepreneurship and small business even have a chance in Corporate America?

The answer, of course, is that funding doesn’t always lock in your success. Yet I would clarify that money is the life-source of any organization; profit or non. You need capital, and lack thereof can send your company to bankruptcy faster than you can sign your supplier’s check.

Find a way to grow using only profits from existing sales without any outside funding and you’ve got it made!

Related articles: The 8 Pillars of Business Endurance


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2 Responses to “The 3 Keys to Start-Up Survival”

  1. BusinessAdvantage Says:

    This is good in theory but isn’t always practical for a company that seeks fast growth. I think that a new business has to take on a certain amount of debt if they want to be ultimately successful, especially if other sources of funding aren’t available to them.

    • my1ambition Says:


      “I think that a new business has to take on a certain amount of debt if they want to be ultimately successful”.

      This is true. However the problem becomes, and more-so if investment capital IS available, that money is “thrown” at problems instead of working through the “why” the problem is there in the first place.

      I had a friend who, like you suggest, took large loans to start his business which was featured in SkyMall Magazine. Business took-off with amazing force but BECAUSE he had never taken the time to create systems and adjust to his exponentially increasing demand, he was forced to close down a few short months later.

      Once you have your operation running the way you like THEN go get as much funding, plans, technology as you’d like.

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