Article 025: Innovation without money

When 3D4Medical started off, I was operating entirely on a shoestring. We had just one employee – me – who worked from the attic of my apartment. Even to do this, I had re-mortgaged my apartment just so I could survive for a few months.

I didn’t have the budget for a second employee, never mind a salesforce. It felt like “the lack” stood in the way of success.

However, having little money can be a blessing in disguise.

Lack forced me to innovate. When I re-mortgaged, I had no choice but to dedicate myself entirely to my product, regardless of my budget. Like Cortés’ men when they awoke to the charred remains of their ships, I had no other choice but to find a way to move forward. There was no going back. I was forced to think about ways to save money and to look at the cheapest opportunities around me to sell my product.

Building a salesforce would have been impossible, so it was obvious that the online world was the only free opportunity. It became clear to me that the app stores are a gold mine and huge opportunity for people with no monetary resources. I worked out if I could get my app on the front of the App Store it would be like having your product on display in a shop window on every retail main street in the world. If we could make a good enough product it would have access to hundreds of millions of potential buyers for free. All I had to do was concentrate on making a fantastic product and that’s exactly what I did.

The stores did the rest. No advertising. No sales force. Just the app stores. Within a few months we were making enough money to get a proper office and really talented programs.

In business, funding is crucial, although you may be surprised by just how far you can go on a shoestring.

In fact, there’s never been a better time to start a business on a budget. Leaving aside the numerous app stores, social media can provide entrepreneurs with a free window to sell to millions.

Since our launch, we have had over 20 million apps downloaded. We took advantage of the opportunities provided to us by the free landscape of the internet. In following this path, I was able to hold off from external investors, and this decision allowed me to maintain ownership and control of my business.

In a lot of ways, a lack of funding can be a very real advantage.




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