Business owners going through their financial reports
Growing a business

How to Grow Your Business Without Debt

There’s some truth to the old adage that it takes money to make money, but is it possible to grow a business without debt? Yes, you can grow your business without debt! However, it might not be easy, and it might take some creativity and hard work to get there. But the reward of not having to stress over monthly payments and the knowledge that your business is not beholden to another is quite appealing. 

There’s also the reality that as inflation continues to rise, credit becomes harder to access and borrowing more expensive. Anything you can do to avoid taking on debt just makes smart business sense. While having less debt during an economic downturn may equal greater odds of survival long term, it also means you’re better positioned to take advantage of opportunities once things are back on the up and up.

Here are some things you can do and steps you can take in order to grow your business without taking on debt. 

Make a Budget and Stick to It

Probably one of the most important steps to ensuring you can grow your business without taking on additional debt is to make a budget. Now, you not only have to make a budget, you have to stick to it as well. The execution is often where a lot of people fall short. Putting your head in the sand and ignoring your finances is not a smart way to run a successful business. 

Sit down and make a list of all your cash inflows and outflows, aka your income and expenses. Once you’re able to clearly see where your money is coming and going, you can take steps to streamline things. If there are opportunities to save in certain areas, go ahead and make the cut. If investing a little more in another area could lead to increased revenue, go ahead and invest any savings you found.  

It might seem silly, and really basic, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses don’t take this crucial step and simply operate reactively rather than proactively when it comes to managing their cash flow.

Build Your Savings

Ideally, you want to be setting aside about 30% of your profit (revenue minus expenses) in order to invest back in your business, cover taxes, and build up savings for any seasonal dips or emergencies. This might be particularly challenging if your business is just starting out, but the sooner you can start and achieve this goal, the better. Having this cash surplus will ensure you that you can cover any unexpected expenses without having to take on debt. Many debt-free businesses have a year’s expenses saved, minimum, to help cover any downturns or shortfalls.

Regularly Evaluate Expenses

A business is a living, breathing thing – and circumstances will change from time to time. This is why it’s important to regularly evaluate your business expenses to ensure you’re only shelling out for the things you really need. Whenever possible, check to see if there is a cheaper (or better yet, free) version of whatever it is your business needs. Then, ask yourself if you really need it to grow your business and be successful. As an added benefit, the more on top of your financial situation you are, the better your business can react and adjust to any changes. 

Other cost-saving measures include asking vendors for discounts (bulk, early-payment, etc.), managing variable costs (perhaps stocking up on supplies while costs are low), comparing rates on your fixed costs, and investing in technology that can improve efficiency.  

Stay Positive

A lot of business success can be traced back to mindset. As cheesy as it sounds, having a growth mindset can help you be successful when it comes to growing your business without debt. It’s also why there are so many books on mindset and business – it really is that crucial. Especially when times are challenging, keeping a positive mindset and your eye on the end goal – in this case, growing without taking on debt – will help you overcome any obstacles and ultimately stay focused on your goal.


Crowdfunding is an excellent way to raise capital to help you grow your business without taking on debt. It also has the added benefit of not requiring you to give up equity. How it works is you create a campaign to showcase your business and attract micro-investors. This is usually done through an online platform, as it makes it easy to share and keep track of the campaign. There are often goals set, in addition to special rewards tied to different levels of donors. 

While crowdfunding is a great way to drum up interest in your business and gauge support for ideas, they’re often an all or nothing funding source. That is, unless you reach your goal, you don’t get the funding you need. Only a small percentage of crowdfunding initiatives are successful, which makes this a risky gamble for securing funding to grow your business without taking on debt. 

Apply for Grants

There are grant programs for businesses in every type of industry, from both the local and federal government. Grants are a popular way to grow your business without debt as they are a source of “free” money that doesn’t come with any repayment terms, fees, or interest. There are a couple of major downsides, though. Business grants often have a lengthy and time-consuming application process, and you’re competing with many other businesses for funding, so your odds of securing the funding can’t be guaranteed. However, for those who are awarded them, grants can be an excellent way to fund their business without taking on debt.

Invest in Marketing

You can’t grow your business if people don’t know about your product or services. Investing in a targeted marketing effort can help ensure you’re getting your name out there. Even investing just $1,000 in marketing efforts, if it leads to recurring revenue of $10,000, $20,000 or even more, is well worth the initial cash outflow.

Freeing up extra funds by evaluating your income and expenses (as previously discussed) is just one way to access the capital for marketing. Other methods for accessing this type of capital without taking on business debt is to consider applying for business grants or taking advantage of invoice funding.

Utilize Invoice Funding

If you’re looking for a way to add a quick cash flow boost to your business without taking on debt, invoice funding is a great option. How it works is you sell your invoices to a factoring company. The company then advances you the value of your invoice (or a percentage) minus a small fee. The factoring company then works with your customer to settle the invoice according to the original payment terms. 

Not only does invoice funding get you paid sooner, it’s for work you’ve already completed and invoiced for – so you aren’t taking on a loan or other type of debt. You’re simply unlocking capital tied up in slow receivables. Here’s how to account for factoring transactions in your QuickBooks account.

The ability to maintain positive cash flow means it’s easier to run your business, and you’ll probably lose less sleep at night over cash flow concerns. Small business owners need funding sooner rather than later to pay for things that will grow their business, which can include:  

  • Adding headcount
  • Buying new equipment
  • Paying their own suppliers
  • Investing in marketing
  • Fulfilling large orders or projects 

With improved cash flow, many small businesses find themselves able to bid on projects that will require them to buy lots of materials or labour. This type of growth isn’t always possible unless you are willing to take on short-term debt, or having positive cash flow or savings. 

Finally, because invoice funding is a type of revenue-based financing, the amount of funding you can access grows with you as your business grows. This means that there’s an unlimited potential for fast, flexible funding on your terms. 

Freeing up capital to grow your business without debt by funding an invoice with a company like FundThrough, a QuickBooks partner, is easy. They offer innovative solutions that help free up cash for you to grow your business on your terms. See if you qualify by creating a free account today.

About FundThrough

FundThrough is a leading fintech company accelerating cash flow and enabling growth for small and medium businesses. Based in Toronto, FundThrough’s AI-powered invoice funding platform gives B2B businesses fast, customized funding offers to get their invoices paid in a few days - rather than a few months - and get quick access to cash that’s already theirs. For more information, go to To learn about FundThrough’s partnership with Intuit QuickBooks and how you can fund an invoice, click here. If you’re ready to create a free, QuickBooks integrated account, get started here.

Related Articles

Looking for something else?

Get QuickBooks

Smart features made for your business. We've got you covered.

Firm of the Future

Expert advice and resources for today’s accounting professionals.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.