My Royalty Free Music business model is designed to have zero expenses other than keeping my domain name up every year. The 'fuel' to my company is musicians' old recordings which I create new music out of and license on my Royalty Free site. Every time a track with their samples are licensed, they earn some residual income. And I've already acquired enough material to last a lifetime already.
Question: Are there any reasons I haven't thought of where I should still consider seeking investors?
The other thing investors being to the table besides money is
The downsides are:
So, I think it is worth some of your time to attend events and say hello, practice you pitch, see if there is interest both on the spot and more importantly on the followup ... You don't have to commit till you sign on the dotted line.
your situation is actually excellent for investors, because:
their money will not go towards paying your infrastructure bills or developing your service (perhaps only to expand it if demand increases)
BUT can be used towards pure customer acquisition (marketing, hiring sales and support personnel, etc...)
WHILE at the same time they have a very good case for your profitability, since with such small expenses, it is almost guaranteed (or at least the fail margin is considerably lower than usual) that you won't fail on expenses alone.
so the benefit FOR YOU is rapid expansion (marketing, sales, social media) with the money you get from investors (as in - getting more views from your target groups, therefore getting more business, therefore > profit).
basically, here you are thinking like the McDonald's brothers who opened up one restaurant it was a success and then they opened another. that was it.
then they sold out and the new buyer expanded the franchise to what it is today.
http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/ray-kroc-story.htm the brothers were happy with their two-restaurant expansion. with investors the (eventual) corporation could go global and acquire such a huge market it has today.
same for you, you may be happy with your current situation, but more money from investors means a bigger market share possibility.
other than that, using the money to BUY out or MERGE with other similar services is also a money well spent (especially if your investors can help with advice or actual takeovers/mergers). you may think your inventory is big, but it can always be bigger (example: amazon.com - watch http://www.infoq.com/presentations/vogels-amazon-platform ).
also, if you can make use of adwords and similar programs (by hiring an expert to set it up) you are just exchanging money for more money. suppose the experts sets (and keeps optimizing) your campaigns so that each campaign spends (even) slightly less money than you get profit from the business it generates. in the case you have such a campaign, it makes sense to keep increasing the money to run the campaign (as long as it remains profitable) and you keep getting more and more profit from it.
if $10 campaign can bring $1 profit ($11 dollars total), then $1 million can bring $100,000 profit. this is usually called leverage, and can only be made if you have investors or bank assistance (in your case - investors are realistically more available than the bank).
Investors, particularly early stage ones, will be rather heavily involved with your company and give you valuable advice and bring substantial real-world experience with startups.
But it's incredibly unlikely you actually have "zero expenses". In addition to the domain name, you clearly need hosting, and if you're serving audio files you're going to need relatively significant bandwidth.
This is in addition to the incredible time investment required. Frankly, working very hard greatly increases your living costs (no time to cook; looking for deals takes time you won't have; etc.).
You'll inevitably need to market, which can easily start costing thousands of dollars.
I cannot answer from experience, but I have a similar problem. My startup does only need the money I need for living. At the moment I need no money, I live from my savings.
As an investor has some rights to decide, I thought I would leave investors out as long as I can. I calculated servers costs, the time I work for it, a bit risk and of course all the costs I need for insurances etc. Can I handle it without investor, I will not ask one.
Investors are usually good with distribution and such. At the moment I am more interested in getting a distribution partner who is willing to work for his own bill and gets a % of the income he sells.
About marketing strategies, there is Google AdWords and some viral stuff like Twitter. I don't know if it is enough but I hope so.
Just in case I suddenly feel I would like to get a 10k$ marketing, I have a presentation ready for an investor.
I heard of several companies who managed it without investors.
I say no - if you can get away without investors, take your business as far as you possibly can without them. You will be building equity and will be in a better negotiating position if you need investors in the future.