Once upon a time, starting a business would have been a huge leap of faith. Thanks to technology, you don’t have to “leap”; you’d just have to take a step forward. But then, why spend any money when you don’t have any? Why take the hard route when there are easier options today?
No matter how you cut it, it does take money to make money. Yet, it’s not money you should be after. Also, money is not what you should be spending when you are starting out with entrepreneurship. Spend yourself, instead.
It’s the ultimate experience you gain as an entrepreneur, all those “never taught in schools” lessons you’ll pick, and the amazing team you’ll strive to build.
Anyone with a half-baked plan and over enthusiasm coupled with a dream can seek venture capitalistic funding. Bootstrapping, however, isn’t for the faint-hearted. The positive outcome of bootstrapping, meanwhile, puts you in the drivers seat.
Plus, boot strapping makes you a better entrepreneur, according to YEC. You get creative freedom, you stick to your roots as an entrepreneur, you get to manage a smaller (but more efficient) team, you get to seek better rewards and profits, and you progress faster. Best of all, you have no outsider influence (that’s what entrepreneurs want, don’t they?).
Here are some rules for bootstrapping so that you start with nothing and make something highly valuable out of it:
Focus on action, not assets
Entrepreneurs are all guilty – just like the rest of us – of saying:
“I’ll get that and then do this”
“I’ll need this to do that”
“I’ll not be able to run this business without scaling up”
“I’ll need external funding to grow”
“Is anyone out there to do this for me?”
All that talk of outsourcing, productivity, and the availability of business assets within reach will make you want to not take action on our part. We just sit and wait. We want someone else to do things for us.
Flash news: no one’s coming for you. Not unless you start doing something about it. You don’t need anything to take “action”, except action itself.
Once you begin to roll, most things will automatically fall into place. Plus, there are awesome ways to get people to vouch for your business, get known on social media, get known through guest blogging, and have people notice you – all of this without spending a dime.
Stop looking for excuses and develop a biting bias for action. As you grow, develop the same bias for action as a “culture” in your workplace, among your team.
Start with almost nothing
“Norm” is never a validation for doing something. Offices, fancy equipment, and a team in place even before a product is sold are all extraneous. Instead, start with nothing.
Grab a cup of coffee and think of business names, logo concepts, tag lines, branding elements, and everything else you’d need to start. Don’t go hunting for this on CrowdSpring or CopyShoppy – that’s for lazy entrepreneurs. Anyway, no one understands what you intend to do better than you do.
Get your website developed for the least cost possible using any of the tools below:
Or go open source with Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal.
Apart from the expenses of a domain name and hosting, you aren’t spending on anything else.
Use free or trial accounts from Unbounce, LanderApp, or KickOffPages to build your landing pages. Forget developers.
Set your payment systems, invoicing, and finances in order
Start with spreadsheets to pull all your numbers together to start with. Wait for your first order, cash in the invoice, and then – only then – it’s viable to move over to any of the web-based invoicing tools available for small businesses such as Freshbooks, LessAccounting or Xero.
When looking for an accountant (depending on your location, applied laws, and regulations) decide whether you’d need someone full-time, part-time, or if absolutely anyone can do your book-keeping from anywhere.
Hire cloud dwellers
You don’t need an office. What you do need is an able and efficient team. Bringing in full-timers when you are just starting out could be an expensive affair. Plus, there’s no telling when they are going to leave for greener pastures.
Instead, look for freelancers – they have loads of experience, they treat you as a client and their work as a business making them more reliable, they work harder, and they don’t need training. They also don’t need you to put up breakout areas. They barely take a leave and they go out of their way to upgrade their own skills.
There’s a reason telecommuting is in, and is going to be the future of work.
While you work with them, there are numerous project management tools and time tracking tools to manage your virtual task force. Here are some of them:
Time Sheets and vendor Management
Stick to digital marketing
What do the following companies have in common? Moz.com, CrazyEgg.com, Kissmetrics.com, Buffer, CopyBlogger Media, and GrooveHQ? They never spent a dime in advertising. Their entire business models depend on the power of digital marketing, the strength of the community they worked hard to build, and the power of organic reach.
Look no further for proof of how digital marketing helps. Start a blog, get social, build a list of enthusiastic subscribers, and do everything you can to grow your business this way.
Advertising is for fat, old, and lazy businesses.
Bootstrapping, as mentioned earlier, is not for those looking to lounge in fancy bank lobbies, VC offices, and those just looking for an option to build wealth. It’s a steamy, sexy, and terrifyingly exhilarating option for those willing to rough it out, pull sleeves up, and get some hustle on steroids.
What kind of an entrepreneur are you? Are you looking for VC funding or would you like to bootstrap? How did you grow and start your business? What makes you tick? You are the hero. Tell us your story.
Images: ”Bootstrap. Businessman in white shirt with a black tie showing or holding business card/ Shutterstock.com“
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