“How can I get my company started if I don’t have any money?” If you are asking this question, you are not alone. The solution is Bootstrapping.
Bootstrapping is starting a business with little resources; this includes, money, skills, and a vast array of knowledge. Businesses are starting all around the world and succeeding with very little money. Here are some ideas for you to consider and some guidelines to follow.
Reduce cost for things that don’t matter to your customers. The internet has given everyone the ability to compete in business. You no longer have to fight your way into stores to compete. Reduce the cost of a work-space by starting in a garage or home office. Your customers only care about the product or service you deliver them.
Use affordable service options and potentially trade services. One pitfall that companies fall for is overspending for services. This even causes many businesses to never gets off the ground. You don’t need the best website or packaging on the market. You need a good product or service and you need customers. Some bootstrap companies trade their product for services such as web design or accounting.
Find partners that work for equity. At this point, your company does not have money to pay employees.
Use crowd funding. Crowd funding is a great way to get going without losing equity in your business. New companies have found a lot of success in sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. One great example of success from Kickstarter is Nomatic.
Guidelines for Bootstrapping
Stay focused. Focus on what you are good at. It is easy to distracted with all the different aspects of business. Often you will be working on a product and discover new opportunities for your business. Instead of long Business statement, I would recommend following Guy Kawasaki advice by creating a business mantra. This is a short statement that your business should revolve around daily. Create weekly goals and follow out daily plans to achieve those goals.
Avoid being overwhelmed by focusing on small steps. Starting a business is tough. There are a lot of steps needed to get your business off the ground. Figure out milestones and reach for those milestones. Find a mentor that will help guide you along your entrepreneurial journey.
Have fun. I believe we are best at what we a passionate about. Your customers will know if you enjoy the services you render them. This will create a good environment as you begin hiring your first employees and create a culture of care.
I highly recommend those starting up a business with little money to read The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. Chris gives lots of examples of companies that bootstrapped and can give you ideas as you begin your business.