Starting out your business on a shoestring budget? It might not seem desirable, but bootstrapping your startup can yield positive results in the long run. But how do you grow your startup while bootstrapping? Thankfully, there are options, and we narrowed it down to six of the most useful solutions.
1) Keep Personal Expenses Down
Thinking about ordering takeout tonight? As much as you may love to eat that chow mein and avoid cooking, resist the temptation!
Bootstrapping a startup will require your own funds (as well as sourcing for any willing supporters), and saving money in as many ways as possible is crucial.
Create a separate business account, and set up a budget each month for personal expenses. Any money in the separate account is then forbidden for any personal spending, and you will be forced to live on a budget.
Keeping to a set amount may seem a little tricky, but being frugal will pay off in the long run. You’ll save more money for getting your business off the ground, and you’ll have it back once it starts to earn money.
A business grows with word of mouth. Search for local business networking events in your area, book a place and show up with plenty of business cards. Get talking to other attendees, and mention your new business.
You never know—you just may be the business that they are looking for.
3) Use Social Media
A good social media presence leads to further customer engagement.We are on the cusp of a digital revolution, and now is the time to get on board with it.
Last year, a staggering 73% of Americans used social media to express their interests and stay in touch with the latest developments.
Maintain your company’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. on a regular basis. Take note of the times of the highest engagement rates, and try to post at these times in the future. Internet users love catchy, fun, and engaging posts with images, so be sure to post plenty of these to guarantee more interactions. People love to engage with and share the latest news on their pages, which leads me to my next point…
Based on the popularity of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding sites, it’s clear that the public loves to support start-ups. Crowdfunding allows potential long-standing customers to get involved in a project from its infancy.
Bootstrapping is a difficult and costly process, and financing entirely by yourself is not always achievable. By crowdfunding, you will be able to raise the necessary funds and create social media buzz at the same time.
5) Do As Many Jobs Yourself As Possible
Employing a workforce costs money, and this is money you may not necessarily have at the beginning. You’ll be busy, but try to take on as many jobs as possible by yourself, or with a smaller team (such as your trusty co-founder).
Think you need an accountant? No, you don’t! Download accounting spreadsheets or software, and start to keep a record of all of your earnings and expenses.
You can think about expanding your staff at a later date. Have yourself and your employees work from home if you can to save on office rental costs, and be your own PR for now.
6) Conduct Your Own Market Research
Employing the services of a specialist marketing team is not cheap, so why not save on expenses and conduct your own market research instead? Keep on top of your competitors by browsing their website and checking their posts on social media.
No need to pay for expensive focus groups either. Interact with potential customers via social media, and ask your friends and acquaintances for their honest opinions about your products and services. This also increases your word of mouth, so . . . win-win!
7) Launch Your Site and Start Your Blog
Like social media use, launching a website and regularly updating a blog will help your business make its stamp. Creating a professional-looking website and blog is expensive, but you don’t have to rush to develop everything at the beginning.
Be prepared to let your website grow with your company. Invest more money into developing your site once all of your collective efforts are starting to take shape.
In the meantime, post regular updates on your blog about your growing company. Keep it engaging and informative—people are more likely to share content if it’s eye-catching and easy to read!
Everyone is capable of pushing their startup to success. Combining persistence with the five points highlighted above will no doubt put you onto the right track. From the wise words of George McFly in Back to the Future, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
This post is based on an interview with Kerrin Mitchell from Fluxx.