It is not easy to get venture capital (VC) at an early stage of a business. It’s your idea, and it is not necessary that investors will like it and fund your startup. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot turn your idea into the reality. Most of the successful startups started out on their own without any venture capital.
Bootstrapping not only helps you get going with your business dream but also helps you maintain the control of your business.
“When you bootstrap, you are forced to get good fast. As humans, we prefer to put in only as much effort as we need to, but whether we recognize it or not, we all have extra gears,” says Ryan Smith on Harvard Business Review.
In today’s article, I’m going to discuss five ways to bootstrap your startup.
Without further ado, let’s dive in:
1- Keep Your Expenses in Check
The most important rule to successful bootstrap is to be your own accountant. You need to make every penny count in your startup. That being said, you don’t have to rent a big office and throw big product launch parties. Also, you don’t have to hire the best PR firm in the town to create a strong image for your business.
However, I don’t mean you should never have a big office and hire a reputed PR firm. At an initial stage, you should spend money on building an awesome product and getting it in front of your audience.
2- Use Social Media for Marketing
Regardless of your business domain, you need to promote your products and create buzz around them so that customers can recall your brand when they need products or services similar to yours. In order to do that, you need to reach your target audience. At the initial stage of your business, when you don’t have an incessant flow of marketing dollars, you should search for economical ways to reach your audience.
Social media is a great tool to promote your products. Social media marketing not only helps you reach your potential customers but also saves you tons of money. That’s why social media marketing is a must for every startup that is bootstrapping.
3- Lookout for Free/discounted Resource
I don’t have to explain it as it is self-explanatory. Before you buy any software or tool, try to find whether you can get it free or at a discounted price. With so many startup resources available, there are chances that you can get most of the needed things for free (at least for a few months). Google for discount coupons and deals before you buy anything. Most SaaS companies offer free trials of their proprietary software applications. Try them one-by-one until you have enough budget to buy licenses of these programs.
4- Outsource Unimportant Tasks
When you’re launching your startup, it is not necessary that you should get each and every task done in-house. Instead, you should focus your energy on your core tasks and outsource unnecessary tasks or hire a virtual assistant. Outsourcing offers many benefits for startups. When you outsource unimportant tasks, you not only get time-saving and cost-saving benefits but also access to the superior level of expertise.
“Outsourcing tasks just because your competitor is doing is not at all a smart decision. You should decide what you should outsource based on the nature of your business”, says Devika Majumder, the founder of Youngpreneurs India.
5- Keep Headcount Low and Hire Interns
You may believe in the classic portrait of a successful CEO - big team and a grand office. Believe me, my friend, you don’t need a big office and big team at an initial stage to make your startup big. Google started in a garage and Facebook kickstarted from Harvard dorm. Big team demands big expenses. Keep your team small initially to save money.
Hiring interns more than regular employees will save you tons of money. Experienced employees demand high pay packages that you might not be able to afford initially.
"More money doesn’t always mean better performance”, says John Crowley from peoplehr.
Hire interns, and save money. Additionally, interns will also bring a fresh perspective in your startup.
Startup journey without funding is quite possible and many startups are making it happen. If you keep your expense in check, use social media for marketing, lookout for free/discounted resource, outsource unimportant tasks, and keep headcount low, there is no reason why wouldn’t be able to bootstrap your startup.
Got any other tip to bootstrap? Please share it in the comment section.