The Definition of boot·strap /ˈbo͞otˌstrap/ verb gerund or present participle: bootstrapping Definition: get (oneself or something) into or out of a situation using existing resources.
There's a well-known saying that "you need money to make money," but that isn't always true.
Some of the most successful companies got started by nothing but a clear vision and hard work. Bootstrapping is the minimalistic business culture approach to starting a company, characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity. It usually refers to the starting of a self-sustaining process that is supposed to proceed without external input.
Bootstrapping is a process whereby an entrepreneur starts a self-sustaining business, markets it, and grows the business using limited resources or money, which gets accomplished without the use of venture capital or angel investments.
Due to the pandemic and recession, investments and startup capital may be harder to come by now, but there are plenty of ways to build your small business without any financial backing. Keep at it, and your company may be more thriving in the long run because of the initial work you put into it now.
Here are Six Tips for bootstrapping your business:
When you're starting a business, it's going to be an undertaking of admiration and grind, so make sure you're genuinely passionate about creating and building. But more importantly: make sure you understand the business industry, or you may never find business success with your company.
Business growth and sustainability will depend on your capability to anticipate what's coming and remain flexible to changing your plan of approach when the industry or economy shifts. The better understanding you have your particular market, the easier it will be to carve out your place.
No two companies do things the same way. While you're deep-diving into research on your competition so you can retain an edge, you may become inspired by how your two companies could collaborate to tap into a new customer base or increase your market share.
Running a business requires wearing a lot of hats, but that's never truer than when you're bootstrapping a new company. Bootstrapping a business is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for the one-dimensional businessperson. To successfully bootstrap your startup, you'll have to wear many hats.
As you're mapping out all the tasks that need to get accomplished, only delegate or hire out for functions and services that are impossible for you to do on your own. You'd be surprised how much you can accomplish without spending much on outsourcing, especially with all the advances in technology and SAAS.
Fortune 500 companies would fall apart quickly without its numerous operations departments. Marketing, HR, Accounting, Compliance, and more are all crucial to running major corporations. Still, many of these same functions could be performed by you when it comes to a burgeoning small business, with help from online platforms and software.
With a fundamental knowledge and introduction in social media, a solopreneur could quickly generate his or her prospective customer leads with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or start an efficient email marketing campaign with services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
Securing and paying monthly lease or rent for office space is expensive and may impede your startup productivity, especially when you're just getting started. If you're a solopreneur, office space doesn't even make sense, realistically speaking, and finding a designated area in your home to be productive.
If you have a small team working with you, work can be managed remotely with check-ins via Zoom or other video call software. If that starts to become unmanageable, look to host meetings at a small space that allows for flexibility with fees or a coffee shop.
Of course, once revenue and profit start flowing and you have enough to cover the expenses while sustaining business profit, a co-working space membership or an office lease can be the next step.
Sooner or later, you will need additional and like-minded people to help get your business passed the initial startup stage—and this time may come before you have the capital and financial resources accessible to hire employees and pay payroll taxes.
You may have sufficient money to hire a few full-time employees, but the salaries will be below-market. Or perhaps you can't employ any staff and offer them benefits, but you can plan and budget for part-time assistance or outsource and hire freelancers. Or maybe you can't afford to pay at all but can incentivize with a stake in the company.
Whatever your financial situation, the only way people would be willing to work under those provisions is if they believe in you and the company mission. Be passionate about the work you're creating, and you will be able to find people who are just as excited to bring your company vision to life.
As you advance down your startup venture, you're undoubtedly going to encounter roadblocks and hurdles that trouble, annoy, and delay you. Maybe you'll hear about a breakthrough or significant success of one of your competitors and wonder why it didn't happen to you. Perhaps someone you know will fall on hard times and go out of business, and you'll wonder if you're next. Or possibly you lose more clients in the first few months of starting, and you don't foresee anyone believing in your vision.
The worst thing you could do is press the pause button or stop altogether. Don't stop to compare yourself to others—that merely sows doubt. Be clear about your goals and see them through. And as soon as you achieve one goal, set more than raise the bar and keep moving forward down a path to success.
Your company won't be successful overnight. It will take time, effort, money, and, most importantly, you. You're the X factor for how well the company does. If you believe in yourself, mission, and vision, everything else will fall into its rightful place, even if you have to grind and bootstrap your way to success. It will come. Never give up.