Bootstrapping a business is difficult, but it’s by no means impossible. With the right amount of hard work, collaboration, and passion for your company, it’s almost too easy to give up a chunk of your personal life today for the sake of your future. Ultimately, bootstrapping is making an investment in yourself that will pay off for you and your company in the long run.
1. Keep an eagle eye out on your cash reserves
Squeeze every last bit out of your cash reserves. Don’t pay suppliers ahead of time, don’t pay yourself a huge salary. It’s much easier to spend than to accumulate. Be very careful with your spending habits. Don’t use a serviced office if your home or even a friend’s garage will suffice. Save on costs, don’t buy firsthand unless you absolutely have to.
2. Look to generate cash quickly
You’re bootstrapping so you don’t have the luxury of seed capital funding and big investors behind you. So every cent and penny counts. Focus on the demand side of the equation. What does the market look like? Can you get them to part with their money in return for your product or service offering? Can you do that on a repetitive basis?
3. It’s good to talk
If you have a co-founder, great! Make sure you have complimentary skills and communicate, communicate about everything. And whether or not you have a co-founder. Take every opportunity to talk about your business to friends, family and acquaintances. Even strangers on a train. Keep an open mind and get their feedback, ideas, thoughts, criticisms etc.. who knows, you may find a future customer, colleague or the solution to a problem that you might be facing!
4. Do it yourself
If you don’t know how to do something then take the time to learn it. It will be worth it. Don’t outsource/hire people to do jobs creating unnecessary expense that you can’t afford. You need to squeeze more out of yourself and your capital.
5. Be agile
Be prepared to pivot or change your direction or views. The worse thing you can do is be stubborn to the point where it is destroying value for your business now and in the future. Sometimes timing is everything and surely you want to spot it and action on it in a timely manner to capitalise on the opportunity. That requires agility and flexibility.
6. Don’t always say Yes
Just because a potential customer may want you to do something, don’t automatically say yes. It may distract you from your business and that means that it won’t achieve further growth.
7. Have fun!
Don’t forget to have fun while you are on this amazing journey. It will be stressful at times doing it all yourself on limited capital, with additional pressures such as time and perhaps family pressures. Make sure you enjoy what you do as that will feed the passion and energy. Smile and find a way to switch off to re-charge the batteries so you can continue to grow your business.