The dream of working for yourself is a powerful one. The ability to be your own boss, set your own hours, and take vacations whenever you want offers a strong incentive to want to start a business.
But what if you don’t have the money you need?
The good news is that you can start a business on a shoestring. You just have to know how to booststrap it. First of all, realise that you won’t be able to boostrap a business that requires a lot of equipment and high startup costs. Think about your business idea, and what it entails. If you are operating on a very small budget, you will need a business idea that has relatively low costs.
Once you know that your business idea is compatible with boostrapping, you can use these 7 tips that can help you make it work:
1. Start Small, No Office
Renting office space can get real expensive, real quick. If you are bootstrapping your business, it’s a good idea to start small, without an office. You shouldn’t rent an office until you have managed to expand to at least two employees. You can start in your home, or you can start in a coffee shop with wi-fi. There are also inexpensive co-working arrangements that can work so that you don’t have to rent an office.
Consider bartering for the things that you need. You can trade some of your products or services for what you need. You might be surprised at the business barter networks that have sprouted in recent years. If you are looking to better your business, bartering really can be a good way to go. You don’t need to use cash, and you get what you need.
3. Get Quotes for Business Insurance
Depending on what type of business you are running, you might need business insurance. Consider different types of insurance, and get a quote. In some cases, if you need the insurance, it’s best to just get it, rather than run the risk that a lawsuit or some other problem could complete destroy your fledgling company.
4. Test the Market for Your Product or Service
Before you invest in office space, or a brick and mortar storefront, test the market for your product or service. See what kind of demand there is. This means that you should take a product to a festival or to some sort of open air market first. You’ll be able to better gauge demand when you test out the product in the “real world.” If demand offline is low, you might want to focus more energy online, or change your product or service.
5. Use Social Media to Spread the Word
An essential part of boostrapping a business is to use any free channels you can to spread the word. This can include a social media strategy that helps get the word out there, and raise awareness for your business. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even smaller niche sites can all draw attention to your business. Target appropriate social networks, and involve yourself in them. You’ll build community and find customers.
6. Look the Part
If you will be making presentations to others, you want to look sharp. Rather than by several mediocre or poor quality suits, spend your money on one high quality suit. It’s worth it to look good when you go into a meeting. You want to project an image of someone who knows what he or she is doing, and a nice suit is a big part of that. Don’t forget to properly groom yourself so you make the right impression. You may be boostrapping, but you want people to focus on your great business idea, and not on your lack of funds.
7. Apply for Alternative Financing
You can also apply for alternative financing. Crowd sourcing and P2P lending are both great options when it comes to bootstrapping. If you can’t get financing from the bank, these resources can help you get a little money for startup. Also, with the right crowdsourcing sites, you can offer your product or service in exchange for a little funding help. You can also use a small business credit card to help you manage your cash flow as you get started.