Bootstrapping to Start Up
Explore Alternative Ways to Fund Your Start UpOftentimes, entrepreneurs face the challenge of securing funding for their startup ventures. While traditional funding sources like investors or loans can be effective, exploring alternative funding methods might provide unique advantages. Try some of the following proven methods:
Embrace your creative side by getting your local community involved to help find the funding you need for your business. For example, if you’re opening a local café, you could hold a community event encouraging locals to donate old furniture items in exchange for tasting your drinks or food.
Get Your Community Involved
Another idea is hosting local workshops or classes. You could host a class related to your business expertise, charge a fee for participation, and offer valuable knowledge or a fun experience in return. This can also help establish your brand as a trusted authority in your footprint.
The government, your state, city council, chamber of commerce, and local community may have free resources you can take advantage of when starting out. Search online for what’s available and find out which resources will be useful to your business.
Harness Free Resources
Until you can afford to hire an employee, see who might be willing to help out. You may have family or friends that have useful skills in one area of your business, or you might have an opportunity to offer a student some work experience to benefit you both. If you do need to hire staff, see if you can manage without permanent employees. Part time or freelance staff will help keep your payroll costs down.
Find Willing Volunteers
You don’t have to purchase all the equipment you need to get your business moving. Think about what items you might be able to borrow in the short term. Draw up a list of your asset needs and make a determined effort to borrow what you can, while shopping online for secondhand items that will save your business money. Are there people you know that are already in business who could lend you equipment or machinery long term?
Calling in favors from friends and family – in the form of assets, time or money – is a common bootstrapping technique to save money. The bottom line will be that you owe less money to lenders in the initial phase of your business.
Call In Favors
Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you may be able to use a workspace that costs little or even nothing. For example, if you’re starting up your own accounting firm, don’t rent an office just yet. Work from home using a spare room or the garage, a café, or another similar public place. Build up your clientele before paying for expenses that aren’t necessary straightaway.
Start Up from Home
You don’t need a large marketing budget to build a customer base. The Internet connects you to billions of people worldwide – and you can develop a strong presence for free. It’s feasible and common to use third party sites like Amazon or Etsy to sell your goods in your business’s startup phase. You can also take advantage of free online software – like cloud storage, accounting software, project management tools and video viewing sites.
Harness The Power of the Internet
With many standardized website builders already offering their services for minimal costs, you don’t have to know how to code to get your products or services within the reach of every web surfer on the planet.
In today’s world of ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ almost everything online, your business needs to be leveraging social media platforms. Whether you decide to create a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, regular interactions and postings are the keys to gaining sales traction and connecting with potential customers and brand loyalists.
Get Active on Social Media
Learn how you can use social media to build brand awareness here.
Having gained popularity over the last few years, crowdfunding lets you receive donations on the Internet to help get your business idea off the ground. You can offer people incentives to encourage them to get behind your business.
Effective marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune – don’t be afraid to get creative with your marketing strategy. Some ways you can get your brand in front of potential customers include:
Market Effectively and at a Low Cost
- Email campaigns – as you begin to sell to interested consumers, you’ll want them to return and make repeat purchases. This is where building an email contact list and sending out regular deals with calls to action can keep your business going.
- YouTube videos – images can speak louder than words, and video even more so. Whether you’re explaining what your business does or showing how a product works, videos are a cost-effective medium for getting your messages across to your target market.