While you may mostly be discouraged (by family members and well-meaning friends) from starting a business with very little in your bank account, bootstrapping is a fairly common incident in the business world. Led by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who built the Apple brand in a garage, many successful businessmen did in fact start-up with only a bit of cash, a stellar idea and lots of luck.
So if you’ve got a genius product in your hands (or in your brains), don’t worry about the naysayers and instead pay attention to all the ways you can get your business out there with as little spending as possible.
Here are some ideas.
1. Use what you’ve got on hand.
If an attic can double as your office for the time being, so be it. Find a used truck for your deliveries and just outfit it with quality bed liners from Provo, Utah. This is the time to be as thrifty as you can. Remember, form comes before function in the early days.
Look for ways and things you can save on. Use free versions of computer applications, like Dropbox or QuickBooks. Print your own business cards. Look for a refurbished computer instead of going all out on the latest and fanciest laptop. Use a bank that offers their service for free. Look around you. There are pennies to be saved everywhere.
2. Now’s the time to get learning.
Instead of hiring a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, why not read up on the basics and learn as you go along? Now is not the time to outsource jobs you can do on your own.
Maybe you can learn to code and program your website, thus learning the technology from inside out. Know nothing about marketing your products? There are seminars to attend and videos to watch, most of which are for free. There are possibilities everywhere if you will step out of your comfort zone and educate yourself further.
3. Safeguard your personal expenses.
During the infancy stages of building your company, you must get used to living a very simple lifestyle. You won’t have a salary, so you will need to be very resourceful. Cut on useless spending, pay attention to price tags, say goodbye to lavish restaurants and steer clear from all kinds of shopping. Consider bunking with a friend or a family member to cut your rent expenses. It’s also a good idea to make (and strictly stick to) a weekly or monthly budget.
4. Find other revenue streams.
Perhaps you can offer graphic design, email writing, or SEO services as a sideline while you are building your start-up. It’s an excellent way to earn on the side which you may re-invest into your business later. Also, you get to build contacts and establish good relationships with people that you will need for your network.
It’s hard work, but it can be done. The lessons you will learn here will last a lifetime and will benefit every other area of your life, making it all worth it. Keep in mind that most start-up businesses were bootstrapped so don’t let that deter you from putting your dream business out there.