How to bootstrap your business idea

With the cost-of-living crisis and other economic concerns making news across the world, now not might feel like the perfect time to be starting your business. Just because times are tough however, success remains impossible. A time honoured way to finance business, in good times and bad, has been to bootstrap; this means growing your start-up funds without taking out a significant loan, giving you more control over the firm as you develop it further.

This is especially common for first-time entrepreneurs — and it’s important you know how bootstrapping could set your business up for success.

The benefits of bootstrapping

There are many considerations to take into account before you begin bootstrapping, and these can help you to figure out if this form of financing is right for you. The core benefit of bootstrapping is that it keeps you in total control of the business and the direction it goes. Independent investors and shareholders might place pressure on companies they partly own and could steer the company against your interests. If you’ve bootstrapped and self-financed your business idea, then this isn’t something you’re going to need to worry about.

The freedom that comes with bootstrapping is often commented upon, but it’s also useful for helping you focus on the fundamentals of your company — free of distractions and external interests.

On top of this, the capital investment required to set up many companies is low; especially since online marketplaces are always an option when selling goods. If the business doesn’t work out, you also won’t have a big debt to pay off.

Philip Keezer

How to bootstrap effectively

If you don’t know how to bootstrap your company, you might be opening the business, and yourself, to a lot of financial risks; knowing how to avoid this is crucial, so do your homework early on.

Every small business starts with finding the right niche, or a specific focus, that’s likely to draw in customers. Your bootstrap funding might only get you so far if the product isn’t unique enough, so figure out the selling point of your service as quickly as possible.

Make sure you begin your business with a minimum viable product or MVP — this doesn’t have to be perfect, as you can refine it further down the line. This is the most basic version of your service, which you can start to sell and continuously improve as you work on developing the company. Be fiscally responsible at every juncture, as it could be tempting to spend your initial earnings immediately, but it’s usually best to save up for the future.

Attend local networking events, and follow industry leaders on social media, as this may help you develop your professional reputation and could teach you vital business techniques for your chosen sector. You could accept donations from friends or family to go towards bootstrapping — as this doesn’t involve giving up control of your company. When you do see profits from your business, invest them back into the company, and resist the urge to spend more than you need to.

There are plenty of bootstrapping success stories that prove self-funding is a viable route for your start-up. By following these tips and working hard to build the best company that you possibly can, your new enterprise could easily grow into something special — and successful.

If you enjoyed this article, please head to my website for more, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Philip Keezer

I’m Philip J. Keezer, president and founder of management consulting firm Grindstone Capital. Dedicated to hard work, learning, positivity and accountability.