Boot Strapping Your Start-Up
So today the discussion is around bootstrapping.
We are Business In Bare Feet so we don’t wear shoes but if you’re wearing shoes today reach down and grab the straps (laces) and try to pull yourself up… its impossible right?
(I first wrote this article for Linked IN you can see it here.)
The term to pull yourself up by your bootstraps has been around for centuries and in todays world implies achieving your goals with minimal outside assistance.
Boot Strapping In The Business World
If you’ve been around the start-up business world for more than a month no doubt you’ve heard this term come up once or twice.
Bootstrapping in the start up / business world implies starting a business with minimal or no outside input – especially cost input items – the business is launched and grown through its own resources over other options like large sums of capital or other investment.
Bootstrapping is kind of like lean or agile for a start up – but in this iteration, it is more in their nature – and way more mission-critical.
What Are The Challenges When Bootstrapping?
It is a tough journey and can take longer – often growth projections are reflective of a slower growth curve.
It can impact on your credibility – with, well everyone; team, suppliers, creditors, clients.
If you are distracted by shiny stuff as many of us are – you may suffer the entrepreneur’s dilemma, being only accountable to yourself, always improving, always innovating and never actually selling.
A cashed-up competitor could get a serious jump on you
Limited cashflow can impact your ability to create
Having a community around you – although this can be alleviated through start up hubs or communities, if you are more the introverted type you may not reach out for help – you may not know if you are off track or you may be closed to input which will impact your business all the way along the journey. A community like sandtracks can really help.
So Why Would You Do It?
Personal satisfaction – yeah you did it! You got to that next level, you got the big investor on board, you signed that “n” the client and all because you built this thing yourself. It feels great… trust me.
Makes for a great story – all the best success stories seem to start in Grandmas garage – or maybe a gite in France, or a small acreage in regional Western North Carolina 😉
Your business your way – as the famous Sinatra song puts it – “I Did It My Way” and there is great satisfaction in knowing that you created something from scratch, you worked hard, hustled, cajoled and got there. Your business reflects you, your passions, your pains, the culture is born because of you.
Keep early control of your business – you can make decisions without having to ask countless investors and other people permission. You can tinker if you want, fiddle around the edges or dive right in and pivot – because you can – you’re in charge. Remember the dilemma above – you’ve still got a business to build.
Prove the concept, grow the business, make it more valuable – It is an awesome way to prove your concept, get your business to a profitable space and figure the kinks whilst preparing for perhaps a decent investment round. Investors like cleaner owned businesses and bootstrapping keeps you in charge.
What Are Some Bootstrapping Tips?
- Its easier if you know the business space you are in – especially if you love it and are energized by it
- You cant have it all today but you can work towards more for tomorrow – manage your expectations upfront
- Can the team you need be equity partners rather than paid employees or contractors?
- Look for opportunities to minimize capital and other costs – rent, equipment, production costs etc.
- Find suppliers and distributors who may defer full cost for services for royalties etc.
- Remember cashflow is critical so get bums on seats now – ugly early is ok if you manage your market well
- Make social media your friend – learn how to tell great stories and have inspiring conversations with your target – this is by far the most cost-effective method to get your message out there
There are many other tips and tools – I would love to hear yours – share them below and we might even interview you in an upcoming live feed.
Connect with SandTracks Mentors
All the mentors in Business in Bare Feet SandTracks Club have bootstrapped a business at some stage in their journey and would have some great stories and advice to share.
Always Enjoy The Journey
Jonathan (Jono) Brake – Co-Founder Business In Bare Feet