Starting a business is always nerve racking and risky. Doing it with little or no money is called bootstrapping. Many businesses do this because they have no choice, but others choose to do it because it adds a sense of urgency and creativity that wouldn’t exist if they had more resources.
So what are the key ingredients to a successful bootstrapped startup?
1. Focus on what is important
Bootstrapping changes the focus of a business because you need to make money, and usually pretty quickly. This means that you need to focus on ideas, innovation and team work. It often means that the product needs to hit the market quickly, which may force you to implement a minimum viable product. This is a product that is just enough features wise to satisfy early customers. This gives you some quick cash flow, feedback and time to build a better more complex version.
2. Solve a real problem
We all want to think of something that hasn’t been thought of before, but the key to success is problem solving. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel but you do need to find a product that solves a pain point for your customer.
3. Think Lean
When you are bootstrapping you don’t really have a choice to think lean when it comes to spending money. Make sure you consider every purchase carefully and look for alternatives that might be cheaper or free in the short term to save you spending unnecessary money.
4. Viral Marketing
Instead of playing high cost marketing look for ways that you can break through to your target market is low cost but high impact. For example Neil Patel's startup CrazyEgg gave away free plans for free to technology bloggers and in return gained free publicity.
Creating videos and viral content can help you grow quickly. Buzzfeed was one of those focused on viral content and now has 200+ million monthly visitors and 250,000 paid user.
5. Automate your workflow
It is never too early to start building automation and systems for your business. Create manuals for future employees, automate elements that can be automated. This will help so that if you do see rapid growth your business will have the capability to scale easily.
6. Know your audience
It is critical that you understand your market and who your ideal client is. Listen to this group of people, understand their pain points and what makes them tick. This will help you build content, products and ads that really resonate with them and solve their problems while addressing their objections.
Many people just start a business without speaking to their accountant. They figure they don’t have any money yet so they don’t need help with money. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Firstly we can make sure that you have the right structure to minimise your tax obligations. Secondly we can help you set up your accounting software so that you get off to the right start with your record keeping. Finally, as the money does start coming in we can help you decipher your reporting such as the balance sheet and profit and loss statement so that we can ensure you get off to a healthy start.