III. Bootstrapping Your Way to Success
Section C: Seven Innovative Bootstrapping Strategies
So maybe your bank account feels a little small to launch a business. But here’s the thing – what you lack in money you can make up in ingenuity. And that’s why I’d like to share with you seven bootstrapping strategies that you can use to help get your business off the ground.
Bootstrapping Strategy 1. Barter With Others
You have products and services that other people need, and they have products and services that you need. That’s where bartering comes in. Instead of buying the products and services you need with money, you trade your product, skills, time and talent.
For example, let’s suppose you’re a great writer, but you’d rather cover yourself in honey and lay down on a fire ant hill before you attempt to fiddle with website coding.
The solution? Find a website developer and trade your writing skills for his or her coding skills.
One good way to find someone who’s interesting in bartering is to place classified advertisements on sites like CraigsList (as they have a barter section) or TradeAway.com. You can also check out barter networks like OurGoods.org.
Another way to find someone to barter with is to connect with those who possess the skills you need on niche forums or social media sites like Facebook. You might post a general announcement with your proposal, or you might write to people directly to see if they’re interested in bartering.
Bootstrapping Strategy 2. Start-Up Small
The idea here is to think big, but start small.
If you took the first course in this series, then you’re already well familiar with the value that we place on thinking big but starting small.
Point is, you don’t need to invest a ton of money or even a whole lot of time in order to get your business off the ground. Instead, you can focus on putting the basics in place with an eye for expanding everything in the future.
For instance, while the founders of Twitter obviously had to do coding to launch their site, they didn’t spend a fortune creating a logo. Indeed, they used an illustration from a stock photo site and just tweaked it a bit.
Likewise, you can focus your resources on the parts of your business that are most important, while using less expensive alternatives for other parts.
For example, you might start by building a website using the free WordPress platform. Once you start making profits, you can reinvest the money back into your business to create a more customized, higher-end website.
The launching of your overall business is one thing, as that tends to require a lot of resources to put everything in place. Now, depending on what kind of business model you have, you may also launch products or even services individually. Which brings us to the next point…
Bootstrapping Strategy 3. Launch Small
If your business model includes product creation, then you probably invest money into the process. This includes everything from market research to the actual product creation itself. So, when it comes time to launch – especially if this is your first product – you may find your advertising budget feels a bit small.
That’s okay. The way to overcome requires two steps:
#1, use advertising methods that don’t require an upfront expense. You’ll learn more about this in bootstrapping strategy #5.
#2, reinvest profits immediately back into your business. For example, maybe you start with a small Google AdWords campaign. You can immediately reinvest the profits back into AdWords to run a larger campaign. You can then reinvest the profits from the larger campaign back into AdWords as well as media buys or other advertising. If you keep reinvesting profits, you’ll gain momentum quickly.
Once you’ve launched your first product, however, then the advantage you’ll have is your buyer’s list. Whenever you launch a new product thereafter, you can promote it to your list first. And as your list of responsive buyers grows, so too will your profits. You might even take the profits you make from your list and plunge them into paid advertising to help your business grow more quickly.
Now let’s look at the next strategy . . .