Bootstrapping a business. A short guide to success

So you want to start your own business? If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you’re in for an exciting time. Most of us don’t have piles of money or a line of wealthy investors to start our own businesses – we have to bootstrap our businesses instead. That means relying on our personal finances and limited resources to grow a business. If that sounds like you, this guide will offer simple but powerful tips for bootstrapping a business.

Figure out your starting costs and find a way to meet them

The starting costs of your business idea will depend on what your business is. Online-based businesses often require little to no startup costs, but if your business requires supplies, office space, or even employees, you’re going to have starting costs.

Don’t let these costs scare you away from bootstrapping your own business. Instead, research what everything will cost on average rather than assuming you’ll get everything cheaply. Even if the final total seems high, remember that there are plenty of people out there who started businesses with next to nothing – you can even check out a podcast like this one to hear from others who’ve already been on the startup journey.

Figure out how much capital you need just to get started. Then figure out how you’ll get that capital. You may need to use your savings, borrow from family, or take out a loan. So long as you’re transparent about what your startup costs are and how you’ll repay them, finding capital to start your business should be pain-free.



Keep costs low

Once you’ve figured out your startup costs, it’s time to figure out how you can lower both your startup costs and your ongoing expenses. Saving money at every opportunity is essential if you want to bootstrap your business.

There are lots of ways to save money whilst your business is starting out, such as working remotely rather than renting office space or opting for DIY marketing over paid advertising. This article on smart ways any small business can save money has lots of tips and tricks you can use to ensure you aren’t wasting any money.

Focus on organic marketing

We just mentioned opting for DIY, or organic, marketing over paid ads. Not only does this save you money, but it could benefit your business in the long run.

Organic marketing means focusing your marketing efforts on traffic and sales that come naturally rather than via paid ads. Social media is an important part of organic marketing and is something you can manage yourself or if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, outsource to a freelance marketing expert. The great thing about social media marketing is it gives you a chance to build your brand and engage directly with your customer base.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is another important part of organic marketing. You want your website or eCommerce site to appear high on search engine results pages, so you need to make sure everything from your URLs to your product descriptions is SEO-friendly. Creating a content marketing strategy will help with this too. This can be as simple as starting a blog on your website that will help you produce regular, unique content that improves your search ranking and draws in new customers. All of this can be done for free or outsourced to freelance writers and SEO specialists.