Five Simple Tips For Bootstrapping Your Startup
When starting your own company, you must tightly manage your time and money. Some juggle a full-time job with entrepreneurial exploits, while others set personal deadlines to accomplish certain goals within an established time frame before moving on.
The following are a few “must-knows” to help entrepreneurs bootstrap successfully:
1) Press + Start With What You Know
Access to the press can do a lot for any entrepreneur. Access to events and conferences and the right networking can lead to that one game-changing connection. For this reason, try to get to as many writing or speaking events as you can. This can be difficult early on, so start small, start with what you know, and work up from there.
Everyone loves an expert, so blog, guest post, and attend conferences on whatever you know best.
2) Time – What, When, Who, and How Much
With startups, it is not necessarily who is the first or the fastest to market, but who is smarter about it. Time is your most limited resource, so organize accordingly. Establish blocks of time for certain things so that you’re not wasting time or energy.
A good recommendation is to keep mornings for operational chores, and use afternoons for meetings face-to-face.
3) Travel on the cheap
Traveling cheaply is highly doable with an intelligent approach and solid network. Always keep travel dates flexible, deal with layovers, and build loyalty miles wherever possible. Many airlines, hotels, rental cars, and evening restaurants offer loyalty programs. You can use the points you accrue for future work-related travel or for a much-needed vacation. Couches are also ideal in more ways than one.
Not only is couchsurfing cheap, it also allows for catch-up time with colleagues and friends. You may even learn a few things that could be useful for your startup while crashing on someone else’s couch.
4) Advisors + Mentors
Advisors and mentors can often be a great source of “free” expert advice. Entrepreneurs can come out with great ideas and support without dealing with a retainer or hourly billing rate. Startups often seek out advisors who on paper look good, but these people can end up not being what you need early on. Instead, find people who are available part-time but remain accessible for important decisions.
A great way to establish a relationship with an advisor or mentor is to offer something in return. Perhaps an established founder or entrepreneur could use some guest posts on their website or some other tasks that you could offer to do for free in return for their valuable time and advice.
Entrepreneurs should prioritize giving back constantly in whatever way they can. Community support along the way is often critical in places where money and funding won´t make a difference. Examples include finding additional testers or users, or getting that advisor or co-founder. Build these connections and give back whenever possible.
Creativity is the key to bootstrapping. Keep a positive attitude, and get the most done with the least amount of time and money. Funding is very hard to predict, so remember that bootstrapping means not counting on major outside funding. Take these times as learning experiences, and when that big break comes in, these lean days may become fond memories.