I’ve had the pleasure to sit down with some pretty cool entrepreneurs that have had great stories to tell and helpful advice to give, especially when it comes to bootstrapping your startup. So, my loyal KillerStartups community, I’ve gathered some of the best tips for bootstrapping a startup to help you on your way to startup success.
Graham McFarland, CEO of Cinegif
Focus all of your energy on getting your first customer. Traction is the key for any start-up. Investors these days don’t want to fund start-ups, they want to accelerate businesses. You have to get traction to prove that you have a business that solves a problem that is worth solving.
Matt Wilson, Co-Founder Under30CEO
Test everything. Before you raise funds, before you commit your entire business model to something you don’t know will work, and before you spend 18 months developing something, hack it together and test your minimum viable product. At Under30Media, we test several different revenue streams to see if they work. If you fail quietly, nobody will ever notice – and you won’t go broke.
Most people these days still make the mistake of thinking that you have to start a business with a “go big or go home” mentality. In today’s Information Age, this is not the case. You don’t need as much capital to launch a business as you used to, especially when it comes to online businesses. Use relatively cheap methods of marketing and promotion, such as text messaging, cheap flyers, and social media. Scale down your idea so you can start it using the abundance of tools available to us today; investors will come later, once you’ve built up.
Andrew Schrage, Co-Founder of Money Crashers
Pay down your debts as much as possible – eliminating them is ideal. Save as much money as you can in your personal life by doing things such as clipping coupons and reducing your home energy expenses. Also, stick with your day job in the beginning. Deciding when to make the jump into full-time entrepreneurship is difficult, but when your revenues reach a point where you can live off the profits and working your day job is hampering operations, this is when to make the leap.
Vinicius Melo, Founder Guchex
Simple, don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
So what have we learned, my best bootstrapped buddies? Test your product before you raise funds, utilize our good friend The Internet, don’t quit your day job and don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Take it from these entrepreneurs – they’ve been through the startup ringer already and made it out alive (and successful!). Maybe one day I’ll have the chance to get your best tips for bootstrapping a startup to impart on other newbies. And the startup life cycle rolls on.
Matt Wilson | Andrew Schrage