Launching a business with little capital and no outside investments is a difficult but doable practice known as bootstrapping. Many entrepreneurs choose the bootstrapping route for their new venture as it involves less risk and he or she is able to maintain complete decision-making control due to the lack of investor interference. However, having a limited amount of capital to work with can be very restrictive and some bootstrapping entrepreneurs find themselves unable to meet their goals on an inadequate budget. That’s why it’s vital to be strategic when launching a bootstrapped venture.
The Plan Writers offers a few tips to help you to maximize your business’s potential and get the most out of your bootstrapped budget.
Write a Business Plan
Just because you’re not looking to secure loans from the bank or capital from investors, that doesn’t mean you should skip this important process. Outlining your business roadmap, conducting the necessary market research, and laying out your competitive strategy is an imperative step that can’t be overlooked. It forces you to objectively review your business’s chance at viability and can help you to identify potential problems or flaws that you can address and adjust for prior to launch day. “The business plan is your safety net,” says Susan Ward, a small business plan consultant. “Hiring a business plan writer can save you a great deal of time and money if working through the business plan reveals that your business idea is untenable.”
Use Free Apps
Exciting and valuable browser-based apps are being launched every day. Best of all, many use a “freemium” pricing model, allowing you to take advantage of a number of features at no cost. Sites like MailChimp offers an email marketing design and analysis platform for free to entrepreneurs sending out no more than 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers every month, while Zoho provides hassle-free invoicing for small businesses with five clients or less.
Network In-person and Online
With limited cash to spend on marketing, getting your business’s name out there must be done on a shoestring budget. As founder and CEO of The Plan Writers, I’ve found that networking is a skill that every entrepreneur should master if they want to improve their odds at success. So always be networking! Form ties with other local business owners by attending industry events or networking cocktails and get active on social media. Start a Facebook page and a Twitter account and update them frequently. Social networking sites provide you with a podium to discuss your business and products, a means of communicating directly with your clients and target market, and a wealth of market research information – all for free. To learn more on how to save on web development, take a look at our blog on web development on a budget.
Save Money on Web Design
Today, sites like GoDaddy and Wix make it possible for individuals with no programming or web design experience to create attractive and functional websites at a reasonable price thanks to their drag-and-drop web builder tools. Using eye-catching templates and free stock photos, you’ll be able to present your restaurant’s menu, show off your homemade handbags, or provide information on your condo community’s amenities. If you need website functionality that is more advanced, then consider hiring a freelance developer from oDesk. With freelancers from all over the world offering their services through oDesk’s online job marketplace platform, you should be able to find an experienced web developer that fits your budget and needs.
- Matthew Khalili, CEO, The Plan Writers