Most entrepreneurs I was fortunate enough to meet decided to start a business despite the fact that they had limited or no capital at all. Therefore, it’s no wonder that they begin to ask themselves: “How will I be able to start a business if I do not have a great deal of money?”
It may come as a surprise to some, but money isn’t the most important aspect when it comes to starting a business. When you desire a thing with all your heart, alongside a drop of inspiration, a lot of work and some business wisdom, money falls into the background and bootstrapping takes the front seat.
There are two main strategies of starting a business with little capital: first of all, delay the stages that are considered basic when starting a business such as: hiring personnel or renting a space, until your business is starting to bring in some cash. Second of all, try, in the very first stage at least, to do as many tasks as you possibly can. If you are not willing to invest all your time, effort and resources in your business idea, you will have a hard time getting others to be involved as well.
Similarly, there are numerous ways in which you can start a business with minimum costs.
Eliminate useless expenses. Instead of renting a workspace, work from home. Why waste the money when you can work from the comfort of your own home? And if you don’t really enjoy working from home, don’t sweat: there are a lot of coffee shops or business hubs where you can do your thing. If you need to meet with clients and you want a change of scenery (i.e. from a restaurant or coffee shop), there are lots of office buildings that rent meeting rooms by the hour.
Before deciding to rent a space, go check some trade fairs and see whether your products or services are a success among customers. Moreover, don’t forget to get that valuable feedback from your potential clients.
Postpone hiring personnel. While everyone will say it’s a good thing and you’ll have more free time on your hands so that you can work on developing new products and services, when you’re starting a business and you don’t have revenue to spare, that shouldn’t be one of the things on your agenda. For now, at least! Try and manage personally all aspects of the company before it will actually start to bring in revenue.
If you’re looking for legal consulting, don’t hire a lawyer, but rather try and get some free tips from online portals that offer it for free.
Learn to do the accounting. There are accounting courses for entrepreneurs just like in the case of legal consulting. All you need to do is check websites that offer free accounting tips. In this stage you can facilitate your work by using an Excel application for business plans, a soft created especially for entrepreneurs that do not possess the necessary accountability skills.
- Bootstrapping is the key when starting a business, and here are some marketing tips that you can use:
- Now’s not the moment to hire a designer to create the logo of your business. Use a free site where you can create a logo that will appear on all the materials of your business such as Logaster.com.
- Create a couple hundred of business cards to offer to all the people you meet.
- Create a user friendly website. You can use free website platforms like Web.com.
- Post some ads on different business portals.
- Post video recordings on Youtube or other media sites with a direct link to your own website.
- Learn how to use Google Adwords and invest 10 Euros to see if it brings you 10 Euros.
- Index your site in different directories.
- Send emails to your entire friend list to let them know you plan on opening your business and ask them to send the email to their friends that might be interested in your product or service.
Promote your business online
- Test your business idea through a blog. This way you will be able to receive feedback from potential clients.
- Use a free domain on wordpress or blogspot platforms. In this case, the domain will not be yours and it will have a format such as yourbusiness.wordpress.com.
- Use a free wordpress design theme that is relatively easy to use even by people that do now programming. You can find themes on https://wordpress.org/themes/.
- Buy a .com domain that is connected with your business. Check and see if the domain name is available on GoDaddy.com.
Invest continuously in your entrepreneurial education
- Periodically check sites dedicated to entrepreneurs such as Bplans, Inc.com, Entrepreneur and, of course, Entreprenoria.
- Read business books. You will find a variety of useful books that will help along in your development.
- Create relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and exchange information and materials.
- Follow lectures and speeches of some successful entrepreneurs to learn from their experience. A good source you should check out is TED.
- Make a habit out of reading blogs that entrepreneur and marketing guru blogs such as Seth Godin, Holly Hoffman or Guy Kawasaki etc.
For more tips on how to start and manage your company when you have limited capital visit periodically our Bootstrapping section.