July 25, 2006

Bootstrapping It

What is bootstrapping?

According to the Miriam Webster Dictionary the term bootstrap means “to promote or develop by initiative and effort with little or no assistance.” The term is believed to have originated from a German legend about a Baron who pulled himself out of the sea by pulling on his own bootstraps. While this presents an interesting visual, it also provides an example of what entrepreneurs need to do if they want to be successful in business. You must be willing to do all you can. Like the cliché states, “when the going gets tough the tough get going.”

Why bootstrap?

Essentially, bootstrapping means you do all you can with your own resources and efforts before going to search for outside capital from investors. Having the dedication and ability to pick yourself up by the bootstraps to further your business goals gives you an added measure of credibility with investors. Investors will see the sacrifices and accomplishments you have made getting by on your own power.

Ways to bootstrap

  • Keep expenses to a minimum: Use supplies you already have on hand. Rent equipment when necessary. Do not make unnecessary purchases. The necessities for any business include: a computer (with Internet access), a mobile phone
  • Work from Home: Rent is often a high yet unnecessary expense. See if working from home makes sense for your company.
  • Think outside of the box: Avoid traditional, more expensive means of marketing. Be creative. Come up with ways to reach your target markets without a large marketing budget. Along the lines of being creative, think of what product or services you could trade. For instance, if you are starting a bakery, you could arrange a deal with an advertising company to cater their lunch for free in exchange for advertising. Again, be creative.

In addition to the previous tips, Guy Kawasaki provides 11 insightful ways to grow your business. Click here to view his list.

Additional Information

A plethora of resources are available to give some ideas and suggestions on ways to bootstrap. We have included just a few to get you started:

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