Bootstrapping Your Startup

Not all startups enjoy the privilege of having immediate investors. Many times, it takes bootstrapping a business to get it rolling. And although it does sound about right and natural for founders to take this direction, it’s a lot easier said than done.

Given present circumstances, it’s even harder to obtain loans today. A report from The New York Times says, “with tens of millions of people out of work and coronavirus infections surging in many parts of the country, qualifying for a loan — from mortgages to auto loans — has become more trying, even for well-positioned borrowers.”

That being the case, up-and-coming entrepreneurs face an even more significant hurdle today. However, those who’ve had an ample amount of funds saved up enough to kickstart a business, no matter how limited, should proceed as planned anyway. 

Here are a few things to remember when you’re bootstrapping your startup:

1.   Be a one-person or one-woman show until you can afford a small team

Maybe you’re a furniture designer, a no-code developer, or a digital artist. When you’re a bootstrap business visionary, then you’re also the human resources head, the publicist, the customer service agent, and the logistics manager. In short, you wear every single hat.

Juggling ad hoc positions while producing superb products and content can be overwhelming, if not frustrating. It will also feel like you’re wasting time on other fluff when you could be pouring all of your efforts doing what you do best.

When you don’t have a clear sense of prioritisation and urgency, the whole thing will be tiring a lot earlier on. While it’s safe to say that running a business single-handedly is already stressful on the onset, it’s equally safe to say it doesn’t have to be like that right away. Learning how to schedule is critical, and attending to some issues during particular time gaps is elemental.

But even when you starting seeing dough pile up, it’s best not to mass hire professionals immediately. Take it one step at a time, and wear as many hats as you can until a permanent need, backed up by growing revenue, is evident.

For instance, even when you already have a marketing expert and a business assistant, take on the customer service and logistic lead roles yourself still. Not only will you master every puzzle piece your business is about, but you’ll also have a much deeper appreciation of what you’ve built.

2. There is power in knowing what to do first

You’ll be surprised how little the difference is when it comes to toddlers and founding entrepreneurs when it comes to identifying wants and needs. Toddlers will assume sweets are what’s best for them simply because these treats offer gratification that greens don’t. In the same way, a founding leader can assume that renting a high-priced office is integral in fostering a desirable work environment.

Times have changed, and conventional office set-ups are being challenged not only by the pandemic but by an evolving employee mindset. Work from home arrangements can be stressful now, but when we’re a lot freer to work in cafes and shared working spaces, we’re going to want to have the liberty of working remotely when possible. No one likes being chained to an office when you can tick of to-do lists on your own wherever.

The point is, there is unmatched power in knowing what to prioritise. When you run a startup solo, it’s going to seem like everything is urgent and that the next deadline is in the next minute. But when you take multiple steps back and refer to the drawing board you’ve been brewing for months on end, you will know precisely what you should spend most of your time doing. 

You can always upgrade, hire, and branch out much later on in your venture. Yes, there is an over-glorification of the startup culture being an endless hustle where you learn to neglect your personal health and well-being. But when you’re smart about the choices you make and the thoughts you put your mind into, you’ll often learn that there are tradeoffs many successful startup entrepreneurs have considered, too. It’s not all glitz and glamor. But it’s definitely not all pain and struggle, as well.

3. Study your own terms and conditions when you call the shots

Bootstrapping will feel like you carry the whole weight of the world on your shoulders. It takes commitment, grit, unwavering emotional intelligence, and creativity. But amidst all the terror, many successful entrepreneurs and founders will tell you that bootstrapping is the best way to build a brand. 

Here are the many other reasons why taking this route isn’t only manageable, but wise, too:

  • The smaller your overhead expenses are, the more flexible you can be with decisions and business directions. What’s more, working with freelancers on a project-basis helps you better structure your income flow and workload, as well.
  • You can quickly alter and adjust your products and services in immediacy based on user feedback—and without trouble. The fewer people you work with, the more versatile you can be. Simply put, when not every single assignment and task is set in stone, you have a lot more time and opportunities to refine what you do best and how to do them.
  • Wearing all the hats gives you more in-depth insight. It’s easy to drool over success stories of business leaders who’ve had access to large teams and all the most enviable resources known to startup culture. But as your business grows, being able to say you once played every role in your startup doesn’t only merit you a sense of pride, it also affords you an invaluable understanding of what you have to offer. Being a smart entrepreneur is one thing. But being an effective leader is another.

What now?

Overall, we acknowledge the hardships of building a startup from scratch. No one story is the same, and no one business shares every single hurdle. The primary message here is that you don’t have to have all the moolah to swing into action. Reading this blog post alone already implies that you have access to the internet and a good enough mobile device.

What startup do you think you can build on your own today?Call us, and let’s talk about your ideas!

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