How To Bootstrap Your Startup

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Want to bootstrap your startup? It's understandable, most of the times it is not a choice but a necessity. In fact, bootstrapping is not limited to the startups having no funds. It is equally relevant to any business or startup which is aiming to maximize the output from its valuable resources. Here are some simple and easy ways and some advice that you can use while creating your startup on a shoestring budget.

Follow the Lean Startup method

An entrepreneur, who is bootstrapping, has a clear mandate to reach the product market fit as soon as possible and that too without spending much of the available resources; as the resources are already scarce. The best way to achieve that is to follow the techniques of Lean Startup method. Though it is recommended for every startup but a bootstrapped startup does not have any choice. So, spend some time understanding this methodology and strictly follow it. (Read: Lean Startup: Are You Building An Awsome feature That Nobody Will Use)

Bootstrapping IS NOT being Solo Entrepreneur

Many a times, entrepreneurs assume that bootstrapping means they have to work alone. Creating a team, or at least filling the gaps of required skills as soon as possible is critical to the success of any startup, whether bootstrapped or not. But as you don't have money to offer, offer sweat equity. You can find both co-founders and employees who would be ready to work for equity if you make a good offer. You can safeguard yourself by including a good vesting period. So that you end-up paying the equity only to the ones who would deliver what they promise.

To DIY or NOT while bootstrapping

It will be difficult to get somebody into your team for each and every skill or job that is required to be done in your startup. Try to spend some time in a little thorough assessment of such tasks and find out the fine line between DIY (Do It Yourself) and getting an expert to do the job. Many a times you would find that some tasks that you think, you will have to outsource or pay for; can be accomplished with a very little DIY effort. But avoid the temptation of going overboard with the DIY attitude. You will have to find the right boundary between the effort & returns of 'DIY' and the benefits of getting it done by the experts.

Get Mentors and Advisors

You don't have many resources to make a lot of mistakes, build up your own experience, and learn the hard way. So, the solution is to learn from others, who are already experienced. Try to find mentors, advisors and guides for your startup. Most of the times, they would come free or at worst at a very small equity. These people could be from the domain or industry of your startup and they would help you make lesser mistakes. And they could also be from the areas where you see any gaps of a required skill or expertise in your team, so they can help you save some bucks into that area.

There are some other obvious suggestions like avoiding unnecessary expenses on latest gadgets or fancy business cards and stationary; finding free or low cost substitutes of costly office space and hardware; utilizing all free resources first for any need before going to the paid option, like using social media for marketing instead of google ads etc. Do you think you can share some advice from your experience, don't hesitate, and share it with us all in a comment below.


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