If you’re starting (or have recently started) your own business, chances are you’ve heard the term “bootstrapping” thrown around. Bootstrapping, or “self-funding through pre-existing cash flow and being critical of outgoing expenses,” has produced some incredibly successful businesses, including Apple, Coca-Cola, and eBay. With a lot of hard work, yours could be next. Keep these things in mind to bootstrap your business like the boss you are!
You wouldn’t let your home go without a fire extinguisher and first aid kit, and it’s just as important to keep your business prepared for what could go wrong. If you don’t have an emergency plan in place, a crisis could hurt your business to the point that it can’t recover. Keep a Stamford generator on hand as a backup power source, especially if you provide essential services that will be needed in an emergency situation. Have evacuation and shelter-in-place plans ready for any physical locations. Review your insurance coverage and make sure you aren’t missing any critical components. Look up experts’ recommendations to ensure that, as much as possible, you’re prepared for anything.
Keep At It
Make sure you’re doing something to move your business forward. Every. Single. Day. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to work through 14-hour days Monday through Sunday. You can still take a break, but do so in a smart way; for example, automate tasks like social media posts to keep things “running” even when you’re taking a breather.
But, even more importantly, keep at it even when your motivation runs low or the going gets tough, so to speak. Like any endeavor, bootstrapping your business has its ups and downs. Even on the not-so-fun days, it’s important to stick with it. After all, you’ve put in so much effort already—don’t you owe it to your business and yourself to keep moving forward?
Get the Best Inventory Within Your Budget
Keeping your customers happy should be a top priority for any business, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep the best possible products in stock. At the same time, though, you don’t want to raise costs so much in adding the most luxury brands to your inventory that your profits can’t keep up, especially if your customers aren’t looking to spend top dollar.
Do your research and find a compromise between the highest quality and the best price possible. For example, if you’re selling vitamins or sports nutrition products, compare supplement manufacturers to find the best fit. Whether you’re looking to prepare a custom formulation or stock favorite, get quotes from your top contender to find what’s best for your company and customers.
Who are the key players in your market? Seek them out and make critical connections. The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is key to modern business; you never know when knowing someone in a certain position can make all the difference in pulling your company even further up in the business world. And this is even more important within your team. From your cofounder to interns, make the effort to get the best people aboard you can and to get to know them along the way.
Each member of your staff has their own connections—beyond making your employees know they’re valued members of the company (which is critical, of course), getting to know everyone making up your business can pay off with even more connections in the right places. Your business doesn’t need hundreds of thousands in venture-funded capital to take off. With the right efforts, inventory, and emergency preparedness, you can pull your company up by its bootstraps to make it the best it can be. Work hard, make connections, and be ready for anything, and your business will benefit.