Business is hard as it is. The worst part about being in business is all that investment you’d have to cough up even before your business starts. Of course, you’ll make more money than what you’d invest if you did everything right.
Investing money to make more money is the fundamental premise of being in business. All that is fine, but it still hurts when you’d have to keep paying in waiting for the returns to show up one day. It’s one thing if you have enough cash kept aside for investing business. You could use up your savings, ask for external funding, and get rounds of multi-million dollar investments from angel investors or venture capitalists.
And then there’s bootstrapping. You could run a business without really spending much. Since hiring and paying for top-notch talent is one of the largest expenses a business has to invest in, building a team ought to be an expensive affair. It doesn’t have to be if you dig deeper into the tricks of bootstrapping a business.
Here are a few ideas for you to work with:
Thousands of students graduate everyday, from all over the world. They are all available to work. They want to be associated with companies and show their talent. Most of these students are burning with desire and ambition to show the world their mettle and your business could very well give them a chance. Here’s the best part: Hard working students don’t expect much if you catch them at the right time.
The right to onboard a student is the time when they’d want to do an internship. For all you know, these interns can go from mere “help” to stellar team members.
Find “skilled friends” or family members with “potential”
One of the traits of effective entrepreneurs is to recognize talent. You don’t always have to find talent off job boards. While it’s debatable whether you should hire family members, friends, and relatives, there are countless businesses that still count on them.
These businesses still exist. Not every team member has to be a stranger. Try to look for potential among your friends, family, and relatives. They might not know much about your business or they might not even share the level of enthusiasm and zeal you have for your business.
All that they have is potential. For all you know, they could just be looking for a way to make money, to grow, to contribute, and to make good of their time. Since you trust your friends and family more than you’d trust strangers, look to her them. You can always train people for your processes.
Give it to them. You train, they work. Your business will grow.
Salaries come from profits
No money goes out unless it’s earned profit. Take that one principle to guide your cash flow patterns in business. If you are hiring someone, you have to ensure that you are either making money off your team or you are saving enough time to justify the expense of your hiring decision.
Let’s assume that you’d like to hire a virtual assistant, the time she would save you throughout the day should be worth more (in dollar terms), than what you’d pay her.
That’s the reason why companies that bootstrap don’t hire until they can justify the expense. Bootstrapping entrepreneurs have to pay salaries through profits and not from funding or saving.
Grow organically. Don’t hire on speculation. Don’t bring in and develop a team because you “foresee” situations where you’d need a team. Instead, find a team after the situation comes up. Today, it’s easy enough to find people but hard to decide (which you can work on).
Technology is a bootstrapping entrepreneur’s best friend
You did hear about the word “disrupt”. Usually technology makes it happen. Entire industries are wiped out sometimes, thanks to technology. For instance, travel agents are already out of business because online booking portals have emerged. The web design industry is at the brink of extinction thanks to some really capable DIY web design tools.
Sometimes technology disrupts. Often, it also helps.
You can run your entire business and work on projects even without being in an office. It’s the era of virtual businesses and even if you had a traditional business or if you work on traditional projects, you could still use the benefits of technology.
For project management, you’d use project management software such as WorkZone . For invoicing clients or customers, you could use Xero.com or freshbooks.com. You could take hiring to the cloud by using LinkedIn recruiter solutions or social selling tools such as Social Recruiter. One customer tool like ZenDesk can obviate the need for a full-fledged customer service department. Marketing can be semi-automated, inbound marketing or digital marketing can almost put lead generation on autopilot.
Do you see where we are going with this?
Sell online. That’s easy real estate
The reason why offices, retail locations for businesses, shop floors, and all other real estate even came up was because there was no other way to do business in the past.
Today, however, there’s ecommerce. It’s expected to be worth $327 billion dollars by 2017 and it’s not even the beginning yet. Not all countries have gone online completely and certainly not all industries are playing off the ecommerce phenomenon.
Whatever it is that your business is on, you could probably sell online. Once you do that (or figure out ways to do that), you’d obviate the need for offices (virtual work will do), and other real estate requirements such as retail locations (online selling requires no land).
Before you say it can’t be done in this line of business you are in, think “Why not?”
If you don’t, you might have to think, “Why didn’t I think of this?”
Do you bootstrap? Be it business, handling projects, or even living your life everyday, what kind of bootstrapping principles do you put to use? How do you find inexpensive ways to do things? Let us know.
Image source: http://www.actioncoach.com/
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