Bootstrapping Your Startup Business

I’ve mentioned before that we are launching a new site called ListYourDeals.com that will, we believe, revolutionize the way local businesses reach local customers.

However, we are learning very quickly that there are costs around nearly every corner of our startup effort.

From simply making a drive to the next meeting, to marketing and pre-launch advertising, costs are starting to add up quickly.

There is a tendency on our part to rationalize this with the old saying, “you have to spend money to make money.”

And as much as we try to control our costs, expenses just seem to keep popping up at every turn.

Bootstrapping the business

One of the ways we are combating the costs is by simply getting out there and doing things for ourselves.

A lot of time has been spent going out and meeting with business owners about ListYourDeals.

We’ve dug deep to find the most inexpensive ways to get things like business cards, post cards, and other printed material.

We have even enlisted other smart, motivated people to help us, all with the hope that in the future, they too will make money from this effort – and these are people that could very easily garnish a hefty salary otherwise.

This is sometimes referred to as bootstrapping a business.

Bootstrapping simply means that you are starting your business with virtually no budget, no expenses, and doing everything by yourself, with your own hands, and with your own material – cost cutting every step of the way.

The tricky part is figuring out what’s the best way to “bootstrap” your business.

Meaning, what are the costs that you can trim down? What are the things that you can live without right now? How can you market and promote without spending a large advertising budget?

I can tell you from my experience that having smart, motivated partners is what makes it happen.

You need people on your team who are sold out to the business model, and who collectively believe that the business will succeed.

Then you and your partners come together and talk about, discuss, debate even, to ensure that every penny spent is giving something back to the growth of your startup.

So how about you?

What are some ways that you’ve handled a start up?

How have you controlled your costs?

And have you found partnerships to be valuable?

  • I was involved in bootstrapping an online startup once.

    I put in 3 weeks of 20 hour days and one of my partners footed the bill for $20,000 in programming costs.

    Everything hinged on a third partner who was the state manager of a national (Australian) real estate sales business.

    This guy suddenly decided that the idea wasn’t as good as he originally thought, and he pulled out of the arrangement – taking our market access with him.

    We had no formal agreement in place – it was all a handshake deal.