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“Go Hard or Go Home”.

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…Except you just struck oil in your backyard or aunt Lucy left you fifty million big ones to splurge on, the reality is that It’s a fish eat fish business clime out there as economies the world over strive to achieve sustainability. This state of affairs has trickled down resulting in dire situations where there are little or no venture capitalists willing to inject required capital into businesses and investment angels looking the other way. Statistics have shown that only 0.05 percent of VC’s fund start-ups. Little wonder 90% of those amazing ideas out there never see the light of day. The chances of receiving funding for businesses are getting slimmer by the second meaning that if any great ideas are to be implemented, there’s definitely a probability that you might need to bootstrap your way to success. This way you get to retain more or all of your equity and feel really accomplished at the end of the daunting process

Here are some practical ideas picked up along the way that could help you bootstrap your business idea to fruition;

Start with YOU and Cut Out the Unnecessary

Most times, the main reasons businesses don’t get past the infancy stage is as a result of the people or person at the helm of affairs. Without a monthly salary, every bootstrapping-Bill needs to cut down on expenses or totally kill it. Go to the open market more and cut down of supermarket visits, run more of your local errands yourself as opposed to using a courier, go through your account statements and see areas where you could cut down on expenses. These would free up a little currency to be invested into the project at hand.

Get Creative with Your Marketing

Getting people to know about your business and what you do does not really have to be a question of how much you’ve got in the bank. It has a lot to do with how creative you can get whilst building a branding and marketing campaign. There are always opportunities to capitalise on without actually being a business parasite. Take for instance, a situation where a football competition is scheduled to happen in two months in your city and you decided to create a range of football-shaped cakes, take pictures of them and splash it all over Instagram, Facebook and local sites with a huge following. I guess this would bring in a customer or two and all you spent money on was data and ingredients.

Short Gestation, Short Turn-Around

Well this one somehow explains itself. What’s the use of a great business idea if the ones who get to enjoy and reap it’s benefits are your grand-kids? If you have to bootstrap PLEASE ensure that the revenue cycle of the business is short. The duration may differ depending on the nature of your business but ensure it’s a time-line you can wait out without your ship running aground. Any business whose revenue turnaround time exceeds 3 months must be approached with caution and lots of planning for a start-up.

Research Comprehensively

This is an important aspect in bootstrapping your way to success. It’s paramount that you find out who the other companies or individuals in your line of business are for three major reasons. Firstly you need to find out how they have managed to stay afloat in the business the whole time, secondly you need to also find out how they have been able to set themselves apart from the crowd. Lastly, combine both answers and find out cost-effective means that will make you stand out and also outdo already existing competition.

Let your First Customers be your Reps

New things have an initial ‘almost-endearing’ appeal. Everyone loves the determined business springing up against all odds but won’t for long. With this in mind, “Bootstrap-Bill’s” the world over need to ride this wave until they hit success beach or see it at least. Find out new ways which your first set of customers could gladly benefit from your business as well as promote the business. This was aptly re-enacted by start-up mobile advertising company ‘Brand Envoy by creating revenue earning opportunities for its reps who in turn gain value and then invite new entrants. Try this it works.

Take a hitting but keep Ticking

Rejection and disappointments will most definitely be a major part of your bootstrapping quest because partners, vendors, suppliers and the whole host will break your heart since they aren’t so into you and ‘what-ever’ it is that great idea of yours is. So from experience, I found out that there’s always that one person or crop of people who believe in you. Listen to them often and stay focused but if you find no-one, you must become both player and cheerleader. You cheer and believe long enough, you will start living and breathing this idea of yours and will look for honourable ways of navigating it through the tough times.

Hope these points make it a bit easier bootstrapping your idea out of murky ‘business’ waters. I personally think that “Nothing is worth standing between a good idea and its actualization” except of course “You”. Go start something. “Go hard on that great idea of yours or you might just find yourself going home like every other “almost-mader” (whatever that means). Stay pumped, stay expectant because it’s only time between your ‘now’ and ‘success’ with of course lots of hard work in-between.

Have a great and productive day.

Written by Temple Obike .

Twitter: @swampsage

Facebook: De Swamp Formula

Linkedin: Digital Content Africa

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