Bootstrapping tips for your small business
There is a very special sense of fulfilment that comes from starting something from scratch, especially when that something is your very own small business, whether it’s brick or mortar or e-commerce. There are few things as empowering – or as daunting. You know your idea is a winner. You know that if it takes off it can become the next big thing, that it might even take over the world.
What you might not know, is how to take those crucial first steps to take your business off the ground. There are treacherous waters to navigate, with unanticipated challenges popping up at every turn: funding, growing an audience, packing and shipping… the list goes on and on. Thankfully, there are some tried and tested ways so you can boost your business on your own without sacrificing your independence… otherwise known as bootstrapping.
- First of all, take advantage of the internet! Online communities are rife with potential customers and they’re all having conversations you could -and should!- be participating in. Here are some creative ways to get your name out there:Identify and connect with online audiences on social media. Are there any Facebook groups you could be participating in? Hashtags on Twitter you should be tracking? Figure out what are they key concerns of your audience, what they typically use to solve them and how the industry is responding to them and contribute if you have anything valuable to offer.
- Go off the beaten track: there are active communities outside social media that might be more pertinent to your audience. Search reddit, quora or even Google and follow the breadcrumbs that will lead you to where you want to go.
- Demonstrate your own thought leadership by penning your own how-tos and tutorials, or why not– start a YouTube channel on your expertise as a small business owner..
Another thing you should keep in mind is that you need to keep the lights on while expenses come at you like a many-headed monster. Here are some ways to do it:
- Choose a business model that will bring in revenue quickly and cut costs where you can.
- You can also try to eliminate as many personal expenses as possible and monitor each penny that goes in and out like a hawk. Focusing on the details is always a necessity, but at this stage it can really spell the difference between success and failure.
Fortunately you’re not alone in this regard. There are tools you can use to help you. Xero is a very useful tool for tracking expenses as it is a cloud-based accounting software that automates many manual accounting processes, helping you keep track of cash flow without wasting precious time. You can also keep your business productive and cost efficient with task management tools like Wrike or Trello.
Finally (although this should go without saying), give your existing customers all the attention and support that you can possibly muster. They are your very first brand ambassadors, the ones who will get the word out on your business. This means rewarding loyalty, acknowledging their concerns and embracing reviews that are less than glowing. If you get them on your side, they will tell their friends about you freely- and on top of that, no matter how much money you spend on advertising over the years, these people will remain your most trustworthy endorsers. Give them love and you will feel it coming back to you many times over.
There are many ways to dedicate your time to getting your small business off the ground. Thankfully, fulfilment doesn’t have to be one of them. While you use your savvy and skills to grow your business, Weengs will save you valuable time by picking up, packing and shipping your items in the most cost-effective way possible. We know what it takes to be an innovator: let’s do amazing things together. Give Weengs a try here.