Starting with Nothing: How to Bootstrap Your Business

By Florence Adrian 29th Oct, 2020

How do I do the most with the least amount of money? If this is the question that has been on your mind recently, you’ve come to the right place! We talked to Simon Solotko, Chief Marketing Officer for IdeaPros, about bootstrapping your business. Read on to learn how to start with nothing and bloom your business. 

Think Up Your Great Idea

Your idea should lead to a minimum viable product that can get to market and achieve early success. This is why it needs to be simple and well-suited for bootstrapping. You can’t bring multi-disciplinary expertise and modes of production to your problem. You need something good enough to get a lot of people interested and simple enough not to cause you a lifetime of pain if you fail. 

 “Simplicities tend to be well suited to resource-constrained businesses.” – Simon Solotko

Ideally, it should be in the area you have some knowledge in, so you can take the first step on your own. The idea has to become a product designed to make money relatively cheap to make with high value for consumers or businesses. With bootstrapping, you only have one shot at it, so it is important to do research, build an audience that will participate in the creation of the early prototypes, and be there when you launch.

“If your idea is too hard to get done then you probably want to come up with another idea. Just don’t take that as a sign of failure.” – Simon Solotko

Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. Start with one idea, work on it, and shape it into something ready for the moment that can be made quickly and is destined to win.

When it comes to mobile apps, one of the biggest mistakes people make is to put in too many features and commit too much to the first version. But if your mobile app has one killer feature it will help you bootstrap it successfully and has the ability to grow an audience. 

You can read more about mistakes to avoid when it comes to mobile apps on our blog. 

Gather a Powerful Team

In a startup, a lot of friction can come from different personalities and a poorly composed team.

This is why you need a lean decisive team with a shared vision that won’t lose time on unimportant things. A small, specialized, and open-minded team is your only shot at winning.  Clear roles and the ability to recognize the right answer are critical. Surround yourself with smart people and get your ideas to feed off of one another. 

“Always embrace the best idea. Don’t let your ego get in the way.” – Simon Solotko

Look for a combination of enthusiastic and less experienced people and super experienced people who succeeded and failed before. Failure is critical. Team members who have failed in their business ventures have learned to listen and accept that they might be wrong. In their successes, they have learned to be visionary. Have in mind that the members of your team should be able to contribute to the project in a very specific way, so look for people who know a lot about what you want to build. It is always a good idea to write down your plan and share it with your team members.

Creative Avenues of Financing and Business Building

Financing is not only money, but it is also all the resources you bring together to build your business. 

“The most important resource and the most expensive one is human capital, otherwise known as elbow grease.” – Simon Solotko

Human hours have huge value, so you should think about combining team members who can invest money without creating a lot of noise and team members who can contribute their knowledge. This early composition of the team can also help you bring money into the business. 

Friends and family are tricky, but all businesses rely on friends and family in some form or another. If this is not an option, you as a founder can max out your credit card and that $50,000 to $60,000 initial investment can become multiple millions of dollars if you have a great idea, an amazing team, and you’ve tested your audience. You can learn more about credit card options for your business here.

All these options can take you to the minimum viable product that is ready to be crowdfunded or pre-sold. But to have a favorable funding outcome, you should get your product into the minds and hearts of your audience that you have been building all along. 

Getting investment from third-party investors is not easy because they are difficult to deal with. They want a big share of the company without bringing much expertise and they invest later than you expect. You should have some revenue before you turn to them for help.

If you bootstrap well and demonstrate early success, something magical happens at the end of that first rainbow, which is when working capital dollars start to materialize.

The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.

We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.

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Want to see the products we have launched?  Check out IdeaPros Launchpad!