Bootstrapping Your Business

Bootstrapping business ownerHave you always wanted to start your own business? Or maybe you’re a small business owner trying to reign in operational costs? Whether your organization’s embryonic or well-established, examining your company’s expenses through a fresh lens could help boost your bottom line or allow you to better allocate funds for greater efficiency. To get you on the resourceful-spending path, we’re offering a few bootstrapping basics along with additional money-saving ideas.

 

Lace up your boots
Bootstrapping – the term often conjures up stories of now-successful founders who began with scant resources and relied on “do whatever it takes” tactics to get a product in front of customers. While such examples are extreme and few and far between, the general concept is something from which businesses both large and small can learn.

It all starts with a mindset, one that challenges you to discover innovative or alternative ways to cut through costly clutter. Begin by asking yourself a few very basic questions prior to making purchases, such as “Will this expense add to my bottom line?” You might be surprised at how answers to these simple questions can help clarify your thinking and enable you to focus on what really matters.

DIY marketing
To defray marketing costs, Christina Desmarais from Inc. Magazine suggests keeping as many projects in-house as you can. Given the popularity of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, it’s now possible to broadcast your messages right from your office computer to a wide audience at no cost.

In lieu of print advertisements, try advertising online. Google AdWords and other similar programs with a cost-per-click feature give you total control over your ad spend and generate additional value by providing you with measurable results.

Developing and maintaining a website might seem like a daunting task for a lot of organizations, particularly if coding skills are beyond the scope of your company’s expertise. But before you outsource the (costly) expense of creating a fancy website for your startup or re-vamping your company’s old site, consider a WordPress website. An endless supply of online forums and video tutorials are available to get you started, and myriad templates and third-party tools make designing a customized site easier than you might think.

Not just about dollars and cents
The concept of creative cost-cutting requires you to open your mind and think “out of the box.” Try looking beyond your income statement and at your everyday business practices. Remember, time is also money, and addressing a problematic procedure can help increase productivity. At your next company meeting, ask your team if anyone encounters bottlenecks or sees areas that could benefit from a simple change. In addition to aiding the discovery process, the initiative can help foster a team-building environment and demonstrates an interest in the staff’s input.

Whether you’re a sole proprietor or responsible for a division at a large organization, taking an alternative approach to spending can help foster innovation and translate into serious savings.

What ingenious or clever cost-cutting tips do you find helpful at your business?

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