Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

Bootstrapping: Starting a Business without Money (yes, it can be done!)

These days, budgets are tighter than ever before. Most of the time, you have to get creative when rolling out a new product, service, and especially when starting a brand new venture. As an entrepreneur, you have to work tirelessly to launch your business – want to know the good news? You don’t need thousands of dollars in savings money to do it.

In a free digital excerpt from a book called The Bootstrapper’s Bible, creative marketing guru Seth Godin outlines why there has never been a better time to start a business – even if you have limited funding.

What is a bootstrapper, anyway?

According to Godin, a bootstrapper isn’t a type of person – it’s a state of mind. You can bootstrap at any level of business (one-person start-ups, non-profit organizations, or big companies). However, the most classic way to describe a bootstrapper is as an entrepreneur who works working tirelessly to start a great business from scratch with no (or almost no) money.

A bootstrapper has specific advantages

There are many advantages to being a bootstrapper in a small start-up, rather than a large corporation, including the following…

– Nothing to lose: when a market or technology changes, there becomes a big opportunity for new business

– Happy with small fish: there is room for small businesses that operate under the radar of a big corporation; payouts aren’t as large as the ‘big guy’ but don’t need to be

– Presidential input: use the power of being president to interact with customers, find out what they want/need, and do exactly that

– Rapid R&D: smaller companies work faster and are more focused; individuals and small teams can accomplish much more at a faster rate than a large company can

– The underdog: especially in today’s business world, a small company has access to many low- or no-cost opportunities that a large corporate giant may have to pay full-freight for, whether it is legal consultation, zero-dollar down payments, or start-up rates and micro credit loans

– Low overhead: bootstrappers and start-ups typically work from home, use a personal cell phone and incur less fixed business costs, making it easier to undercut the large competitors

– Time: large companies have hard deadlines and specific roll-out dates – as a small business in the midst of bootstrapping, you have the flexibility to be able to adjust accordingly, get things done quickly when needed, and take additional time to finalize or tweak if needed

In order to succeed in bootstrapping (and in business in general), you have to be persistent and set realistic expectations.

To read the complete manifesto by Godin, visit: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/docs/bootstrap.pdf.

How have you bootstrapped in your start-up (or growing) venture? Share your number one way to creatively forge ahead, even if you don’t have any cash to invest!

Until next time… stay WISE!

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