April 21st, 2018

Business Beat: Starting a business? Consider the bootstrapping method

By Medicine Hat News on May 31, 2017.

Bootstrapping is truly one of the most effective and low risk modes to start a business. While the term bootstrapping may sound old world, there is nothing outdated about it.

Among methods of starting a business, bootstrapping, which leverages personal savings and the selling of products or services to fund initial business operations, is a great approach for those looking to advance a business idea without owing money to financial institutions or investors.

Bootstrapping allows for a staged approach to building a business.First, this startup method differs from traditional means that focus on attaining loans and wooing angel investors, by using personal savings to fund initial operations.

Next, by starting small and talking to customers, bootstrapping allows the perceptive entrepreneur to test ideas, raise money sale by sale, gain exposure and get the desired market insights so important to a needs-driven business model.

Finally starting lean, and without debt, allows the entrepreneur full control over business finances, empowers robust business decisions and ensures that the business bottom line is in an attractive state for future investment.

Today, the entrepreneurial startup has many options to assist with a bootstrap strategy.Crowdfunding platforms, social media and growth in makers markets allow the creative and committed capitalist to move ideas forward, without risking high levels of cash.

This iterative model makes bootstrapping an appealing endeavour.There are some really great ideas on how to kickstart your business with less.

Here are a few ways to create cash flow that build your startup, one level at a time.

— Get out there and sell! Print some business cards and talk to people about what you have to offer.Use the cards as conversation starters that lead to startup sales.

— Pre-sales, pre-sales, pre-sales.Rather than a large outlay of cash on new products, take pre-orders or consider drop-shipping options for fulfillment.

— Set a small budget and stick to it. So much can be achieved with as little as a thousand dollar budget and the utilization of resources you already have.

— Think lean. While a shiny new truck with your logo on it might seem worth the investment, it may not be necessary to begin with and could hurt your expansion plans later.

Funding a startup requires creativity, commitment, and some smart risk.While it may sound enticing when some boast about a large venture capital award, bootstrapping holds just as much promise and reward.

The MHC Entrepreneur Development Centre helps student and alumni bring their entrepreneurship dreams to life. We offer one-to-one coaching, training, mentorship and access to a diverse network of startup funding.To connect into our network email edc@mhc.ab.ca or call 403.502.8433.

Christie Dick is the Medicine Hat College EDC project officer.

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