Bootstrapping a business startup is an art. It can be a lot of fun if approached the right way.
No matter how well-funded your business startup may be, the fundamentals of bootstrapping should never be forgotten - and should always be applied.
Bootstrapping is not the same thing as being "cheap". Cheap is penny-wise but dollar foolish. In my second venture in the air freight forwarding business I needed a cargo van to pickup client shipments, but to also use it as a rolling billboard for my business. I couldn't afford to go out and spend over $30,000 at the time for a new van. I searched and searched until I found a used cargo van for $1,200. It had a lot of miles on it but I had a mechanic check out and, with no immediate mechanical issues that he could find, I bought it.
Next I took it to body and paint shops for estimates where I found one willing to paint the exterior and put my logo on the van for $600. For less than $2,000, I got a cargo van, that saves us thousands monthly in local cartage charges for another company to pickup our customers' freight, and a traveling advertisement for our business on all sides of the van.
That van was nothing special on the inside, but I can't tell you how proud of it I was. That van had MY business name on it! I sold my personal car and drove that cargo van to work and back everyday for almost two years. We kept it maintained and the van lasted us four years before having to replace it.
Our office furniture was a combination of furniture remnants bought at a used office furniture outlet, garage sales and even Goodwill. I can't tell you the sense of pride we would have when finding a good deal on a metal filing cabinet that was in perfect shape but bought for ten cents on the dollar!
Take immense pride in your bootstrapping success! So many times I meet entrepreneurs who instead take pride in how much money they raised or in the size of their "burn" rate. A "burn" rate indicates the rate at which the business is losing money. Bootstrapping a business allows for the entrepreneur to cross over into profitability sooner.
I met an entrepreneur who looked in his shed for any idea he had to avoid buying a desk. The result was an old door set on two concrete cinder blocks that provided his working space for nearly two years - and his business is flourishing.
Staying "mentality broke" is one of the keys to financial independence, and applying this mentality to a business startup will force you to look for opportunities to bootstrap for all business expenses.
Make it fun! Make bootstrapping a part of a winning attitude!
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