Build your business on a budget

by Stefan Topfer

One trap that many small business startups can quite easily fall into is the belief that in order to be successful, they will first need to spend a lot of money setting up. A small business can in fact be launched on a miniscule budget and still be very successful. To do this, all that is required is the use of a technique known as "Bootstrapping".

Boostrapping for small business

In the current economic climate, bootstrapping techniques are more important than ever before in order to ensure the survival of small businesses. The majority of startups are now entirely self-financed due to the difficulty of securing loans or outside investment. This means that even more impetus is placed on the ability of an entrepreneur to turn a good business idea into a fully fledged business without exceeding the strict budget.

There are numerous ways in which a start-up can bootstrap. Wherever possible, bootstrapping startups should operate from the home of the business owner. Don't spend a lot of money on supplies for your new office because used office furniture can be found very cheaply. Whenever you purchase an item from a supplier, it is always worth trying to barter with them and offer the services of your business to them in exchange for a discount.

Boostrap marketing

The principles of bootstrapping can also be applied to marketing. Often a small business has very little money to set aside as a marketing budget. Advances in technology have meant that it is possible to run highly successful marketing campaigns without actually spending any money at all.

One great way of bootstrap marketing is to launch an email newsletter. An email newsletter costs very little to produce and is a great opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell various products to whoever is reading it.

Press releases are another essential part of any bootstrapping campaign. The online press releases of today make it even easier for a small business to promote products to a wide audience. Using a YouTube account and producing videos can also be very useful for viral marketing.

Boostrap SEO

Finally, don't forget to frequently update your website because this costs absolutely nothing and greatly improves your search engine optimisation (SEO). Try to run promotions and competitions through the website too as this will allow you to build a list of people interested in your business.

Bootstrapping sometimes goes against everything we think must be necessary to succeed in business. Building a business the bootstrap way is not big, flash or ostentatious. Instead, it provides security for you and your family, and gives your business the best chance of success - I know which I'd choose!

is CEO of - a leading cloud based small business infrastructure provider (small business software, e-Commerce solutions and business process outsourcing) - the views and opinions expressed are his and are based on over three decades of personal experience as a serial entrepreneur, #1 small business blogger, his column on, contributor on the ACCA Global Blog, mentor and angel investor in the SME/SMB sector.
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