How to Bootstrap your Business

Bootstraping a business

There’s this glamour about bootstrapping a business. The idea you can grow a massive operation through free (or semi-free) platforms and strategies.

Yes, quite a few businesses have achieved success through these avenues…

…more have failed because of it.

There’s usually a point in the business cycle where time and finances converge. A business owner begins spending more money and time on free strategies than what they’re worth.

Time is diverted from mission-critical tasks. Competition steps in and overtakes what little market percentage they’ve built using bootstrapping.

Here’s how to do it better — by paying a little more.

A Professional Website

Plenty of DIY options exist using platforms like Wix, Shopify, or WordPress. But, small business owners continue to struggle with building a website despite their built-in, visual webpage builders.

A common factor for these troubles rests on the shoulders of the small business owners undertaking the challenge of building a site.

The DIY sites tend to lack:

  • Tracking codes used for reporting and testing
  • Strong user experience and layout
  • Lackluster on-page SEO

These factors create traffic drops and eventually discourage the SB owner. The project is abandoned.

The website plays a central role in all online efforts including social media marketing to PPC campaigns.

South Carolina web design firm, Vertcy, shares a case study in which they increased one client’s traffic by 1850% through the addition of a professional, responsive web design and SEO improvements.

It goes to show the importance of outsourcing web development when necessary. Especially with almost all online efforts funneling back to a website.

Professional web development can cost thousands but it’s no bigger than the costs you’d sink into a brick & mortar location or billboard advertisement.

A Simple Business Card

Business cards continue to matter despite our global shift to online communication. LinkedIn is a tour-de-force in the business networking world… but you’ll find yourself hard pressed driving interested parties to your profile.

Business cards are cheap and easy to make:

  1. Visit print sites like VistaPrint or Moo
  2. Use their WSYWIG tools and templates to design
  3. Order a stack of business cards

For about $10, you will have a tangible asset to hand to people during networking events and meetups. You won’t scramble to write contact information on a napkin — appearing unprofessional.

These cards can further improve lead acquisition through the strategic use of landing pages.

Consider this:

  1. Develop a landing page specific to the event
  2. Rework cards to include the unique link
  3. Personalize the page for the intended audience

Doing so will likely increase conversion rate due to the inclusion of key points lifted from the event. It creates continuity throughout the contact.

You can print business cards at home for pennies on the dollar. Or, spend $10-$30 for custom, high-quality cards with designs that’ll leave lasting impressions (and more inquiries).

A Better Box

Why do we spam “track package” the moment we order something online despite us knowing it’s days away from being delivered?

Logistics is an experience and a branded box is just as much a part of the whole.

Consider doing the following:

  1. Source professionals to create a unique box design
  2. Include branded extras like flyers and stickers
  3. Add puzzle-like elements in the unboxing process

The unboxing creates a similar hype to what customers felt when placing the order. Some may go as far to record the unboxing and uploading it to social sharing sites. This creates awareness and referrals to the business.

Else, a simple logo will often do the trick since it makes the package recognizable.

Custom boxes cost a few cents more for custom labeling. The extras you may include could run another $0.05 – $0.10 worth of printing costs.

It Pays to Pay

Paid advertising, social media shares, long-form content, and business tools cost money. But, they’re a necessary expense to bypass competition stuck in bootstrapping mode.

Do you feel these items warrant their expense?

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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