Bootstrap Tech Project

These last few weeks, I have spoken to quite a few people who are either:

  • Trailing new tech/ digital projects with a soft launch before before fully committing
  • Or trying to create multiple source of income, by setting up other tech/ digital projects whilst working as either contractors or employees (looking at the state of the economy, who’d blame them)

One of the re-occurring subjects in our discussion, is how to propel your project forward with limited resources i.e bootstrap your tech project.

I posed the below question to a group of entrepreneurs and I was fascinated with the range of answers and ideas that came up, so I’m sharing them with you too.

If you had a start up project and were given just £2k (add some 0’s depending on your level of project/ business) to put into that project… what would you use it for – to get best ROI?

Bootstrap Tech Project

Get a mentor –
“I would use it to find the best “Business Mentor” who would be prepared to spend some quality one on one time with me for the £2k. The opportunity to pick their brains, learn all the possible tips from them, their expertise etc would be second to none. And albeit most successful ones might appear pricy there are some who offer sponsored opportunities for start-up etc once qualified. This would be the best advice that money can buy…”

Advertising –
“I would use it all for advertising”

Cashflow –
“Get some business cards and keep it for cash flow”

There was however one idea, that lead to bootstrapping your project/ business, which I explored further with Chris Haycook. Chris is a Digital marketing expert and author of “StartPad.

Here’s what Chris had to say…

Get an Accountant & Bootstrap your business –

“Put it in the bank and use it to pay an accountant!

There are so many free tools, services, open-source software, research and guides online that you can practically build a successful business with next to nothing.

Gaining awareness (i.e. advertising) is often the most expensive part, but if you think outside the box there are plenty of ways you can do this free.

Build your MVP (minimal viable product), show it to the market, analyse the feedback, and improve until it’s ready for prime time!

Bootstrap your way to success.

There are so many free tools, services, open-source software, research and guides online that you can practically build a successful business with next to nothing.

Gaining awareness (i.e. advertising) is often the most expensive part, but if you think outside the box there are plenty of ways you can do this free.

Build your MVP (minimal viable product), show it to the market, analyse the feedback, and improve until it’s ready for prime time!

Bootstrap your way to success.”

Bootstrap Tech Project

….

“I’d advise spend time working on providing absolute proven value for your clients, rather than spending cash on a dazzling website. Anyone can build an amazing website, but few can deliver exceptional value.

I have some websites that look fairly average, but earn a fortune. It’s all about value.

You might think they want to see a good website, but if you do your market research you’ll find that most will be thinking about ROI more than how a website looks. Prove your service earns them more cash than they pay you, and you’re in business!”

Any tips on how to bootstrap your business?

First, remember that bootstrapping isn’t just about going for the cheap option. It’s about being efficient with your cash.

With that in mind, also realise that there are a lot of services out there that can help you test the market with very little cash.”

Here are Chris’s top tips.

1. Don’t raise any money unless you’ve proven the concept. I’ve never had to raise money because I’ve been able to abandon unviable projects without spending money.

2. Create a minimal viable product quickly, at low cost, even if it doesn’t work properly. All you need to do is to prove a concept. If this means Wix for your website or a plastic version of your product, then so be it.

3. Get a focus group together (that’s part of your target market) to evaluate your product/service. Ask for feedback. Let the audience see what you’ve got, and determine whether it solves a problem.

4. When you’re happy, and the concept is proven, collaborate with others – even competitors – to raise awareness of your product.

5. Get your product in front of influencers. Ask them for feedback. Get them to use your product and write about it.

6. Newsjacking – take a hot topic or current affairs and create a press release that ties in nicely with your product. Send it to industry publications to see if they will run it.

7. Use every bit of free and open-source software that you can. Get your hands dirty by learning how to use the software, instead of hiring someone to do it for you.

8. Create so much value that your marketing is driven by referrals and word-of-mouth, rather than spending a fortune advertising your business.

9. Keep costs low by hiring temporary freelancers (using PeoplePerHour/Upwork, and Fiverr – if you must!)

10. Consider Crowdfunding if you have a great (proven) concept but are struggling to raise the capital to grow. Offer incentives that don’t cost you anything but time and effort. Avoid giving away equity unless absolutely essential.

There’s ten tips. There are hundreds more, but I’ll leave it to you to find them out. There’s plenty more if you search for them.

Good luck with your bootstrapping. And remember, if you’ve got a great product, there is always a way to get to market without spending a small fortune. You just have to be creative with your approach.

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I love all these tips. Personally what would I do if I had just £2k?

I will put the cash toward acquiring leads of potential clients and actively engage with them about my packaged MVP.

What would you add to the list? How did you kickstart your business? What challenges are you currently facing?

Email me at folake(at)folakebee.com I’d love to hear from you.