How to Bootstrap your Business

HARD FACT: Less than 1% of businesses ever get outside funding.

If all you needed to get your idea to the market was outside investment, your idea may likely never see the light of day.

MORE FACTS: 80% of businesses are self funded through personal savings, loans, family and friends.


GOOD NEWS: It has never been cheaper to start a business than now, thanks to technology (open source software and cloud based tools).

This Bootstrapping Blueprint will teach you;

  • To think out of the box.

No one is coming to help you. You must navigate your business with limited resources.

  • To forget about investors till you build enough value that scaling becomes imminent.

Ready. Set. Go.


NAMING YOUR COMPANY

What do you want your business to be called?

  1. Your company’s name should be memorable. Users need to be able to remember the company name in order to share it with others.

  1. Your company’s name should be spellable. If users can’t spell your company name, they won’t be able to find it when searching for your products and/or services.

  1. Your company’s name should be engaging. Think about what your users will associate your company name towards? What feelings does company name evoke? Will they associate the name with the image of the company?


LEGAL

Avoid costly legal mistakes while bootstrapping your company.

  1. Engage a Startup Lawyer on a retainership or subscribe to a monthly legal service plan like AffordableLaw to help you make the right decisions from the start.

  1. Choose the correct business structure or legal entity carefully to protect you from personal liability for your company’s decisions.

  1. If you plan to scale, get government contracts or work with big companies, it is best to incorporate a Limited Liability Company.

  1. Interface with your Startup Lawyer/Legal Consultant regularly. They are a part of your team and should advise you on most business decisions you take.

  1. Have your Startup Lawyer/Legal Consultant drafting the terms of use documents for your product or service.


DIGITAL MARKETING

Once you launch your business, these tips would help you put your brand in front of your target market.

  1. Be consistent: Social media holds invaluable opportunities for businesses. You should not only post regularly, but there should be a uniformed identity to your posts. Additionally, do not over post or deviate from your brand’s message.

  1. Be Customer-centric. Do not use your social media accounts for promotional purposes only. Engage your followers with valuable information, only mixing it with promoted content occasionally. Content marketing is one of the most overlooked investments in launching a startup.

  1. Own your narrative. To effectively brand your startup, you should engage in industry research and formulate a unique selling propositions. Your message then needs to keep these USPs as the focal point. Avoid focusing on your features and instead sell the benefits.

  1. Optimize your Website. What do you want visitors to do when they land on your site? Your entire content strategy should be built with this question in mind. Once you know the action you want users to do then you can find affordable tools for perpetuating those actions.


TRACTION

  1. What are the benefits and value of your product to your customers? Let your customers see it frequently.

  1. Create a blog and develop a strong content. Your blog generates free traffic for your company’s website.

  1. Develop an email campaign strategy for your demographic.

  1. Reach out to your early users and guide them through your product or service so that they become fans, and eventually become paying customers and brand ambassadors. They will be more than happy to provide positive testimonials for your product to help establish your company’s reputation.

  1. Use influencer marketing and social media contests to promote your product or service.


BUILDING YOUR TEAM

“The key is to hire people who will tell you that you’re doing something crazy” – Piyush Aggarwal

  1. Hire only meticulous and detail-oriented people into your team. Hire for traits, train for skills.

  1. Appoint your most helpful mentors into your advisory board so that they will continue to provide honest feedback on your company’s progress.

  1. Engage freelancers to help you get your startup off the ground. These professionals have flexible schedules and enable you to hire on-demand talent.

  1. Pay your employees and independent contractors competitive rates.


BRAND POSITIONING

Your business is up and running, now you need to launder your brand’s image. What makes your product/service different? What makes your company unique? What extra benefits are your users getting?

  1. Prep a positioning statement: Summarize what your company provides for your target demographic and what sets you apart, if not above, your competitors.

  1. Test your positioning statement on social media to see if you are attracting the right market and boosting user engagement.

  1. Create audio-visual content that encapsulates what makes your offering so unique and valuable.

  1. Use the positioning statement in written communication to your consumers and establish your startup as a leading company in your market.


CONCLUSION

You don’t need funding. You need to sell something. Get started. Demonstrate that there are people willing to pay for the product or service you are offering and that there are enough of them to allow you and your business to thrive.

If you have any questions about starting a business or funding your business idea send us an email at hello@affordablelaw.ng. Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter and get updates on funding opportunities for your small business.

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