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Bootstrapping your way to success
  • July 2016

When you start a new business, there’re really only two ways of going ahead. Either you beg, borrow, steal and pour in the funds, or you work with as little money as possible. We suggest the latter, and here are some things to keep in mind while you’re at it.

1. Start selling immediately

Whether you’re selling a product or a service, it’s important to get it out the door as fast as possible. If you generate revenue from the very beginning, you can use those sales to finance your startup. This way, you’ll also realize at a very early stage what works and what doesn’t.

2. Set goals early, but keep them flexible

It’s essential to set goals, and know what you want to achieve in your business. But it’s equally important for them to be flexible. If your goals don’t change as your business grows, your company may stagnate.

3. Understaff

In the beginning of a company's life cycle, the entrepreneur must be the chief salesperson, chief marketing officer, chief fulfillment officer, chief financial officer and even the person in charge of cleaning up every day. To bootstrap successfully, entrepreneurs must do all of the jobs that previously had been done by a large support team.

4. Forecast backwards

When you’re bootstrapping, decide how much you want to make during the first year of your business, in advance.

Forecasting from the bottom up gives you the ability to meet sales goals and control your startup costs and growth rate.

5. Traditional business plans won’t work

When you’re using your own funds, getting money in as fast as possible should be your priority. Hence, a detailed business plan isn’t necessary, and may in fact, waste time that would be better spent in generating sales. While it is essential to have a business plan in mind, with fixed goals, it’s not important to spend time writing it down in great detail.

6. Always keep it simple

Never make things more complicated than they absolutely have to be. If one employee is enough, don’t go for two. If your parent’s extra room will suffice, don’t go out for a commercial space. Always

These are just some of the ways of bootstrapping successfully, but there are so many more out there, and the only way of really discovering them is through trial and error. “When I first started Safari Getaways, we had innumerable obstacles to overcome,” says Viren Batra, Safari Getaways’ co-founder. “Though it wasn’t a startup in the traditional sense, having branched off our established travel brand, Nirvana Excursions, it was an immense learning experience. Firstly, our target audience was extremely specific. With Safari Getaways, we are catering to an extremely elite and niche audience, so this was quite a different experience as compared to Nirvana Excursions. Then, we concentrated on exotic locales and experiences, and they came with their own set of challenges. But it’s been a fantastic journey so far, and we are looking forward to many more”.

Photo: Viren Batra, SafariGetaways & Nirvana Excursions

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