How to bootstrap a business Bootstrapping your startup needn’t be so tough...

Michelle Goodman Journalist & Author

@anti9to5guide

"Bootstrapping a business is not without its challenges. Besides the long hours and the strain on personal relationships, it can be tricky to split one's creative juices between two professional pursuits."

Alyssa Gregory Small Business Information Expert

@alyssagregory

"Bootstrapping takes a combination of frugal thinking, creativity, and planning. Entrepreneurs who do it successfully are able to stretch limited funds to do great things in their businesses, while competing with businesses that have bigger budgets."

Bill Clark CEO of MicroAngel Capital Partners

@austinbillc

"Before you spend money on anything, you should talk to potential customers about their level of interest in your product. Ask them how they would use it, what features they might like to see and how much they would consider paying for it."

Andrew Youderian Founder of EcommerceFuel

@youderian

"It [Bootstrapping] simply means growing your business using your existing resources instead of going out and raising a bunch of money from other people. It means growing organically."

How to get business startup grants There are generous government startup grants for small business owners...

Do you know how to qualify for a small business grant?

Do you know where to look for UK business grants?

Do you know where to look for US business grants?

John Whiting Entrepreneur

@JohnWhiting92

"Small business startup grants are always important to keep an eye on. They can help sustain your business until your cash flow becomes more reliable and positive. They can also help to significantly grow your business."

How to get a business startup loan Startup loans could be the answer to your growth predicament...

David Prosser Journalist

@davidprosserind

"Don't assume your bank will turn you down; the main high-street lenders emphasise their desire to work with start-ups… You will need a clear business plan, with financial projections, but the banks will help you work on this."

Amy Andrew Business Expert

@amyandrew2

"To bag any type of funding, you'll need to prove there's a gap in the market for your product or service."

How to find investors for startups Startup funding can be expedited using the power of investor capital...

Lucie Mitchell, Business Journalist and Editor

@luciemitchell

"Your business plan must also be solid, and include factors such as market research, analysis of competition, goals and objectives."

Craig Peterson, Co-Founder and COO at Growth Capital Ventures

@CraigAPeterson

"It is vital when carrying out an online fund raise, that you also prepare yourself to pitch offline, because there may be times when an investor will want to invest a large sum of money, but will stipulate that you have to deliver a face-to-face pitch to them."

Hannah Sheath, Analyst, Financial Advisory & Capital Raising team

@Hannah_Sheath

"Be as concise as possible. Try to keep your business plan as short as possible, ideally 20-30 pages; investors don’t want to be wading through information."

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva

@GuyKawasaki

"A pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc."

Have You Considered Your Startup’s first year costs? The biggest killer of startup businesses is negative cashflow...

Joe Steele, CEO at Bookatable.co.uk

@DMSLDN

"Any company trying to keep digital marketing costs down is missing a serious opportunity if they don’t yet have a presence on social media."

Leyla Seka, SVP & GM at Desk.com

@LeylaSeka

"Use customer service as your golden ticket for building loyalty, securing product feedback, and managing your brand - then watch your success grow."

Jon Norris, Web Editor at Crunch Accounting

@Jn_Norris

"When it’s time to recruit a second pair of hands, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your only expense will be your employee’s salary. Employees are expensive"

Belinda Booker, Journalist and Copywriter at Eventbrite

@BelBooker

"There are always free advertising opportunities - you just have to be creative."

Ron Sela - profit driven marketer at ronsela.com

Ron Sela

Ron Sela is a profit-driven marketer at RonSela.com

"Social media is, by definition, social. If you want to get the most out of your social media platform, and the campaign you orchestrate from it, then it’s not enough to simply post great content.

Great content demands a response, and your readers will inevitably comment on it. When they do, you need to be prepared to answer them."

Business startup advice

Entrepreneurs are full of great ideas. However, turning an idea into reality (and a profitable reality at that) is often a mountain of a task.

Each startup business idea needs planning, time and stacks of cash. Nobody said it was easy – because it never is.

Before beginning your new venture, you’ll want to be meticulous in the preparation of your strategy. Going in without one is not recommended. Failure to plan is planning to fail...

Ensure you are on terra firma and start how you mean to go on. Have you got a contingency plan if things don’t work out? What if one of your investors decides to withdraw their capital?

For a business to succeed you need to not only have a great idea but have the means to distribute it according to your audience. Where do your target customers congregate? Are the majority on social media or offline at invite-only gatherings? It’s in your best interests to discover this information and use it to your advantage.

Once you know where to promote, you’re going to need investment to back the campaign and any advertising required. Social media can be a hugely cost-effective channel depending on your audience. Google AdWords will typically cost much more initially, but do a good job of your ads and costs will decrease while your conversions incline.

Plan for rapid growth , the fastest growth imaginable. At the same time, plan for ultimate disappointment. This way, you will be ready for anything that comes your way.

Staffing is one of the biggest challenges an entrepreneur will face – take on too many employees and you could end up not being able to pay them…take on too little and you may find there aren’t enough hours in the day to service your customers!

If your business model revolves around phone communication for example, it is worth considering outsourced telephone answering services to relieve any strain on your business. Outsourced services are a popular, cost-effective alternative to the costly overheads of inhouse staff.

Seven phases of the entrepreneurial process