When you're bootstrapping, it's' hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard to remember that many of today's largest corporations--Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Disney, and many others--were bootstrapped at first.
The key to graduating from the bootstrapping stage is to use your existing resources to take the step that will expand your pool of resources. That's how a business grows, whether it's birthed in a garage or Silicon Valley.
"Existing resources" doesn't only mean money. It can certainly make it easier to grow a business, but money isn't the only resource you have at your disposal that you can leverage to build your business.
"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world," Archimedes once said.
It may be hard to believe, but you do have levers you can use to move your business out of the bootstrapping stage.
3 Things You Didn't Realize Were At Your Disposal to Get More Money
Inspiration--what drove you to become an entrepreneur in the first place--is your most important resource. It's immune from inflation and recession and stock market fluctuations. And nobody can steal it from you.
Inspiration energizes and enthuses you. Use it to power through the difficulties of getting started, and then to keep you going through adversities and obstacles.
In addition, inspiration is contagious. It shows in everything you do, people sense it, and they become more enthusiastic to support you.
Here's how inspiration can help you get more resources:
- Leverage your inspiration to create a compelling slide deck that will inspire others to get involved, either as donors or joint venture partners.
- Leverage your inspiration to brainstorm ways to overcome sales objections.
- Leverage your inspiration to attract team members who are committed to making the business succeed.
When you're starting out, you usually have more time than money, and that's more precious than gold! Imagine: when it comes to time, you have just as much as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet.
The question is, how are you going to use it?
Be intentional with your time. Since you're building a business, you've probably over-committed yourself. This isn't a good space to be, because it causes you to lose focus and compromises your decision-making.
So, clear your calendar of everything but the most important activities. Practice inbox zero, so your email doesn't end up being a time suck. And delegate tasks other people can do better than you and will make your business more efficient.
When you've freed up time and become more focused on your business, you can:
- Leverage your time to learn as much as you can about the industry you're in, what works in various businesses, and, most of all, to really get to know your potential customers
- Leverage your time to execute in a big way, to do what others aren't willing to do because it's too hard or takes too much time.
- Leverage your time to test strategies and tactics, paying attention to increasing your conversions
You may not have realized it, but the people who already know you, trust you, and want to support you are resources, too.
This isn't about using people around you. It's about asking for help and letting people help--and helping others in turn . It's also about seeking the company of those who have gone where you want to go. It's about finding and learning from people whose values align with yours. And it's recognizing that relationships are valuable, and nurturing them without a big networking agenda.
There are so many ways relationships can help your resources grow:
- Leverage to get pilot test your ideas and get feedback on them, before letting them loose out into the world
- Leverage relationships to introduce people whose businesses align, and get introductions in return
- Leverage relationships to boost your credibility through social proof and recommendation
By leveraging inspiration, time, and relationships you'll soon have a much bigger pool of resources. You'll also achieve momentum, results, and, yes, more money. You'll keep making your lever "longer" and your business bigger.