There is a popular belief that to successfully launch a new product or business you require substantial capital. That belief is a myth. While it’s true that a new product or business will require a small investment, more and more businesses are launching with smaller and smaller amounts of startup capital, bootstrapping their way to success.
Many new products and services are now launched with only a few thousand dollars, benefitting from careful planning, strategizing, and modern online resources. There has never been a better time to bootstrap a product or business, and in this article we’ll go through some of the best strategies and techniques you can employ to keep costs low and the chance of success high.
Focus and Simplify
When you are bootstrapping a product launch you have to operate in a lean and streamlined manner. There isn’t the room in your finances or resources to lose focus and add complexity where none is required. Keep focussed on your core product idea and keep things simple. Once you have a successful product and strong customer-base, you can then turn your focus to adding in extra features that would otherwise only serve to distract.
Jenny Le and Pamela Yip, Chief Bubblers a.k.a co-founders of Bubble Tea Club, had this to say on their success during their launch of their brand: “When we started Bubble Tea Club we focused on what should matter most to any business: focusing on the experience of our customers and the quality of the bubble tea, nothing more, nothing less. With that in mind, we also made it a fundamental value to also give our staff the best experience possible. To make working enjoyable and even work on making it something to look forward to.”
Take Advantage of Free Resources
Free is not a synonym for low quality, and that is a statement that is worth remembering when seeking out resources to launch your product. Various free resources (either entirely free or with a free introductory tier) are available to startups from help and advice to tools and software required to run your business.
Taking advantage of these free resources can help you to direct funds to other areas during the crucial early days of product development and launch. In many cases the free solutions may be viable long-term for your business, but if not you can always transition to premium offerings once revenue starts coming in.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Never be afraid to ask for help or pitch your product/idea to a potential client. You will be surprised at the amount of help you can get when bootstrapping your product simply by asking for it. And when it comes to pitching your idea to potential clients, even if they aren’t currently interested, at least you have made them aware of your offering for the future.
Sam Radbil, Senior Content and Communications Manager at ABODO had this to say when asking for help – “The best strategies and deals in business will always come when multiple people collaborate together and put their shared experience to use. We always strive to stay open-minded when it comes to asking for help from more experienced people, and welcome their suggestions for improvement.”
Leverage Your Network
A network of contacts is a powerful tool to any new business, and you shouldn’t be afraid to utilise and leverage your contacts to aid in your products success. Leveraging your network will enable your business to realise new opportunities and expand its reach with minimal capital investment.
Elias Haddad, Company Director of Cheapest Load of Rubbish says, “By using our network of existing customers and business associates, we were able to expand our scope, reaching new customers and opportunities that simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”
Learn the Skills Yourself
Specialist skills are expensive to recruit into your business. Knowledge that has taken decades to learn and apply will always come at a hefty cost. But in the very early stages of a new product or business launch, highly specialist skills often aren’t required.
Learning some core skills from the fields you may have to recruit from will allow you to keep staffing costs low during the early bootstrap days by doing it yourself. Additionally, knowing the skills your business requires, even at a basic level, will put you in a better position to communicate with the relevant people to find optimal solutions at optimal cost.
Take Advantage of Software Deals
Regardless of the industry your business and product is targeting, you will need a significant amount of, generally expensive, software to power your day-to-day operations: word processing; invoicing solutions; spreadsheets for data analysis; customer databases; and team collaboration tools. The costs can add up fast.
While all of these solutions may be required at some stage of your products lifecycle, they aren’t all required on day one. Large software companies are always looking to attract new customers to their ecosystems, and therefore regularly run promotions and discounts to encourage purchase or subscription.
If the software isn’t immediately required, try to hold-off as long as possible until you can get it at a good price. Likewise, if you see a great promotion on a piece of software you know you will need in the coming months, snap it up while the price is right.
Presenting a new product or service to the world on a shoe-string budget is not an easy task, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. The biggest companies in the world, with the largest investment and marketing budgets, still suffer from failed launches. Money is not the key to success when it comes to launching something new. By using careful planning and strategies, it’s entirely possible to bootstrap a new product on a minimum budget and still realise dreams of success.