Bootstrapping your tech startup


You saw a problem that you think you can create a solution around so you have decided to embrace the opportunity by starting your own business. Now you must start making a plan of how you are going to create this business with the limited resources you have available to you. It may seem daunting, but remember Apple started as a project in a garage, Google was started in a dorm and was originally called Backrub and the founder of Fedex once turned $5,000 into $32,000 by gambling in Vegas to save the company. Many large businesses have started from very limited resources.

The first thing you need to understand is that you can start your business with a lot less than you actually think you need. Think you need an office? Not when you can create the same impression with a virtual address. Think you need staff? Use freelancers instead. Think you need to build the perfect solution. Not when having the minimum viable product will start letting you get sales and customers. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and figure out exactly how few resources you can use to create the MVP that will solve the problem your solution is targeted at.

This approach will not only conserve resources but by going for a minimum viable product as early as possible you get to test your idea against the reality of the market. Nothing is more valuable to the entrepreneur as the feedback you will get from your customers as they apply your solution to their problem. Nothing is perfect out of the box and getting that feedback early means you will have more resources available to polish your Beta into a finished product that the market will embrace. Build it quick and you will quickly find the weaknesses so that you can improve it.

Now that you have decided what things you need to do to get to a MVP you can start drawing up a budget and a product development roadmap. Break down each step of the development process and start thinking about which of those tasks you need to do yourself, which ones you can get done by friends and family and which ones would be best done by a paid freelancer. With a range of freelancing platform from Upwork to Fiverr it has never been easier to higher freelance talent for a reasonable price.

Managing the development process and keeping it agile is also very easy. There are loads of collaboration tools such as Slack, Google Hangouts and Skype that offer free options to help you save money. Which options you choose will depend on which platforms your team is most comfortable working with. Be prepared to revise your development roadmap as your team finds cheaper and simpler solutions as the development progresses. The great thing about agile startups is their ability to pivot and follow the opportunity.

Once you have an MVP it not only opens up the possibility of sales but also gives you something to show to potential sources of funding. Whether you are looking for funding from Angel Investors, VC Funds, Crowdfunding or just money from friends and family having something tangible to show them is going to make it much easier to raise money. As an entrepreneur you are always going to looking for additional sources of finance to help you accelerate the development plan, getting the right terms will be easier the more you have to offer.

One of the most important thing that you as the principle should be concentrating on besides raising money and managing the development process is in getting sales. Nothing solves business problem better than robust sales. It may lead to a few headaches trying to get the cash flow necessary to fulfill the sales but those are the problems you want to have. In fact the more sales you have the easier it will get to manage that cash flow as more ways of doing it will open up to you. Everything from account receivable factoring to lines of credit from a bank will become easier to get the more sales you can show. Being on the frontline selling also lets you stay close to your customers and that will help you figure out what further development your product offering needs.

There has never been an easier time to start a business with more resources and tools available to help you turn your business idea into a healthy and thriving business. Don’t make the mistake that many have made in the past of blaming a lack of economic resources as way of procrastinating about starting. Every business that has ever been started did it without having everything they would have wanted at the start. They started with what they had and so can you.


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