You may have been bootstrapping for a while now—using your personal resources to fund your business and hoping that eventually you will be able to break even and start paying yourself and buying the things your business really needs.
The symptoms of being in the bootstrap trap include:
- using personal credit cards to pay for business expenses
- doing side gigs to earn extra money
- wearing all the hats in your business because you can’t afford to get high-quality help
- not being able to provide a top-quality customer experience due to lack of funding
- not paying yourself a salary anywhere close to what a CEO should earn
Going for too long with too few resources is a leading cause of business failure. So how do you finally get off the hamster wheel of bootstrapping? Here are the keys to get on the right path:
Realistically evaluate your options and commit to the best one for you.
If you are in the bootstrap trap, you have three options:
1) Continue as you are and keep hoping that you finally get enough revenues to be able to do all the things you want with your business. This can work for some—if you hustle hard enough you may be able to reach that revenue goal. But if you have been trying to reach that goal for a while and you keep falling behind, it is time to acknowledge that a lack of resources is making it impossible for you to create sustainable revenue. You are in a vicious cycle! Without upfront resources, you can’t buy what you need to create a business that generates sustainable revenue.
2) Give up on your business and get a job.
3) Bring outside resources into your business—also known as Other People’s Money (OPM). I want to be very clear about what OPM is. It is not money that you are personally liable to pay back (like a credit card, home equity line of credit, or personal loan from a family member). That kind of money keeps you in the bootstrap trap. OPM is money that is invested in your business and does not put your personal finances at risk.
If you choose option 3, you owe it to yourself to commit and do what it takes to get that funding!
If you choose to raise funding for your business, learn about all the options for doing that.
There are numerous ways to bring in outside funding for your business. It is not necessary to be a high growth tech startup to raise funding from investors. Be sure you understand all the options so you can choose the one that fits your business best.
Create your plan.
Spending some time up front to create a well thought out plan will save you time, effort, and regrets on your fundraising journey. You need to customize your plan to your particular goals, projections, and values so that you don’t waste time chasing funding sources that are not a good fit for you or, even worse, get funding that requires you to sacrifice what you love the most about your business.
We want to help you get clarity on your path for escaping the bootstrap trap. We are offering a limited number of sessions with our team members who can help you pinpoint your strategy. To schedule a complimentary session, click here.