If you are already in the startup world, you’ve probably heard the term “Bootstrapped Startup.” But what does this actually mean, and why is it valued so much in modern business? These questions, and more, are answered below in these 30 Important Lessons to Bootstrap your Startup in 2019 guide.
So what does bootstrapping mean?
Bootstrapping is about creating products on existing markets (a pre-validated idea), niching it down ideally to 500 – 1000 customers worldwide, then sliding it down again to segment your niche and target your preferred audience easily. Bootstrapped startups have better execution and user experience (UX) as a main competitive advantage (and to attract users from the competition) and produce content efficiently with semi-automated marketing and content creation, to achieve the lowest possible CPA.
Don’t create new markets, don’t chase innovative ideas. Prefer optimization over innovation.
Tips to Bootstrap Your Startup In 2019
- Bootstrapping or entrepreneurship is a career. Do not expect quick results in a short period. Build things step by step. Run a marathon, not a sprint. Do your research and make realistic projections and profit forecasts; this will enable you to spend three years on a successful project, rather than wasting three months on something that’s going nowhere.
- Keep in mind that you don’t have a viable business if you don’t have profit. Understand the finances and keep profit at the front of your mind. Pay yourself first and then pay your creditors. Simple but important.
- Do marketing before coding. Let the world know what you are up to! Create a FOMO effect.
- Learn to write and understand content marketing.
- Research your segment and write down your product value metric. Always be result oriented.
- Niche down, niche down, then niche down again.
- On-boarding should guide your user on how to get the best out of your product in less than 30 seconds.
- Eliminate as many complexities as possible, keeping it simple along the user-to-customer journey in your product. In the most extreme case, show your offer to a user directly after on-boarding.
- Always go for freemium over trials. This has a better rate of turning free users into paying subscribers. The user should stumble upon the product’s “real value metric” every session and suffer by not being able to have it all. If you are concerned about the burden of support for the free tier, make registration private and re-channel the rest of the traffic to a waiting list.
- Start collecting emails from the beginning. At an early stage, go for email collection to conversion. You have a greater chance of reactivating a user with a personal email than reactivating a lost visitor without one.
- Keep on testing. Add new features to build value. This helps your profit margins as well.
- Use content marketing strategy to create hype about your product. People love controversies, and they make people talk about your product to others.
- Your product should sell value, rather than simply being cheap: well-advertised products that fill a gap in the market give value to users; don’t undersell.
- When it’s time, charge more for the product. It’s the simplest and most controllable way to quickly increase your revenue.
- Understand your market pricing strategy and test it out by increasing and decreasing on occasion. You’ll also appeal to different customers in this way.
- Optimize conversion strategy. It’s the second most important way to improve your profit after pricing. Fix any bugs or issues in the product before doubling your marketing budget. Squeeze more out of the current product state before moving forward and adding more new features.
- Three important places you should spend your time on are:
- conversion optimization
- execution (UX)
- marketing, rather than new features.
- If you are developing new features stop today and think which one you could eliminate without losing your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
- A new addition or feature in your product should always serve a new segment of potential customers. Only add it once you have already optimized the previous version of your product. If you haven’t done this, then it’s not a finished product yet.
- Be able to dynamically update pricing to your service in seconds (not days) through your admin panel (or DB).
- Use analytics regularly and make sure you have a low bounce back rate, otherwise you will attract the wrong audience.
- Bootstrappers do not build products. They build marketing/conversion systems around the final product, optimize them and replicate what works.
- Choose products that could be scaled horizontally to serve the target audience (Read Perter Thiel’s – Zero To One ). This way, you can replicate the system and product relatively easily, target a various segment of users and multiply your profit.
- Build perfect technical platforms, and reuse them to multiply your success.
- Use boring technologies that can reduce the cost of bootstrapping and coding. Research these from the beginning and choose the best cost-effective platform.
- Use holidays and year end sales to boost your revenue. Don’t forget to use Black Friday or Christmas sales to close more deals from your mailing list.
- Utilize social media and connect with your users regularly, while getting feedback to improve your product.
- Implement creative promo codes and offer a small discount to your users as a part of your drip campaign.
- Join and connect with your product niche’s community of people (like Indiehackers.com, Producthunt.com, Hackernews.com, etc.) and help newbies – this can help build trust in your project and the support team.
- Never stop improving! You can find new ideas and inspirations everyday, so try to find a way to connect these with your brand.
There are many more steps to success when building a bootstrapped startup in 2019, but these will be a great way to get started. Don’t stop there! Always keep finding new ways to help your bootstrapped startup enter the market with a bang!