Editor’s Note: YoungEntrepreneur’s Ask the Expert column seeks to answer questions about everything from starting a business to growth strategies. To follow the column on Twitter — and ask a question — use hashtag #YEask, or leave a comment below. Your query may be the inspiration for a future column.
Q: How do I work up the courage to start my own business when I have a very minimal budget? What are your low-cost startup tips?
- Paul Murray
A: I’ve started companies with funding and without — and I can now say I prefer launching without.
By starting with little or no cash, you are forced to focus on the two most important things: Helping people by meeting a real need, and creating cash flow. If you’re funded when you launch, you’re more likely to push those two facets to the backburner.
Here are six tips to help you get your bootstrapped startup off the ground:
1. Work your way up. Many of the top brands didn’t start with big funding. They started with a big idea that was executed and evolved overtime. It’s easy to look at the big guys and think you need everything they have to be successful, but they didn’t fall at the top of the mountain, they climbed there — and can you too.
2. Think smaller. Many people are obsessed with big ideas and don’t understand the value in doing all the small things really well. Fall in love with small opportunities, and treat them as though they were big opportunities. Your customers will love you for it.
3. Build an inner circle of wisdom. It’s important to actively seek out trusted mentors. There are going to be many times when you need wisdom on speed dial. You need people in your corner who know what it takes to build a successful company. Also, YouTube has interviews with tons of successful entrepreneurs you can learn from for free.
4. Read a lot more. You can learn so much and avoid the mistakes of those who have come before you if you make a commitment to reading. I’ve tricked a lot of people into thinking I’m brilliant by simply committing to reading as much I can. You are never wasting time sharpening your mind.
5. Have a growth mindset. Forget about proving yourself or your idea. Focus on learning and growing everyday. Believe that everything that happens to you is in your best interest. Rather than asking, “Why is this happening to me?” Ask, “How can I learn from this experience, and how can I grow?”
6. Learn to master free tools. It’s time to hustle hard. Utilize social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to build buzz around your brand.
Have a question for YE’s experts? Submit your questions in the comments section below and those with the most likes from other readers will be answered. On Twitter, use the hashtag #YEask. Include your first and last name, your location (city and state) and the name of your business.