The term “bootstrapping” refers to those of us what have lifted ourselves up by our bootstraps, starting a business with pure grit and gristle. It takes a unique kind of entrepreneur to lift himself out of obscurity, joining the ranks of the seasoned business owners who have made the cut and lasted their first few years in business, seeing steady growth with each additional year that passes.
Bootstrapping can also be the hardest way to begin a business, as it means that there is little to no capital to spare when making decisions that significantly impact your dream. Many entrepreneurs pride themselves on being “pennywise,” but they fail to put their money where it truly creates growth.
If you want your business---and your efforts----to stand the test of time, there are some investments that you simply must make to ensure that your business withstands that first critical year; the year that could make or break you and your dream. Think about your long-term goals and vision, then begin to funnel money where it will truly make a difference. Follow these investment tips to ensure your long-term success:
Invest in the right tools and equipment
If you are starting a catering business, you won’t want to put a ton of money into purchasing office equipment and furniture; you’ll instead want to put your hard earned cash into items that will improve efficiency when catering----dishes, utensils, transportation, etc. Looking at your business niche and determining what your needs are will help you to spend those first few dollars wisely in order to keep the capital rolling in.
Invest in the right workspace
Make sure that your office or workspace is comfortable and inviting--the kind of place that you’ll want to spend a good deal of time in as you put in those long hours often required upon starting up a business. There is no need to overextend yourself in favor of attracting potential clients and impressing competitors; those days will be possible soon enough. Concentrate instead on making sure you can be comfortable and productive in your space while staying within a tight operating budget during your first formative years in business.
Invest in items that will reach your customers
The formula is quite simple--spend money on ventures that will engage your customers and make you and your employees more efficient and productive. Invest in your people by finding ways to train, motivate and inspire them, and this will pay for itself in dividends as they become an asset to your organization. Invest in products and processes that make your engagements with customers effortless. If an idea, product, or process isn’t working, drop it and look for something that does. Your time and energy are much too precious to waste on things that don’t work for you.
Invest in your organization
Regardless of how good you are at organization, multitasking, and crossing things off your “to do” lists, at some point you are going to need help. Do yourself a favor---hire help before you have gotten to the point where you desperately need it. You will make better decisions about employee qualifications if you are not hiring in desperation. Invest in solid methods of training, compensating and retaining your employees, and they will give back to you in ways that enrich your entire organization. With a solid foundation supporting you, you will have time freed up to focus on your big picture and vision that will propel you all forward toward success.
Invest in yourself
No one enjoys working for someone who is stressed out, burned out, and constantly in a state of near panic. You are working so hard to realize your dream; you need to give back to yourself in ways that nurture you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Taking care of yourself will ensure that you will be able to handle the inevitable challenges that will come your way; give back to yourself first, and you will be able to give OF yourself more.
The future is bright!
You have such exciting times ahead of you; keep your nose to the grindstone, refuse to give up, and take the advice of many who have gone before you and made their dreams come true. Making smart investment decisions now will set yourself and your business up for long term success and prosperity. Keep those purse strings tight; your future is bright!