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Category: bootstrap

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How To Start A Business With Little To No Capital

Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, recently wrote in a blog article that he considers 2014 to be the “Year of the Entrepreneur.”


Branson says, the growing buzz around startups has generated a lot of excitement and has consequently nurtured a lot of big ideas. But, you really do not have to have a big idea to be your own boss. Many of the biggest companies today were built on boring old ideas, the entrepreneurs simply made their product or service better than their competition to succeed.


Having said that, the biggest challenges for budding entrepreneurs are not the ideas, but the capital. Without money, it’s difficult to start most businesses. So how do you launch your own venture if you do not have any money to start with? Here are some ideas that have worked for other businesses and something’s you should consider as an aspiring entrepreneur.


Take Orders Before Building


This is a technique that works for products that have low production lead time. Let’s say, you sell custom made lamps. How can you make them if you don’t have money to start with? The trick is to sell them before even making them. Do you plan on advertising your business online or do you plan on marketing them using fliers? Regardless of what it is, start selling your product. Once you have a few customers (who have paid you the money), use this cash to buy inventory and make the product. Of course, this will imply you may not be able to offer a same-day delivery. But that is fine, this technique not only gives you the essential cash flow to run your business, but also helps you validate your product as something that has an audience.


Target Online Customers


This is a technique used mostly by service businesses. Consider this roofing company from Manchester.. According to founder Ben Smith, his business did not have the same reputation as their competitors that had been around for decades. With little capital to invest in marketing his business, Ben chose to focus on his business’ online visibility. This strategy paid as the company started to receive online inquiries. With time, this helped his company build a reputation that matched that of the experienced competitors.


Set up Pre-orders


Pre-orders are a great way to ensure two things, 1. get sufficient capital money to build your product and 2. to validate interest from the market and estimate demand. You don’t have to be like Apple to set up preordering for your devices. If you feel your product can have any amount of interest, approach websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to set up a crowd funding campaign. Promote this campaign among your social networks, like Facebook or Twitter. This gets the ball rolling. If you manage to reach out to your local journalists, this could potentially get you more visibility that could ultimately help you achieve your capital. If you choose to go with preordering, be sure to pick the right crowd funding platform. While Kickstarter is extremely popular, they also have an “All or Nothing” model, which means if your product fails to reach its target audience in a predetermined time; you don’t receive any money. In comparison, Indiegogo does not have such a restriction, although it is not as popular which implies a lower number of backers to your project.


Starting a business is both an exciting and scary prospect. But, by removing the worries about your capital investment, you can be sure to focus on the much larger objectives; like building your product and establishing a business model. These tricks listed above can help steer you successfully in this path.


Bootstrapping: 3 Ways to Keep Your Feet Out of the Mud

When you read about a young CEO selling his start-up company for millions, entrepreneurship seems so glamorous. What people don’t know is that being an entrepreneur can be a pretty difficult lifestyle and it requires focus and dedication to lead a company to a successful exit.


The most common route to starting a company involves raising venture capital (VC) funding; however, this is not the only option. Many successful companies start off by bootstrapping. I founded PK4 Media towards the end of 2009, and instead of going through rounds of funding from investors, I chose to bootstrap. In order for the company to grow organically, I have prioritized my attention to 3 specific areas, all of equal importance: Cash Flow, Time and Focus.


1. Cash Flow


Without the perceived “safety net” of VC funds, it is critical to keep a watchful eye on your cash flow. Tracking cash conversion cycles and understanding the tightrope balance between receivables from your clients and payables to your vendors is crucial. Inevitably, floating a customer’s net payment terms while trying to keep your vendors happy will lead to some tense times (and grey hairs!), but it is not an impossible feat. No matter how well you understand your business model, the balancing act will never work out perfectly every time.


A company in growth mode will always be short on cash. For those times when the balancing act tips in favor of your vendors, you need access to short-term, flexible cash alternatives. The most common options for bootstrapped companies are lines of credit from your bank, a receivable factoring company, or even loans from your friends and family.


A line of credit from the bank is my personal preference, since your company only has to pay minimal interest while the line is in use. Think of it like an emergency fund at a reasonable interest rate. Unlike a bank loan, if there is no balance on your line of credit you do not pay any interest. Traditional bank loans are better for purchasing assets, while lines of credit help cover cash-flow needs. Lines of credit stay open for a specific period, and can be adjusted up or down as needed. Creating a relationship with your bank is very important. In addition to your financials, the bank needs to understand your story and your business. Select your bank carefully and make sure you can grow with them long-term.


Even with the relationship, a line of credit can still be difficult to obtain. A bank may require you to be in business for two or more years before approving a loan or line of credit. If you find this to be the case, factoring or even a loan from friends and family may be a valid option.


In early stage start-ups, factoring companies can be useful by paying you early on your receivables. The difficulty with factoring is that the interest adds up quite a bit, perhaps as much as 36% per year. The key with factoring is these are short-term loans that you want to pay back quickly and only rely on if you absolutely need them. A source of cash with more favorable terms may be short-term loans from friends and family. When dealing with loans from friends and family, be sure to protect your relationship and put everything in writing. Treat it as you would any other loan and be sure to make payments in accordance with the terms you agree upon.


2. Time


When running a bootstrapped company, your time is the most valuable asset you have. Time is the only truly limited commodity in the world. Being a start-up entrepreneur, there’s no doubt you spend every waking minute of your day thinking about your business. It is important that you are efficient in the usage of your time. Think about every minute and hour you spend working on a project, or segment of your business, as leading to incremental growth of the company. If what you’re working on isn’t adding value, drop it and focus on the parts of the business where you can create more value. Spending your time efficiently will allow for the maximum growth of your business objectives.


3. Focus


The time you spend on your company should be 100% tied to focus on the core of your business. What did you build your company for? This seems like an elementary concept, however, it is easy to be distracted by a myriad of opportunities that can chip away at your focus. Many young entrepreneurs get distracted chasing opportunities that don’t completely mesh with their business model simply because they are there. An easy dollar, low-hanging fruit, etc. But if these easy dollars come at the expense of shifting your focus from the core of your business you will stretch the company’s resources (and your time) too thin. Of course there are times when chasing the low hanging fruit may lead your company in different strategic direction. But if that is the case, shift your focus 100% as well. Staying focused allows you to maximize your resources and produce the highest ROI.


For the past four years, my team and I have put our heads down and focused on the core business, minded our time and kept an overly close eye on our cash flow. Only recently have we picked our heads and seen the amazing strides forward we’ve taken. Venture capital may seem like an attractive way to build a business, but it’s not the only way. So put on those boots, pull yourself up and keep your feet out of the mud!


Benefits of Creating Websites with Bootstrap

Bootstrap has been the developmental love for many a developer of late. You talk about setting up an effective website with the best possible features and any sensible developer would point you into the direction of Bootstrap.


Gone are the days when having a static website would do all the needful. Today is the era of novelty. With so many websites present in the sphere of the web world, it is critical that one can understand and appreciate different practices that can make his website stand out.


This happens to be one of the most apt reasons for people to choose bootstrap for their websites. Apart from the basic advantages of giving you a superior grid layout, responsive design and cross browser compatibility, there are some very important benefits of creating websites with bootstrap.


Bootstrap is Really Fast


If you have the tightest budget at hand and really need to launch your website in a matter of weeks, look no further. Bootstrap web development is really really fast. Bootstrap offers a range of fully fledged templates that you can pick and customize as per your requirements.


All you need to do is check out a theme that is similar to your business profile, then add images of your products and your logos. You can also get creative and use images to ensure that the pictures corroborate your brand’s popularity. Make sure that you also put in some form of interactivity in your site and viola! Your Bootstrap website is all set without any time delays.


Bootstrap is a Non-Believer of Platforms


Although it is so snazzy and sophisticated, Bootstrap is after all plain old CSS and JavaScript. There’s nothing new for you to learn. Everything is pre-made. You simply need to plug it up to the head of the document and it will do all the magic for you. If you still find it unsettling, you can go for the Compass version of Bootstrap. You will also find .NET and Word press Plug INS for the same.


It is Completely Customizable


Have a feature in mind that you want to include? Well, with Bootstrap it is absolutely easy! The customizer option in the layout allows you to have total control over the parts that you think are useful for your site. You can streamline the framework easily so that all your needs are satisfied. And in case, like me, you are still not satisfied, just get hold of the source code. Then you can optimise it to the extent that you wish to.


Base Styling for Most HTML Elements


Bootstrap understands that every website has distinct elements that need to be enhanced. All these elements including headings, lists, tables, buttons, forms, etc. Are styled and enhanced with extensible classes in Bootstrap.


Bootstrap provides styles for the following HTML elements:


  • Typography
  • Code
  • Tables
  • Forms
  • Buttons
  • Images
  • Icons


Wide Ranging List of Components


There are various requirements in a website. You might want to give your users simplicity of straight menus or drop down ones. The chief benefit of designing your website with Bootstrap is that you can get everything you wish to from drop down menus, pagination or alert boxes. Styling of every single element follows a steady and dependable theme. In order to customise it, all you need to know is LESS. Spend a few minutes with your site and you are ready to launch!


There is also a bunch of pre-styled components available. They are:


  • Dropdowns
  • Button Groups
  • Navigation Bar
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Labels & Badges
  • Alerts
  • Progress Bar
  • And many others.




On the whole, web development depends in a large way on the requirements that are strictly adhering to your personal business. However, it is of utmost importance that you seek professional guidance before you start off. Do some research and then set sail and everything will go well.