10 Bootstrapping Businesses Share Their Knowledge (Part Two)

Continuing on from yesterday, we are busting myths about bootstrapping and sharing tips from the professionals.

Here are the rest of our 10 business owners sharing information on how they bootstrap their business, how to get free stuff and what the challenges are (these are in no particular order):

6. Melissa Picolli, founder of Bija Body

Bija Body

Melissa runs a growing body care and tea business. She says:

I could wane about bootstrapping endlessly, but I have one great tip which not only saves me money, but reduces a lot of waste: Packing material.

Packing material is expensive, and yet, without it, our beautiful products would arrive scratched.

We’ve partnered up with our local hospital, who receives fragile shipments daily. The nurses and warehouse crew of one section are all in it together. They save packaging for a week, and I trade product discounts for one of the nurses to bring bags of packing material to me 1-2x a week.

On average, packing materials would amount to about fifty cents for every package shipped. In the last year alone, we saved several hundred dollars, and saved a lot of waste from going directly into land fill before getting one more use!

Our motto is that if it doesn’t directly relate to quality of product, the cost must be minimized.

7. Ashley Baxter, owner of Baxie 404

Baxie

She offered the following advice:

I’m a employed-preneur and work full time during the day but work on my own business in my personal time. My end goal is to produce online marketing training programs for small businesses. However, one of the key things I’ve learned in business is that sometimes it is best to do what you know in order to get started. For that reason, I started with taking on freelance work in my space. That allows me to make a small income from my business with tools that I already have which is a low, to no, startup cost.

I then take the money I make from my freelance jobs and reinvest it into my business building training programs. I have friends that can provide various elements that I will need for that project and am bartering with my marketing services in order to get those things for free or cheap.

8. Teresa Bryan, president of Bryan Family Enterprises.

Da Brim

Teresa is the bean counter for her business so she has learnt to be frugal:

Where we’re saving money anywhere we can:

* Hiring a web designer to give us a template for a webpage and learning quickly how to swap things out for more targeted advertising, saving us the money of having the web designer do it for us (I have no experience in HTML or web design, but google searches are a great resource!)
* Putting that fancy camera we purchased before we quit our jobs to good use. We take all our own marketing photos and videos and offer free product to models.
* Using free priority mail shipping supplies (including tape!) from the US Postal Service–the little things count
* Running everything out of a home office

Where we’ve decided not to skimp:

* Patent drafts, applications and legal fees.
* When we just don’t have the time to do something ourselves, we contract out the cheapest and least impact item, saving the more difficult and high value items for us to tackle

The biggest lesson we’ve learned:

* Calculate your ROI on each effort quickly. We went to three very expensive trade shows before realizing we weren’t getting much return and our money would have been better spent having 1-on-1 conversations with clients rather than grappling for 10 seconds of buyers’ attention in the midst of trade show visual and auditory overload.

9. Jonathan of Health Kismet.
Health Kismet

Jonathan sells a product called Incredible Greens, a nutritional supplement. He says:

Let me give you a brief overview on how I save money:

Overhead:

– Live with sister – no rent
– Use library office supplies – no office/copiers/etc

Services:

– I’m active on Social Media – so I’ll often post reviews of products in return for free account/copies. For example, I did this with MyNewsDesk and now get a free VIP account
– Make extensive use of cloud based services to avoid paying for human labor
– Use freelancing websites for work that requires human labor – elance, odesk, etc

Customer Acquisition:

– Tap into the blogosphere for product reviews
– Allow customers to name their own price for 1st time buyers…. great for customer referrals, goodwill, etc.
– Use my own YouTube cooking channel to promote

10. Wendy Weston of Perfect Picnic NYC.
Perfect Picnic NYC

Finally, we have Wendy writing to us, apparently from “bootstrap city”. Wendy doesn’t have any tips to share, but I do like her website so she gets a mention too. She said:

I only have one boot strap and i am determined to make it work!! Writing you from a deli in the projects where i create artisanal picnic baskets. We are doing well and i have a good alternative to traditional sales.

Have you got some great bootstap tips to share also? Please leave me a comment below.

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