I define bootstrapping as “pursuing success with limited resources and with the help of others.” By limited resources I mean a shortage of money or knowledge. Here are some tips and ideas to help solve these shortfalls for small and wannabe entrepreneurial business owners. These ideas are particularly apropos in today’s environment.
Barter, one of the world’s oldest forms of commerce, is thriving today because it allows companies to trade their products or services for other needed products or services with little or no cash involved. You can utilize your excess goods, manufacturing capacity or time to obtain needed things of every imaginable variety. Bartering can also help you reach and acquire new customers through satisfied trading partners that, if pleased, will buy again with cash and provide good word of mouth to others.
Most barter today is done through exchanges that match up the traders for a fee. You can learn more about the details and find a barter exchange near you by doing a simple online search or visiting the International Reciprocal Trade Association.
SCORE is a government agency with the mission to provide resources and expertise to maximize the success of existing and emerging small businesses. All SCORE counselors are volunteers, mostly retired executives who want to give back. There is no charge, and everyone who calls gets an appointment. There are more than 370 chapters in the U.S. SCORE does not loan money, but it will advise you on how to get it. Visit the website to find your local office.
The Small Business Development Center is another government agency that basically does the same thing as SCORE but with paid employees and even more educational classes. There are more than 1,000 centers in the U.S. Like SCORE counseling, SBDC counseling is also free.