Over the last few years, I have been dealing with more and more startup entrepreneurs who have successfully bootstrapped their businesses. They've had to in a time when funding a new business isn't easy. Banks aren't lending, and venture capital is harder to come by.
Bootstrapping requires startup entrepreneurs to be creative and efficient, because they don't have multimillion-dollar marketing budgets or teams of people to help them. Here are 10 things I have learned from startups, much of which can be applied to businesses large or small.
1. Measure everything
If you are doing any sort of online marketing, you need to be tracking your website traffic and conversions properly. Doing so is not expensive, but it can take a bit of time to set up.
Google Analytics is your friend. It is free and easily installed, and the data you can collect is extremely useful whether you are a small or large business. (The 2014 Kissmetrics guide to Google Analytics is one of the best I've found.)
For example, a user might visit you from a Tweet on mobile, browse your site, leave, and then come back in a week to make a purchase via a desktop. In previous versions of Google Analytics, if the user didn't convert on first visit, you would have no way of attributing the sale (or the "assist") back to the original Tweet. Now you do.
2. Test first, then scale