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  • #974797
    eneo-australia
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    ‘Bootstrapping’ is the idea to get off the ground without any external funding. This concept dramatically decreases your risks and secures your autonomy in your own business for the future. In unison, you can learn how hard it is to earn a dollar of profit with your business idea right from the start. Additionally, bootstrapping evolves your budgeting skills and once your business is up and running, it puts you in a good position to raise money for your further growth. On the other hand, this strategy does comprise the risk that if a good business idea is not promoted by the right amount of money it will fail based on this simple reason.

    With this problem in front of me; I have started our little business some month ago. Now, I thought it is time to share some practical findings which help us so far. These tips are easy to apply and do not come with a big price tag.

    Website: No doubt, every company should have a website nowadays. But instead of signing up for an expensive web hosting and hiring of web designer who hit you with a big invoice, I would like to suggest that you organise yourself an account with Weebly. This is an online content management system allows you to have a webpage up and running in ten minutes for free. As I do not like unreasonable time estimates, I have to admit that a good result will take you some hours. But honestly, using their web templates is easy like writing a letter in MS Word. Have a look at our website http://www.eneo.net.au which is created with Weebly and tell us what you think. As you can see on our website, Weebly offers also a simple shop solution based on PayPal.

    Later, you can add Goggle Analytics and Google Webmaster tools to the website. These tools will provide you with statistics and some help to optimise the website for search engines (SEO). Again for free.

    That will do the trick for the start and give you options for later.

    Email marketing: The next step is to spread the word. Of course, you can send some nice emails to your friends. But to get the attention of a wider audience, it is properly a good idea to use a professional Email Marketing tool. Such a tool can help you to create mailing lists and HTML templates, to send hundreds of mails at once and to report on the results. We are using ‘Mailchimp’ for this purpose. This cloud solution offers you to send 12.000 Mails to a list of 2000 recipients per month for free.

    With this tool you can also create a sign up page for your newsletter which you can add to your website.

    Video, Online Auction and Social Networking: I think it is unnecessary to explain Youtube, Ebay and Facebook. But they can definitely add value to your Emarketing Mix. Ebay has recently changed their fee structure. From now on, it is possible to list products for free and only pay when you sold something.

    We have also incorporated the bootstrapping idea into our company strategy. In our case, we have chosen to stage our business model. Instead of offering a full-blown engineering services portfolio directly from the start, we have started to retail quality insulated drinking bottles (isoBottles) and will enhance our portfolio with energy efficient LED lighting in the near future. This step gives us the possibility to create our brand and to establish a professional environment bit by bit.

    In conclusion, bootstrapping offers a lot of advantages as mentioned above. The downside is that it takes very long and requires a lot of persistence. We have decided to take this approach as this save us from sleepless nights worrying about loan repayments.

    If you work based on a similar approach, I would love to hear about your ideas which helped you to grow your business. In particular, I am looking for clever ideas to create reasonable ‘terms and conditions’ and other legal documents.

    Finally, I like to offer a 10% discount on our isoBottles for all Flying Solo Members until 30.09.2011. Just write us an email with your choice and your ‘Flying Solo Nickname’ and we will arrange the rest.

    #1070428
    calebmarshall
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    Good article! You didn’t really touch on video creation so much, so for that either use Jing or animoto. Both are good free services, though Jing caps the length of the video at 5 minutes, however that can be an advantage at times since video marketing is most effective when condensed into short concise information.

    Also for project, customer and business management, look at Podio. They’re free for up to 10 users which is more than enough for a startup in most cases.

    #1070429
    Netorigin
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    eneo-australia, post: 87713 wrote:
    Website: No doubt, every company should have a website nowadays. But instead of signing up for an expensive web hosting and hiring of web designer who hit you with a big invoice, I would like to suggest that you organise yourself an account with Weebly. This is an online content management system allows you to have a webpage up and running in ten minutes for free. As I do not like unreasonable time estimates, I have to admit that a good result will take you some hours. But honestly, using their web templates is easy like writing a letter in MS Word. Have a look at our website http://www.eneo.net.au which is created with Weebly and tell us what you think. As you can see on our website, Weebly offers also a simple shop solution based on PayPal.

    I’ll have to disagree with the price of web hosting these days. You can definitely find Australian web hosting for less than <$10/month. Perhaps this is the cost of 2 coffees a month :)

    Cheers,
    Shaun

    #1070430
    tayjooann.com
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    NetOrigin, post: 87754 wrote:
    I’ll have to disagree with the price of web hosting these days. You can definitely find Australian web hosting for less than <$10/month. Perhaps this is the cost of 2 coffees a month :)

    Cheers,
    Shaun

    Hey Shaun,

    Whereabouts?

    I’ve been constantly disappointed by so many webhosts with downtime, server problems and problems with distance (US based being too slow, response slow due to different timezones).

    #1070431
    Netorigin
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    tayjooann.com, post: 87760 wrote:
    Hey Shaun,

    Whereabouts?

    I’ve been constantly disappointed by so many webhosts with downtime, server problems and problems with distance (US based being too slow, response slow due to different timezones).

    Hello,

    We basically provide business grade Australian web hosting plans that are affordable and backed by our SLA. I don’t want to derail the OP’s post so this might be best taken to PM.

    Cheers,
    Shaun

    #1070432
    King
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    I’ve been constantly disappointed by so many webhosts with downtime, server problems and problems with distance (US based being too slow, response slow due to different timezones).

    This would be caused by a poor host than being in the USA. Unless you call perhaps one second delay too long!

    #1070433
    King
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    Well Eneo…the ‘article’ covered the basics and probably offered nothing new (as it is all covered with ongoing regularity in various threads), except perhaps some link dropping (they are no-follow by the way).

    I think that bootstrapping is a term that is not commonly used in Australia…after all you either get the money from the bank or you self-fund – unlike in the USA (where the term comes from) where venture capital is the norm. But even in the USA, bootstrapping is about running your business by the financial skin of its teeth, not knowing where the next dollar is coming from and not knowing if the bills will be paid week to week.

    There are some really good yarns out there by some Americans who share their stories (ranging from downright scary to totally inspirational.

    #1070434
    tayjooann.com
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    One of my biggest challenges was home vs actual office space.

    You may argue that bootstrapping means working out of your home, but i do feel that somehow the office environment does increase productivity.

    I recently settled on just renting a desk in a renowned young entrepreneurs’ community in NSW!

    I think that helped a lot with paying rent + getting a workspace + an office address!

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