Depending on which source you consult, between 50 percent to 90 percent of all startups eventually fail. The numbers are definitely daunting. But it’s important to understand the “why” than it is to dwell on the “how many.”
According to , access access to funds is the second most common reason startups fail. The problem becomes especially pronounced when entrepreneurs are putting their money in line because investors aren’t exactly lining up to give them money. This is the bootstrapped dilemma.
If this sounds like your business model, don’t fear: All hope is not lost. Here are a few ways you can cut expenses and make things happen for you and your startup.
1. Don’t outsource things you can do on your own
You probably don’t need to hire someone to create content just yet. Identify time-consuming tasks that won’t affect other key areas of your startup and examine which you can do by yourself at least during this lean period.
2. Reduce all personal expenses
Big salaries? Not now — the goal is to get to that later. You literally can’t afford to live the same lifestyle as founder of multi-million dollar startups who are flush with others’ funding. You don’t need luxurious cars and fancy parties right now. Reduce all personal expenses so you can direct 100 percent of your resources toward growing your startup.
3. Court the press
It’s unlikely you have the budget to hire a public-relations specialist. And you might not even have the cash to outsource your PR needs to an agency. Here’s the really frustrating part: You know that without any attention for your stellar product or service, the early going will be slow. Here’s what to do:
- Find out who’s doing founder interviews. There are tons of websites that focus on featuring new tech startups for free. Reach out to these sites and publications. Not only will you get some extra attention, but you could get noticed by the mainstream press or investors.
- Become a contributor. While you work to get feature treatment from top-of-market publications, very little stops you from being a contributing expert to these same information sources. Most major publications happily will accept contributed content if your perspective adds value to the field.
- Target new journalists. New startup founders often make the major mistake of targeting big-shot journalists and well-established influencers. These folks get a lot of pitches — way more than they can handle. By contrast, new journalists keep looking for stories and exciting startups they can feature, and they’ll often go out of their way to dig up the story waiting to be told.
- Write or curate your own blog. Research reveals that businesses with blogs get more links, leads and traffic. If you can’t get press from external sources, be your own press. Blog. Many of today’s top startups have built their followings this way and now get millions of blog views every year.
4. Scale slowly
Of all the factors that contribute to startup failure, research shows When you’re running your startup on a budget, you’re under pressure and conditioned to make things happen very fast. Don’t make this mistake. Carefully analyze every decision you make when it comes to growing your startup. Yes, it will take longer — but you’ll still have your startup.
5. Bring on a co-founder
Two heads (and two bank accounts) are better than one. Bringing on a co-founder is one of the most effective yet still-underestimated ways to bootstrap your startup.
New companies with two co-founders . They raise 30 percent more money than startups with a single founder, and they experience three times the user growth.
Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments!