This is part 5 of the 5 part series 15 Steps for successful Bootstrapping
Grow slowly & network consistently
Don’t hire people until you’re walking on your last leg. Work with freelancers at most, if you would otherwise have to categorically reject jobs.
Employees want to be paid on time, are entitled to an ergonomic workplace, regulated working hours, etc. From the very first employee, you are an employer with all rights and, above all, obligations. Avoid fixed costs. They can also lead to liquidity bottlenecks.
You can never have a big enough network though. Here you should pick from an embarrassment of riches. Especially self-employed people like to network to exchange ideas. So, who in your circle of friends/acquaintances already works independently/freelance? Talk to everyone and tell them about your concept or ask for advice.
Interviewing only the self-employed also has the advantage that there is less feedback in the sense of “Don’t do it, boy”, since most employees are in the mood for change, but often do not dare and therefore advise others against their plans.
Think long-term – set a marketing budget
Most concepts fail because of too little advertising. What use is the best business model if no old sow notices that you are on the market?
Many things also work very well through word of mouth, but the start-up phase can be extremely long as a result.
It doesn’t have to be commercials on RTL at prime time, but if you want to build up your business in the long term, you have to do advertising.
With a budget, you avoid spending 20 euros here and there on advertising, but not driving a strategy.
Set yourself the goal of spending e.g. 300 per six months on marketing measures and spend the money.
An advantage of this approach is that you can now optimize your budget by negotiating discounts for e.g. placing advertising. For example, if you place newspaper ads, you can get at least 20% off.
Diversification – You can’t stand on one leg
The fact that you cannot stand on one leg applies not only in the pub but also in business.
If you only have one way of getting money, you always make yourself dependent on the economy. You better always have an ace up your sleeve.
As a self-employed person, you don’t want to recreate the dilemma of being an employee.
A job usually means a source of income. If your job has been cut, you drop from 100 to 0.
Therefore, as a self-employed person, you should always have several sources of income. They can also be related thematically, you don’t have to be a dog trainer and chip shop operator.
But look for additional sources of income to your previous income. Commonly, one also speaks of synergies.
For example, if you deal in junk, you can also organize a flea market.
It is important that new business ideas do not make your old one categorically impossible, no one can tear off two 40-hour jobs a week. This leads to conflicts over time.
Find the gap! You have to be able to fill vacancies in your appointment calendar elegantly.
Or – as discussed under upselling – create some sort of product that helps your customers and sell those.