Bootstrapping 101: 4 Ways To Launch Your Startup Without Cash

Don't let your lack of funds derail your entrepreneurial dream.

Loral Langemeier, CEO, Live Out Loud

Do you believe that the only way to create and launch a business is to acquire massive amounts of VC financing? Consider these for launching smart – without cash.


1.    Bootstrap Your Way to Success


 I like starting companies with no money. Actually I’m all for full-on bootstrapping (starting a self-sustaining process/business without external financial support.)  


There are many businesses that can be started with little or no financial backing. Here’s why I debunk the theory that you need cash to launch a business dream: Capital comes from smart people and if you don’t know how to run a company, I don’t know that you’re going to have a really easy time getting capital. So launching smart is your first step.


One of the advantages of bootstrapping your company is that you have control of your cash. For me, I focus on spending those initial monies on hiring an amazing team to help lead the business to success.


2.    Build Your Foundation


So how can you launch a successful business without a mega cash infusion? Here’s how you can create significant leverage.


Write a strong business plan. Start with a detailed business plan that focuses on what makes your product or service unique and standout. A detailed business plan leads to strong investment potential. Take the time to thoughtfully write down your idea and outline how the business will operate, making sure you communicate your vision and potential for making a difference.



3.    Pre-Sell Your Product or Service


Most significantly, one of the most powerful things you can do to launch a successful business – without initial rounds of massive funding, is to pre-sell. By pre-selling your product or service, you can demonstrate to potential investors that cash flow is coming into the company. This can inspire their sign-on and additional start-up funding.



Some examples of successful pre-selling include companies like Apple. Apple pre-sells their phones to measure demand. I, in turn, have presold every book I have written, resulting in pre-selling 55,000 books before they were published. What’s more, when I do Webinars, my coaching programs or any VIP programs, I pre-sell.


In addition to promising revenue, pre-selling enables you to screen what potential customers want – and don’t want. I have a nutraceutical company that makes nutritional supplements and personal care products, or what I call, “lotions and potions.” I pre-sell through surveying customers and potential customers asking them what they want and then having them fill out an application and send a deposit.


Those monies can be used to produce your product or service.


4.    Build a Winning Management Team

It’s no secret that high-performing start-ups have high-performing teams. Invest what monies you do have in building an A-List team.



The answer to “Can I start a business without cash,” is “Yes.”



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Tip of the Day

“START WITH ONE PERSON. In a big market, look for one customer who already has his wallet out but is unhappy about one thing in a given product or service. The odds are that, if the market is big enough, lots of people share his view. Fix that one thing. You could have one killer business! ”

Scott Duffy  

Scott Duffy is the Special Project Editor of Launch @ and author of Launch!, a roadmap for building great companies.