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Bootstrap Funding: Examples & How to Get It

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Many of my newsletters and blog posts are on the topic of raising capital. I talk about how to raise angel funding. And venture capital, etc.

And don't get me wrong, I think, actually I know, that raising funding is critical. Because the #1 reason (by far) why entrepreneurs fail, is that they don't have or run out of cash.

But one thing I'd like to clarify is that you CAN start and grow a business without funding. Or with little funding.

In fact, many great businesses have been started this way. A survey of Inc 500 companies found that 48% started with $20K in financing or less, and 73% started with less than $100K in financing.

And, if you are looking for BIG funding sources, like venture capital, they will often want to see that you have bootstrapped or already raised other, smaller funding sources before they fund you.

So, if I misspoke or implied that you absolutely must raise lots of funding from the get-go forgive me. Rather, you must start by bootstrapping or raising enough funding to get you going, and then later on, many more funding sources will become available to you to help you grow your company.

Let me give you some examples of entrepreneurs who have done this. In fact, most of these entrepreneurs have started with these small amounts and then raised huge amounts of funding when they were ready for rapid growth:

  • Under Armour's Kevin Plank funded his company's launch with credit cards.

  • Brian Scudamore founded 1-800-GOT-JUNK, which now has over 200 franchised locations in the US alone, with just $700 of funding.

  • Michael Dell launched Dell Computers with only $1,000.

  • Jill Blashack Strahan launched Tastefully Simple, which offers easy-to-prepare foods and gifts with just $6,000 in savings. Her company now generates over $115 Million in annual revenues.

  • Ben & Jerry launched with $8,000 in savings and a $4,000 loan.

  • Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor launched Juicy Couture Clothing with just $200 and a revolving line of credit. Juicy Couture was later sold for $53 million to Liz Claiborne.

  • Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page launched the company with credit cards (and later raised angel then VC funding among others).

 

And, in addition to these and other entrepreneurs who launched their companies with little funding, there are tons of entrepreneurs who have launched their companies with non-traditional sources of funding.

Such as Kenneth Cole, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from a shoe manufacturer (vendor funding). Or Blowfly Beer, who raised tens of thousands of dollars in funding from customers (customer financing).

The key point I want to stress here is that the vast majority of entrepreneurs have the mindset that if they can't raise money from banks, angels or VCs, that they can't launch or grow their companies. This is simply NOT true. So don't fall into this thinking. As there are 38 other sources of funding, or bootstrapping, to turn to.

 

Suggested Resource: As you just learned, most entrepreneurs fail to get funded because they chase after the WRONG sources of funding. Do you want avoid this failure? And successfully raise funding to grow your business? Then check out our Truth About Funding program to learn how you can access the 41 sources of funding available to entrepreneurs like you. Click here to learn more.


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