Bootstrapping 101

Get Your High Growth Startup off the Ground for Under 3K. 

One of my favorite things about technology is the power it gives us to create. With the right tools, and your time and energy, you can create beautiful and polished brand for less than $3,000. 

You can build apps, software, products or entire worlds with the click of a button. When it comes to creating companies that are ready for rocket fueled growth and exciting endeavors, a C-Corp is the preferred vehicle for the venture capitalists out there looking to invest in you. Venture capital is not for everyone, but for those who do want to attract that kind of outside capital, getting from zero to funded can be a bit daunting. 

There are million things you need to get done in order to successfully raise funding, this is not an article about raising money. This is a quick rundown of the quickest, most bootstrapped path to creating a tax compliant, polished c-corp and brand.

The Legal Stuff ($300)

Frequently, this is the last thing on an entrepreneur’s mind. However, ensuring you have laid the proper legal framework for growth and longevity is paramount to success as an entrepreneur. Gust Launch can see to all of your needs, and costs just $300. 

They will help you form a Delaware C-Corporation, walk you through each step of incorporation, answer common questions, and make sure you have all the info you need. Everything happens online, and you can be up and running in as little as three days.

No only will they get you up and running, they will help you set up your company, establish bylaws, appoint board members, and limit founder liability. Their software will help you manage your cap table, develop legal agreements, define relationships for contractors and advisors, protect confidential information with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and update your board membership, all via simple online signatures.

Instead of a costly attorney, who you will need later, you can get started with a simple $300 investment. Once you are finished you will have the vehicle you need to raise funding. 

The Infrastructure ($1200) 

Intelligently scaling your business does not need to be hard. When you get started you need a few basic things. Most companies need, hosting, professional email, business productivity software, phone system, accounting software, invoicing system and a banking service. A lean startup can leverage the amazing ecosystem around them to efficiently acquire all of these services for less than a thousand dollars. 

AWS

People love to hate on amazon, and there are a lot of other options. We have used everything from Azure to Squarespace and continue to use a variety of services to get the job done. Depending on the business you are running your hosting solution need not be as expensive as AWS. This blog is hosted on Godaddy, because it cheap and easy to use. I will give you one guess as to who Godaddy uses for their hosting. 

AWS is a good example of the beauty of cloud services. The cloud may not be ideal or even what you need down the road, but unless you are doing something very special or very secret, it makes the most sense for bootstrapping. 

AWS enables you to select the operating system, programming language, web application platform, database, and other services you need. With AWS, you receive a virtual environment that lets you load the software and services your application requires. This eases the migration process for existing applications while preserving options for building new solutions. Using AWS tools, Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing, your application can scale up or down based on demand. Backed by Amazon’s massive infrastructure, you have access to compute and storage resources when you need them. 

GSuite

GSuite is one of our favorite products. We feel strongly about this because  it comes as close as you can to democratizing the experience of building a brand or a company. GSuite significantly reduces the barrier to entry for new companies by providing a simple and cost effective solution, that integrates seamlessly with a wide range of supporting products. 

GSuite delivers professional email, productivity software, high end security, simple administrative tools, cloud storage and a bevy of developer resources, all for one low price. Onboarding is the easiest thing in the world, customer support is fantastic and the platform integrates with the larger ecosystem of software tools you need to run a company. 

Quickbooks

Quickbooks is easy to set up solution that provides you a POS system and accounting tools. The cloud based system can help you run payroll, manage taxes and keep your accounting organized. You can match transactions to expenses, understand your profits, and stay prepared for tax time. 

Dialpad

Dialpad is the cloud-based phone system that adapts to how you work. Accessible on your existing devices, Dialpad offers a simple way to unify your communications, all from an interface that admins and users find approachable, reliable, and responsive.Instantly respond to customer inquiries, send a quick note to the group, even shoot over the latest specs, all from one simple, unified experience. Whether IM, SMS, or MMS, Dialpad keeps it simple to stay in touch.

Out of the box simple. Dialpad’s instantly responsive admin portal simplifies IT management so adding users, creating departments, even setting up desk phones happens in minutes, not months. When your tools work together, great things happen. Whether it’s logging activities in Salesforce or opening a new ticket in Zendesk, Dialpad’s suite of integrations eliminates context switching and delivers happier, more productive teams.Oh, and to get started, its free. 

Azlo

Alzo is the bank you need. Zero fees. Simple Setup. Connections to capital. Nothing else to say here, check it out and you will not regret it.

Granite City Coworking

Guess what! You can get an amazing office space, with conference rooms, coffee, WIFI, and a huge list of additional amenities. Pricing is flexible and you don’t have to worry about getting locked into a long term lease. 

The Creative Stuff ($500)

Google Domains

When you purchase or transfer a domain name to Google Domains, privacy is almost always included. Google will cover the cost of keeping your details private. Over the next few years, hundreds of new domain name endings like .guru and .photography will become available. Google is working to provide users with as many options as possible so you can find the most relevant and meaningful names as you get started online. 

Additionally, when you use Google Domains you get to use the same DNS servers as Google. This means your domain name will connect quickly and reliably to your website. Google includes 10 million resolutions per year for each domain you register with Google Domains.

LogoTournament 

Not the artistic type? There is a fine line to walk between hiring some college kid on Fivver and hiring a proper artist. Eventually you will need a designer and an artist to work on your brand, but to get started you may want to consider Logotournament. High quality artists will compete for your prize and business. 

The platform is a great example of the beauty of crowd sourcing. Talent marketplaces are a dime a dozen, but LogoTournament really delivers on their central value proposition. You decided how much you want to put up for the prize, and people will compete for your businesses. Its simple, effective and a great way to get a ton of options for your logo. 

Envato Market

One of the greatest downfalls of entrepreneurs is thinking they need to do everything themselves. Envato market is a terrific resource when you are bootstrapping and in need of some design or code assets. You can pick up everything here from AE templates to useful scripts for billing or invoicing customers. 

The Work

This part is on you. If you are prepared to do this work, that is all the seed money you really need to get rolling. It will certainly get you through your first year of funding and development. If your idea or platform is exceptional, you will be able to boostrap your way into some early revenue, which hopfully you will leverage into improving the sort of bare bones structure I have outlined here. 

If you don’t happen to have an extra 3k, and it’s all that stands between you and your dreams, consider working with friends, family or a microfinance company to get things rolling.

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