See Asheesh Advani speak at Entrepreneur’s Winning Strategies for Business Event June 19 in Chicago.
Bootstrapping a business takes more than just cash, it takes creativity. These tips from Asheesh Advani, the CEO of Covestor, can help you manage your finances at this critical stage for your company.
Pay salaries on an escalating scale. Advani suggests you not pay a full salary to hire new executives, but structure salaries to grow as your company does. Another suggestion? “Instead of offering a $25,000 bonus, increase the base salary from $75,000 to $90,000 after performance goals are achieved.”
Ask for credit, discounts. He says that startups should negotiate with vendors to find terms that work for them, stressing that as long as expectations are clear, vendors “can function as an inexpensive source of credit.” Don’t think you can’t save money on legal advice either. He adds, “Many law firms have a lower rate for startups. (If yours doesn't, you can find unemployed but experienced lawyers on Craigslist and offer them a chance to build their résumés in return for legal help).”
Consider a micro-loan. Startups that don’t have the credit to get money from banks can look to non-profit lenders for installment loans. He says, “Micro lenders have more flexible underwriting criteria and are willing to take more risk than most banks. Most also accept applications from young, first-time entrepreneurs (as long as they are at least 21), and they welcome minority and women applicants.”
Take note of your time. Advani recommends that entrepreneurs keep track of their labor-adjusted net capital, or the money raised adjusted for the market value of the time spent raising it. He says, “If you spent 100 hours trying to get introduced to an investor who ends up investing $50,000, your labor-adjusted net capital is $50,000 minus the amount you could have made if you spent the 100 hours selling your product or building your company in other ways.” He adds, “If you're not careful, you could take too much time to raise capital relative to the value of doing so.”