Today many business owners dream of obtaining funding from investors, but many have to start their business journey with little to no capital. In these scenarios, the general rule is to strive to go as far as you can without external capital or funding; this is commonly known as “bootstrapping”. In this piece, we look at six ideas which will ensure you get maximum bang for your limited rands.
1. Exchange skills with entrepreneurs in your network.
Fledgeling businesses and startups, who want to save cash can opt for bartering for services. Bartering means the exchange of goods and services without any money in the transaction.
Many business services can be bartered or conducted via trade exchanges including bookkeeping, marketing, IT, deliveries and more. For business owners wanting to bolster their chances of success through bartering, they should tap into their networks.
Consider joining a network such as business.co.za or social media to find potential bartering partners, or you could even ask business contacts or friends, family or peers to point you in the right direction.
2. Ensure that you’ve completed your business registration and certifications.
You can register your business and apply for business accounts via a bank’s website and CIPC registration with is available with all major banks in the country at a minimal fee. The process includes the creation of your business with the registrar of companies (CIPC) on your behalf.
3. Utilise government incentives and non-financial instruments.
There are several programmes and initiatives which support burgeoning entrepreneurs in South Africa, with countless opportunities to help develop your business acumen. Many of these are free or cost-effective. Many of these entities offer regular, free lectures, seminars and group coaching of topics which are crafted for entrepreneurs.
Educational resources are not the only forms of support available; there are several initiatives which can help business owners obtain market access and foster growth networks outside of our borders. The DTI offers such programmes, as well the Cape Design and Craft Institue for design firms in the Western Cape.
Furthermore, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) provides several Technology Stations in an array of diverse sectors, including agro-processing, chemicals, clothing and textiles and tooling. These resources provide you with access to university-calibre technical levels as well as specialised equipment at cost-effective prices.
4. Be ready at all times.
It’s crucial to stay organised and doesn’t cost you a cent and will help you when you’re ready to obtain the necessary funding for your startup.
These are the documents you might be required to produce as per the National Youth Development Agency:
Tax clearance certificate
National identification card
Company registration documents
Your business/personal six months latest bank statements
The lease agreement of where you are doing your business
A loan breakdown of how much you need and what you need it for
Proof of residence
One year financial statement
5. Ask existing customers to write testimonials about your business.
Testimonials which tell a compelling story about a customer’s experience with your business are a powerful tool in obtaining leads and conversions. It’s human nature that we follow the behaviour of our friends, family and peers and is known as social proof. When we see our friends or family members doing something, we do feel that it is the behaviour we should follow. We autonomously develop objections to many brands marketing pitches, but testimonials help has overcome buyer anxiety by showing that the product has worked for people like us.
6. Keep an eye on your spending.
Business owners need to avoid wasting money wherever possible, especially by not paying for things they can do themselves. Despite any good intentions you might have, every time you spend a rand, it has to make economic sense. When your company can’t afford something, you need to buckle down and do it yourself.