4 Valuable (and inexpensive) Business Tips from Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs

Bootstrappers Breakfast is a mastermind-style meetup where we have serious conversations about growing a business. This group offers a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. Here are four lessons learned during the Philly March meetup.

Referral selling is your strongest lead generation tool.

We discussed two different types of referral marketing strategies–online referral traffic and personal referrals and how you can use them as a powerful lead generation tool.

It's not easy to predict how your customers find your website and what they do once they get there. Referral traffic is a strong indicator of which sources are most valuable in helping your business achieve goals and whether your marketing/advertising dollars are paying off. 

Run an analysis to understand overall traffic flow to help identify what works, as well as find new opportunities for audience acquisition. Dive deeper into each of your referral domains to find what exactly makes these audiences unique. What kinds of topics attract audiences from the different sources? How efficient are your posts? What content is most effective on each source? Also knowing where your competitors get referrals may be a good perspective to gain. Consider sites like similarweb.com to check who's getting referrals from where.

But don’t spend all of your time behind referral domains. Oftentimes, personal referrals beat out almost any other lead generation tool and are often a bigger bang for your buck. The magical thing about referrals is that it is exponential growth for your business, where one client can lead to two, and two to four, and so on. Personal referrals cost nothing to acquire, your sales process moves faster, your closing ratio is higher, and your sales are often larger. So don’t forget to lean on existing clientele while you’re out reaching new audiences.

Lastly, knowing where your competitors get referrals may be a good perspective to gain. Consider sites like similarweb.com to check who's getting referrals and from where.

Practice, practice, practice your pitch

As an entrepreneur, you spend much of your time out pitching your product or service. But are you clearly communicating your message? The best way to guarantee success is to over-prepare for your pitch. At Bootstrappers, we discussed a few techniques to make sure your pitch is pitch perfect.

  • Narrow your message - You should be able to explain exactly what your product or service is in just a few sentences. Be concise and focus on the core components of your pitch, like what your product or service is, the value it brings, and the audience you are trying to reach.
  • Know your audience - Tailor your message to the needs of who you are pitching to. Do your research ahead of time and be prepared for the types of questions that they might ask. Sometimes when you say you can work with anyone, you cast the loosest message.
  • Record yourself giving the pitch - For some, the thought of listening to yourself through a recording may be anxiety-inducing, but it’s a highly effective and helpful technique. When playing back your recorded speech, listen for mistakes and possible holes in the content. If you find yourself bored, your audience will most likely have a similar reaction. Assess your deliver style and make it interesting!

Don’t stand in the way of your own success

At the March Bootstrappers, we met the founder and CEO of an early-stage software business. He outsources his dev talent to a team in India. They’ve built new features but nothing has been deployed in over a year. Why? He’s fearful that pushing the release may cause bugs or certain features to break, therefore affecting his client’s business.

We diagnosed his challenges as a group and determined it to be a two-part problem. First, we encouraged him to look into the quality of his talent as well as switching to agile methodologies and continuous delivery, a software engineering approach which ensures software changes can be released to production in a safe, quick, and sustainable way. The development team should be taking the lead on releases - that’s what they are paid to do! Secondly, we discussed the “fear of success” and how it holds people back from trying new things, taking risks, and reaching goals. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you can’t be too risk-averse. Put your product out there, start selling, and constantly reiterate. Part of the philosophy at the Bootstrappers is peer accountability and support, so we challenged our friend to push his release by the next breakfast (which is May 1st). We’ll have to wait and see if he will live up to the challenge!

Validate product ideas through user research

Another challenge that was sparked by the previous conversation was validating the demand for new features through user research. Conduct user interviews or focus groups to discover user’s wants, needs, and experiences to gain a deeper understanding of their behaviors and the “why” behind what they do. Usability testing is another effective way to evaluate a product or feature by testing it on its users.


We discussed this and much more at the March Bootstrappers Mastermind Breakfast. If you’re based in the greater-Philadelphia area, we have a very special Philly Tech Week edition of Bootstrappers with guest speaker, Joe Cotellese, product management expert and founder of Sharey (and we will be celebrating our 6th year in Philly!) We’ve also excited to announce we’re back in NYC! Our upcoming meetup is April 20th. Come join entrepreneurs who eat problems for breakfast.


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Darby is an experienced marketing professional who has worked for entrepreneurial companies as a product, growth, and digital marketer. She has background in creating high-impact digital marketing campaigns, producing Go-To-Market launch plans and sales enablement materials, building brands and awareness, and creating SEO-focused content marketing. As a Trajectify team member, she gets to satisfy her love of writing and storytelling by bringing you content such as this!