There are all kinds of things that can be done to start or grow your business by "bootstrapping".
First, a little background. In addition to being a start-up business owner (twice, and both successes) and starting up a third, I am a board member for a very interesting "bootstrapping" entity called an Enterprise Facilitation Project. This is a group of interested individuals in a geographic region that have banded together to . . . . . (ready, its a toughy) . . . . . facilitate enterprises! We`re on the other side of the start-up process, we want to grow our local economic base, want to see new businesses established and therefore, exist to help individuals that may want to start a business, but don`t have the resources, contacts, skills, knowlege or even the conviction or confidence, on how to proceed (Sounds a little like . . .um . . . Startup Nation?!)
There are several of these around the country and the world and more are coming on-line every month. I belong to the North Texas Enterprise Project which serves Fannin County, Texas and the city of Muenster, Texas. As a group, we don`t have money for lending or investing, but we have created a super-referral pool of resources that someone wanting to start a business in our geographic area can tap. If you are fortunate enough to have one operating in your area, get in touch with the facilitator. This will be an invaluable resource because they will have a pre-built network of local people and businesses that exists for the sole purpose of helping you get your business going.
I bring all this up to point out the fact that a lot of times when someone is looking for "angel investors" or money, what they are really needing is the resources the money can obtain. By getting creative, running your networks, creating networks, etc. you can often find the resources without requiring the immediate funds. That in a nutshell is what we are doing to grow our own businesses in the county. Instead of just chasing the "big" businesses and trying to get them to relocate, we are encouraging our own people to create more businesses for the area.
If anyone has questions about this, please don`t hesitate to ask me. I`m a big believer of 1) Free enterprise and 2) You get what you give.