From Tech Journal South

Bootstrapping 101: Score with free help

By Allan Maurer
October 12, 2009
BOCA RATON, FL – Bootstrapping a company with a minimum of cash can be the answer for entrepreneurs who can’t raise outside cash or don’t want it, says serial entrepreneur Bob Reiss. His new book, “Bootstrapping 101: Tips to Build Your Business With Limited Cash and Free Outside Help” is chock full of practical advice derived from a lifetime of real experience.

Reiss, who has been involved with 16 startup companies, has not only bootstrapped previous companies, he’s doing the same thing with his book. “If I preach it, I should do it,” says Reiss.

The book, told in an easy to read conversational style, offers ideas on how to get free publicity, use the Internet, use outsourcing, act ethically, manage networking, and sales.

Reiss tells TechJournal South entrepreneurs should not be like the driver who is lost but who’s ego won’t allow him to ask for directions.

Get over your fear

Reiss cautions that fear of failure and fear of risk to one’s business are not the same thing. Fear of failure can prevent an entrepreneur from asking for a sale or asking for help.

“If someone turns you down, what have you lost?” asks Reiss. “You have to get over fear of risk to your ego.”

Asking for help is part of that, he notes. “There is a tremendous quantity of high quality help available free,” he says.

His book lists several good sources of free help for entrepreneurs, including the Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Centers, and others. Reiss is most impressed, however, with SCORE.

“I’m not a government guy,” he says, “but I was surprised at the quality of free consulting available from SCORE.”

Advice from experienced execs

SCORE, previously the Service Corps of Retired Executives, is a free non-profit organization now calling itself “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”

SCORE has offices throughout the U.S., with 11,200 volunteer executives and a mission to provide resources and expertise to ensure the success of small businesses.

Like Reiss, SCORE executives have real world experience and a record of success. Reiss says they could improve on one thing: marketing.

“I told them, ‘You guys are doing a great job except for one thing – no one knows about you.’ You have to call them, they won’t call you,” he says. “I wish I had know about SCORE when I was starting…different businesses over my career,” he wrote in his book.

SCORE can be reached via its Web site at www.score.org, which provides 24/7 help to businesses.

For more about the book, which retails for $19.95 and is already being used in business school courses, see: www.bootstrapping101.com.

Read article at Tech Journal South.

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