One of the Small Town Rules is to spend your brain power before spending dollars. Be creative about how you handle challenges rather than to throw money at the problem.
Venture capital vs. Bootstrapped
We’ve all heard about startups that have been funded by whatever venture capitalist or angel that has just dropped a truck load of money on them, so they’re just throwing money at every single challenge that comes up. They burn through all that money without doing the creative thinking.
The opposite of that is bootstrapping. Startups funded only by their founders are more likely to say, “I’m going to do it on all my own money, and I’ll figure out how to make it work. Because it’s my money, I’ll make it go as far as I can.”
The free solution
The example I like to share is from my liquor store. When my mom took over the store back in the 1990s, she started carrying a lot more wine than the previous owner had. She needed a place to store the extra wine in the backroom on its side to keep the corks moist and preserve the quality of the wines.
Mom didn’t have any of the specialized wine racking that was available for sale. That costs money. This was for the backroom, so appearances weren’t important. It just had to work. My mom was not about to spend money she didn’t have to.
She dug around and found old bookshelves she already had. Then she took the divided cardboard boxes wine was shipped in, put them on their sides on the bookshelves, and made wine shelves for the back room. It cost her nothing to do that. We were still using those cardboard boxes on shelves 20 years later. We hadn’t spent money on commercial shelving, and it worked just fine.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.