One narrative we hear a lot as African Americans is “pick yourself up by the boot straps and be prosperous because anyone can do it.” There are some slight derivatives of that notion but there is a lot of truth too. We have to remind ourselves that we are self empowered to do just about anything we want to, even in our given climate. Is that naive? Within reason, no. First and foremost, we have to recognize our deterrents to success and work around that.

Here is where the art of the boot strap comes in. It is no hidden mystery that African Americans and other minorities don’t always have the same opportunities that our racial majorities do but that does not mean we can’t operate in the realm of what we have available. If you can establish how to self make yourself, you can self grow, self market, and self prosper. Don’t be afraid to go it alone because everyone willing to sign up for your team may not necessarily want the best for your business.

Boot and Strap: A lunch time barbecue business.

With a visit to Sam’s Club and a nice social network via Instagram and Facebook, a business like this can take off very quickly. First, you would need to research the limitations for a home based restaurant in your area as you don’t want to operate illegally and have health code violations that would send you to bankruptcy court on a suit. Most districts have some guideline to adhere by so make sure you know what is allowed in your area.

Overhead costs are low in this instance and you can control your market. For instance, you can allot for 50 plates a day with 1 menu a day so you can build your costs around definite numbers. You have the benefit of planning in this sense because you know your costs are pretty solid from the beginning. Next, create that buzz and that need to act fast with your allotments. People will jump to buy good food when they know it could potentially run out. Voila! You have a home based restaurant that you started by tacking on a few things to your grocery bill. Just make sure the food is actually good, you provide quality customer service, and you should grow quickly.

You just self-funded, bootstrapped your own business. Funneling profits back into the business to maybe grow your plates, quit your day job, or save for a food truck would be likely next steps but you have successfully started a business without investors. Just you and your product. It’s quite possible and not as hard as many think.

A Key Factor to Success of a Bootstrapped Business

Mentorship. Find someone you can trust to provide insight on what you are doing. They don’t have to be in the same industry but they should know business and how businesses operate. A neighboring industry is best but someone outside the industry may have prospective that those close to it do not. That person may be your customer and has experience with your target customer. Ask people what they think or how to proceed or to taste test your food. Use the network you have readily available to assist you in your growth. Sometimes, the person mentoring you doesn’t even know it and that makes for organic knowledge to help you get to the next step.

Grow your vision FIRST with the right boot and strap. You’ll be proud of yourself for it.