The Silicon Valley business model has permeated the entrepreneurial culture in recent years: have an idea, pitch the idea, get big investment, build and sell the product. Especially in the production and tech industries, it’s become a prevalent method of building a business. And I can’t knock that method; I’m not the one who got someone to give me a million bucks to build something.
I can only tell you of my preferred method: The ol’ bootstrap.
There’s three reasons I love the bootstrapping concept:
- I’ve seen the aftermath of borrowing – the pain and frustration, the stress and emotion that comes when things go sour. No interest in that
- There’s something about making something from nothing; actually creating something, not just building it
- The end result -product, service, or organization- is an outflow of all the blood, sweat, and tears it took to build it; it changes the result into something more human, something that represents hard work, something that the creator can say “look, I built this,” not “Keven O’Leary gave me money and told me how to make this work”
Because of all of this, I have a fond affection for the Minimum Viable Product model, particularly if it’s a side business (or some other project you aren’t ready to commit to). My brother and I have worked sporadically on our LaunchCaptain idea for over two years and are still in MVP stage, because our end goal will take upwards of six figures to build out (that, and we’ve had a time commitment challenge with needing to pay bills and date and different things). Has it hurt anything? Nope. We’re still at the beginning stages, yes; but because that aligns with our personal goals, it’s better than having tens of thousands to pay back.
Some of the best bootstrapping advice I’ve heard talks about getting your customers to fund your project. If you can get someone to pay you for the first one just to make sure it gets built, you can then make the second one, and a third one, and that’s a business.
To borrow a little phrase I heard a while back, “If you don’t run out of money, no one can tell you what to do.”
Have you bootstrapped a company? Or got investment? Drop a comment below and tell us how it went!