How Bootstrapping Can Teach You to Be a Better Entrepreneur
Several days ago I received an email as a response to one of my latest articles Top 20 Frankfurt Startups To Watch in 2015. In the message, the founder of the company TripleCheck, which was number one in the list, redirected me to his blog post where he expressed his opinion on this matter. Here is what he wrote, “Quite an honor and surprise, we got appointed with this distinction despite the fact the we don’t see ourselves so much as a startup, but rather as a plain company worried about getting to the next month and growing with its own resources.”
Honestly speaking, his post made me think for a while about my initial days when I decided to launch my magazine and “bootstrap my way to success”. At first, I hesitated a little bit, since it was a journey into the unknown – I have never run any project on my own and didn’t have a solid background in the industry I have chosen. So, as a result, I had to learn on the go and master many skills, such as launching websites, running CMS, networking, selling, marketing, writing and promoting the content, connecting with professionals in my industry, etc. And I must admit that bootstrapping is never easy, especially when you have to start on a shoestring budget and learn how to grow your project using available resources. But it totally justifies itself.
Believe it or not, bootstrapping, like no other thing, teaches you to be a really good entrepreneur. It is some sort of a test before you get involved in a really big game (scaling business and raising funds from investors) or a “trial period” before all premium options are open for you. Not only it will present a good opportunity to test your assumptions/ideas before you make a serious investment in your project, it will also push you to be more flexible and creative. What’s more, bootstrapping allows you to maintain a full control over your project (including vision and direction) – it is a privilege that most venture backed projects can’t afford.
And the most important lesson that bootstrapping teaches us is to learn to make the most of resources available. “Going lean” pushes us to spend our resources (including financial) more wisely and invest them into the stuff that really matters, that will help us keep going.
Contrary to the popular belief, especially in a startup world, that you need to rush to raise money from investors, bootstrapping can be quite a smart way to go, especially in the early stage. Therefore, it is advisable to keep running a project using your own resources for as long as it is possible. For instance, for some entrepreneurs it would mean to acquire their paying customers early, for others - work on some side projects and invest money earned in their main project.
As the founder of TripleCheck wrote further in his blog post, “Looking back, things are much better off today than a year ago. Our schedule is busy at 150% of client allocation and we managed to survive through plain normal consulting, finally moving to product sales this year with a good market reception so far.”
By means of bootstrapping, TripleCheck managed to grow its team and expand its client base which allows the team to keep moving forward and build plans for future growth. “It is not easy, this is not your dream story and we don't know what will happen next year. What I know is that we are pushed to learn more and grow. That kind of experience has a value of its own”, writes founder.
by Natalie Myhalnytska
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