Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
Secrets of a successful Bootstrapper
Use the resources that are at your disposal - Often we do not even realise all of the resources that are available to us. If you dig down hard, you would find that there are plenty of things that are available for free or at a cost that is almost close to nothing. If you are enterprising enough and constantly on a look out, you would definitely find it.
There area a variety of examples depending on the nature of business that you are looking to setup. Like your aunt’s garage that is not used at all. Your cousin’s soldering iron that he no longer uses. A vehicle in the family that is not used during the day or during the night. It is not the most convenient way to do things but it saves much needed capital in the early stages.
Use your home as office as long as possible - Any space of any sort will always come with some sort of obligation/cost along with it. It is important to make sure that you do not get enveloped in obligations initially. In India, especially, parents never charge their children for the house and the best solution is to use the house as the work base as long as possible. Teams are generally small, and they can fit into one room.
Try to reduce expenses on anything and everything - If you can get some favours out of certain people or get certain things sponsored, do so shamelessly. The favours can start from something as simple as a cup of coffee to hitching a ride to some place, to staying are someone’s house when travelling to a city for work. Initially these expenses can drain you slowly and steadily, it might seem unimportant but every rupee saved is a rupee more that you have to invest on yourself.
Don’t try too hard to get the perfect people - Once you start the development of a product or service, try to get as many good people as possible to work with you without blowing up too much cash. Ideally get people who are young and hungry to work and excel. If you wait to long seeking the perfect candidate, you might loose your window of opportunity. If you are making money the perfect candidates will seek you out, even if they don’t, it would be a lot easier to recruit them.
Don’t wait to perfect your product, good enough would do - A lot of the times teams spend just too much time trying to perfect the product before they send it out into the market. No matter how much you perfect a product there is always going to be something that would kick up. That is why companies launch beta versions. Once the product/ service is good enough ship it! You can go about doing the fine tuning as you progress.
Make sure that cash flow begins - If you are bootstrapping, there is no points for making the most popular product or service, which does not generate any cash. Figure out your revenue model and get the money rolling in. That does not mean that you are profitable, it just means that you have your cash flows to bank on and not all of the operational costs has to poured into the business.
Focus on forecasting the smaller part - Figure out the lowest common denominator of your revenue model. Who is going to pay you, how much and for what? One of the biggest mistakes that most startups make is looking at the size of the industry and trying to project 1% of it and so on. It rarely adds up like that. Go bottom up.