I have said this eons ago. If your business needs to bleed money like a waterfall and rely ONLY on investors dumping mountains of cash on you to survive, your venture is doomed, especially today.
The recent months or years, with crises and conflicts around the world, the global economy is in the pits, and it will get worse. Once the “darling” of investors of any tenure or type, where such investors would literally drown any tech venture with money, those days are sanely over.
Now we are seeing what once retail and institutional investors were glossing over as “unicorns”, facing various degrees of existential threats. And I do believe that is a good thing. NO business can survive for the long haul on borrowed money, and no business or individual should be rewarded for unsustainable ventures.
Boostrap is agile
And if you cannot bootstrap from day one to day omega, you are also not fit for survival, or fit for bad times.
I started in a corner of a retail shop, hiding behind retail shelves, with only a cheap Mac portable, and an alternative laser printer from an unknown maker, to start a design firm, which ultimately became the consulting firm we are today, 31 years and running. Unlike other creative and communication agencies in the 1990s, we did not spend on grand offices, expensive and high-end computers, or hire without consideration.
For any business, if you cannot bootstrap from day one, and then bootstrap anywhere along your business tenure ready and agile for any downturn of the #economy, then you got a BIG problem.
5 tips for smart bootstrapping
What are some tips for bootstrapping?
1) Keep agile
There is no shame in keeping your company right-sized. Don’t hire and fire as it is bad for staff morale, and bad for #reputation and #branding. There is already a #talent crunch worldwide.
2) Don’t borrow
If you can, stay away from borrowing money to get your venture off the ground. It is the same as buying a house or a consumer product. If you need credit to get something, especially in today’s world of crises and conflicts, maybe you are not ready.
3) Flexible hiring
After the COVID saga, we are now ready to hire remotely and that IS the norm. There is nothing wrong with hiring a web designer, a coder, a writer, or anyone who works on a computer, from anywhere in the world. This makes hiring a little more complex, but we can scale according to our needs. Look at the world, and not just at our little corner.
Don’t just try to build all in-house, or do everything in your own business. Build partnerships and networks, and cede things others do better to them. You can save money, and still get things done. Look globally. Nurture new friendships.
Just as Rome was not built in a day, don’ rush! A successful and long-lasting venture NEEDS TIME. Give it time. Smell the roses. Eat, be merry, keep sane.
Call a spade a spade
Think harder if you are starting a venture, as most ventures fail within a year. If you are merely a “me too”, or a solution looking for a problem, or just an “app” (or worse, a website), you haven’t got a real venture. Don’t call your venture a “digital business” if there is nothing digital other than a “sign-in app” or a website, for an otherwise bricks-and-mortar venture. Think harder and THEN launch a venture.
Seamus Phan has 35 years of professional experience. Polymath Problem-Solver & Strategist – Leadership, Cybersecurity, Branding, Crisis, Scientist, Artist, Author, Aviation, and Theologian. Some articles are reproduced at McGallen & Bolden, where he is CTO and Head of Content. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2023.