Today I am introducing some key attributes I found while doing light research on bootstrapping on websites Investopedia, Business Dictionary and Entrepreneur.
Bootstrapping gives the owner(s) autonomy and eight main features that perhaps other companies or lines of work wouldn’t offer. They are an increase in control over the business and all its aspects, keeping reins on the culture of the company, more avenues to experiment with products, services or organizational behavior of employees, increase in weight of decision making, more intimate and better understanding of relationship building within the employees and for customers and vendors, an increase in understanding the market, customer and overall brand and pivoting to roll with what the market dictates and a decrease in financial risk in certain aspects.
Of these, they offer the founder(s) responsibility, flexibility and control over the service they are perfecting and with limited stakeholders involved bootstrapping shortens the communication pipeline and decreases the response time.
By decreasing communication avenues and the response time to customers, this contributes to closing sales faster. The caveat is that with a young bootstrapped business there may be more effort in persuading potential buyers and growing a customer audience. If a veteran bootstrapper has a steady customer loyalty coupled with a quick response time that could be one of the important reasons for a loyal fan base.
Having control is a basic human desire. It can be as basic as controlling what you eat and wear or more complex as to owning a business. When bootstrapping, control offers a clear grasp and understanding of what the business is doing and where it is headed. Control is the probably the main feature for deciding to bootstrap and will be discussed more in-depth later on.
The culture of a company and its offerings for employees in areas that include support, development, training is an increasing trend that won’t probably dissipate any time soon. Company culture is important to an efficient and effective and happy workforce no matter how big or small personnel size is. The dictum for changing the company culture cannot just be a company reorganization. If there is no buy-in and obvious enthusiasm and leadership from the most senior executive and management then the attempt is futile. (I have seen this first hand and it is debilitating for those that are young, excited and welcome change with open arms.) Being in control of the company culture is necessary for any bootstrapper to invest be it directly or appointing someone to be in charge of it and backing it 100 percent by following the rules, encouraging employees and holding all personnel accountable for pushing for change and innovation.
Choosing to bootstrap instead of going to outside investors offers more wiggle room to experiment. There is relatively no hierarchy or many people to confer with about changing up something in the supply chain. Experimentation will benefit employees and their benefits, customers and the product/service.
As a bootstrapper, the individual will be able to make decisions akin to what they know about the market and customers. Since bootstrapping offers the bootstrapper to be more in tune with these relationships, this in turn provides an easier decision to be reached. Many constituents will not need to be consulted, that is stakeholders and shareholders. Instead decision-making can provide a quick response time about for fruitful opportunities and messaging.
Building relationships is an integral part to building a business. Within the business it breaks down silos and spurs collaboration, innovation and an open and honest working environment. In terms of customers, building relationships with them and vendors will only help the business succeed and give a front-line view of what is happening and how the business is viewed by outsiders.
A better understanding of the changing market helps provide a better grasp of the steady change of trend and what people need. This understanding also allows for one to pivot more easily by staying aware of the changes and interests of the economy.
As a business bootstrapper, building a brand is important for longevity and profit. Understanding and even anticipating what customer want by their behavior will help any bootstrapper stay on the forefront of the business needs and springboard the business into another tier of success, engagement or funding round.
This feature of bootstrapping may come as a surprise, but there aspects to bootstrapping that allow a “strapper” to be financially in control to avoid risk. By operating as a lean machine, the “strapper” has a handle on finances using only what they set aside personally or have from their revenue margin. This management of finances allows them to be effective and efficient in all of the above features and get nifty when it comes to vendor collaborations, outside partnerships and freelance work. The bootstrapper is not going to just through spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks, instead the approach and product development will deliberate, but more on this soon.
These features of bootstrapping can provide freedom, creativity and bliss to people looking to take the reins of their professional and even personal lives. I will go into more detail in the following days about each of these features and how they can provide business freedom for those looking to steer their own boat.