Interlude: The born bootstrapper ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

boostrapping.jpgI am not a born bootstrapper, let me make that clear from the start. I just like titles that include words starting with the same letter (is there a term for that?).

Bootstrapping is, in my own definition, "the ability to generate growth on minimal financial resources." I was first going to call it "the ability to survive on minimal resources," however that would make most of the third world bootstrapping-geniuses.

No, it's when entrepreneurs have an idea that they want to grow into a commercial business, and since finding funding is difficult and less preferable for some, they do so with minimal financial means, perhaps while maintaining another source of income and by generating organic growth—revenues derived from within the company. In sociology, there is a concept called bricolage, which means more or less the same.

What makes a born bootstrapper, or rather a good one? I think it requires three qualities:

  • The first is certainly the ability to live cheaply, and I'll refer you to one of Jeremy's post where he makes the point quite eloquently. The ability to live without luxury, eating at discounters, buying second-hand furniture (or dragging it off the street), living in cheaper areas, and, most importantly, to delay paying the bills, are certainly key-components here. As is, making resource-choices for your business. Easy to do when you work in software, less so in physical businesses, though inventory is fun to play around with.

  • The second quality is time-management. You need to generate growth within your company and pay the rent, so you have to make choices. You have to find alternative revenue-streams, perhaps get another job, and work on your business during your free time. It requires you to set some clear priorities, skip the weekly cinema-visit or the time spent with your loved ones.

  • The third and final quality, is to be goal-orientated. You could place that under time-management, perhaps, but where bootstrapping is most likely to fail is when motivation drops. You need to keep your eye on the ball at all times; the priority for a bootstrapper is to grow the business, not keep a stable job, and you need to see the light at the end of a tunnel and keep going until you reach it.

Anything I missed?

The picture is courtesy of


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