I attended the event Bootstrapping Your Startup held by Stockholm Entrepreneurs with moderator Peter Fosso and panelists Fritjof Andersson (RelationDesk.com), Therése Gedda (30minMBA) and Andreas Andersson (DMG Education), all founders and CEO’s. 

Bootstrapping refers to a self-starting process that is supposed to proceed without external input (making it without VC’s or angel investors). The phrase ”pull oneself up by one’s bootstrap” is meant to be an impossible task, but as shown and discussed by the panelists – it is fully possible. But that might mean eating noodles and becoming a vegetarian to stretch the dollars.

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Their tips on managing a company with bootstrapping and getting people on board are as follows;

Use free tools! Free tools for creating, storing, and communicating is key as there is no need to spend money on things that are just as good when free of charge. Examples of these are Slack, AudioSauna, Wrike, Basecamp, Buffer, Grammarly, Google docs and Dropbox.

Where are you going to make a difference? Decide what you are going to do yourself and decide what you are going to outsource – make a difference where your strength is and acquire the help needed. Don’t fall into the trap of working as everybody else does, the office is where and when you are creative. Work around equally creative and motivated people, and create a culture that are alined with your values. http://guerillaoffice.com/ scouts inspiring and practical locations, creating temporary offices for entrepreneurs and creative workers. Anyones is welcome to join and there are no fees.

Wasting time and money! The number one thing is – make sure it is worth the investment of time and money. MVP and A/B testing with feedback is crucial to see that you have a demand. Another important lesson is to do things properly from the beginning and implementing that mindset to the rest of the team. Put in that extra time and effort.
When not focused on what you are creating, and listening to other peoples comments about ”how it should be done” you start wasting time and money. Stay focused, prioritize towards you set goals and gamle on the resources you might need. Spending your time going in the right direction leads to managing costs and limited resources sparks creativity and creates smart, small cost solutions.

Getting other to eat noodles with you! Choose the right people, because it will be a long marriage. Bonuses and motivation is not correlated, so find out what is. Salaries, internships, freedom at work, gym cards, growing and learning, being appreciated and having fun are factors to consider. We all need money for food and a roof over our heads, but that might come from another income, so find out what is needed and try to provide that.

Unicorns! Something that is taboo right now is saying that you don’t want to create a unicorn. Not wanting that is not wanting to be a part of Silicon Valley, not wanting to be an intopreneur, not wanting to be anything (harshly said).

You be what you want to be. Meditate and reflect what makes you want to run a startup, and from that build a profitable company and don’t force a unicorn. 

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