Original post by DIANE KENNEDY via D&B
The most powerful way to build your business is without a loan or investors. The money you make will all be yours, unencumbered by debt, or the need to share with other investors.
There is something all-American about building a business all by yourself, from the ground up. So let’s look at 9 great strategies to bootstrap your small business.
Boostrap Idea #1: Get noticed for little or no money.
Small businesses often start with an entrepreneurial urge to do something better than anyone else has ever done it before. In today’s world, though, it’s highly unlikely that the world will beat a pathway to your door, based on something great you’ve done that no one else knows about. You need to let people know you’re around.
Here are some low cost ways to create a buzz about your business. Write articles and offer to post them at websites with visitors who would also like your business. Create a blog. Build a social media platform. Above all else, provide good content through any and all of these channels. That’s how you get noticed, and to develop yourself as an expert.
Bootstrap Idea #2: Take a critical look at each of your products or services. There is no room for dogs in a business that is bootstrapping. Each product must be profitable, and be able to stand on its own merit.
That also means you need to watch your statistics. Have a good accounting system to track what’s working, and what’s not. Your business’s financial statements should never be more than 30 days old. Review these financial statements with your CPA, or virtual CFO (chief financial officer), to see what’s working and what’s not.
Bootstrap Idea #3: Create a sales funnel.
The sales process resembles a funnel. At the top end, the widest part, are the people who are just finding you, checking out their options, considering using your services, or buying your product.
Techmeetups launches the Guru Program to help Startups & early stage companies with mentoring on all aspects of your Business.
Limited spaces are available – book your place on the Guru Program now to attend in London or remotely from anywhere in the world.
September 6, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Mike Butcher via TC
As of yesterday Y Combinator began its marathon series of interviews to decide which startup teams will ultimately go through the – now world-renowned – program. Interviews go on for five days. Rumours that people have been seen running screaming from the building shouting “The Horror!” have not been confirmed. But I’m currently in the Valley catching up with one or two of those European hopefuls trying to get into Paul Graham’s good books – indeed I bumped into one team at San Francisco’s SFO airport. Turns out the YC pitch document I saw being worked on a laptop on the plane over was for Stackblaze. The guys behind it, James Cunningham and Colin Hayhurst, also put together a cute web app full to the brim with the kinds of typically blunt questions you get asked at a YC interview.
You can check it out here, and subject yourself to the same torture as all those YC hopefuls.
Colin tells me he curated them from various YC pages and a big variety of blog posts by past applicants. “James wrote the app in an hour. It runs on StackBlaze, of course!” We gather that Francis Dierick has done a similar iPhone app to practice his own interview.
On the app, you have 15 seconds to respond to each question, and get given pro-tips like, “DO NOT BEAT AROUND THE BUSH” and “Answer like you would in a conversation, this is not a presentation”. Once you’ve answered you hit return and get another question. Fail to answer in 15 seconds and a sad looking Paul Graham will appear telling you you’ve failed…
But to help you brush up for the interview, we’ve downloaded some of the questions the YC grillers will ask. Many, coincidentally, are the kinds of questions the media will ask you about your startup. So not a bad list to brush up on. Here they are below, though as you can tell they are not in an sort of order.
April 28, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Michael del Castillo via portfolio
The creators of Fraggle Rock have got a new project in partnership with mobile education startup VINCI.
Anew partnership between Jim Henson Company and mobile learning startup Rulingnet Corporation, home of the VINCI tablet for preschoolers, will bring some childhood favorites into the hands of youngsters in a whole different way.
The initiative will place Henson’s PBS kids series Sid the Science Kid onto VINCI’s tablet for preschoolers, a sturdy tablet surrounded by a prominent red handle, making the device look something like a fancy steering wheel, and something like a trampoline about ready to catapult the unsuspecting infant across the room.
But it’s not just Sid that will get increased exposure, but the mobile education startup set to expand the show’s reach by hosting community events and providing content for VINCI’s early-learning systems—such as videos of Sid for the upcoming VINCI Kids Library and newly created mobile apps to launch in June of 2012.
March 1, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Willis Wee via PO
It is post-conference week but our team has been continuing with our work on the blog. In the last seven days, we have had a couple of Asian tech startups on our radar, specifically from China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines, India, and Singapore.
For folks who are interested in investing or partnering with these startups, drop us an email — hello[at]penn-olson[dot]com – anytime. No promises, but we’ll try our best to be a bridge.
And if you’re a tech startup based in Asia hoping to be featured, kindly send us your pitch here.
For frequent travelers, getting internet access can be a pain in the arse. It just takes way too much time and effort. Some hotels charge ridiculous sums for internet access and the process of getting a local unlimited 3G SIM card can be pretty daunting (Yes, even in Singapore!). Siva Sai, founder of Jumpsurf has a possible solution for the problem. If you have US$148 to spare, you can grab a Jumpsurf mobile modem, which contains a SIM card that automatically detects user’s location and provides them with the relevant Internet …
Have you ever wanted to have Twitter feeds or customized tabs on your Facebook page? With Tabbang, you now can. This India-based startup has created a suite of applications for small businesses who are having trouble with technical details on Facebook. Hiring a good developer is tough, and often expensive too. In contrast Tabbang, for now, is a free service. To use it, all you have to do is authenticate your Facebook page so Tabbang can provide you with a simple drag and drop creator. Tabbang has a list of interesting …
READ 3 TO 14 HERE
February 16, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by FUELED
The first steps are easy. Brainstorm diligently, think of a clever idea, put together a talented team of people who believe in your idea, and get to work. But then entrepreneurship gets complicated: where can you find the money to turn your idea into reality?
Now, prospective entrepreneurs have several different, intriguing options for funding. As previously discussed on Fueled, new websites, includingKickstarter and FundaGeek, help entrepreneurs get funding from anonymous strangers. Many companies and organizations offer fellowships and grants for the most promising ideas. But, although these new sources of funding are propping up, there remain two primary ways for entrepreneurs to get funding: bootstrapping and venture capital. Which one do you choose?
Bootstrapping: Creative Freedom at High Personal Cost
When entrepreneurs choose to bootstrap, they commit to pursuing their project without external help. Essentially, individuals or teams pool their own money together and find enough to pursue their idea without having to find an external backer and sell a large equity stake in their product. This option intrinsically appeals to many startup teams because there is a certain “go it alone” feel to it that is exhilarating and, if they succeed in creating a commercially viable product, the rewards are huge.
But bootstrapping is often challenging and has important strategic drawbacks. It is challenging for several important reasons: finding enough money is difficult, pooling personal funds can tax individual team members financially, and entrepreneurs often underestimate the amount of money needed to independently pursue their projects. Depending on the idea, startup projects can be particularly expensive and often incur new, unforeseen costs. That is particularly true of technological ideas, which are currently in vogue but require exploratory costs (to pay experts to determine if the idea is feasible) and initial product development costs. Even if a team proves the idea is feasible, they often need to build a working model or prototype to prove that to investors, which can sometimes add thousands of dollars to startup expenses.
There are also strategic challenges to bootstrapping: not all startup groups have product development, marketing, or networking expertise on the team. So, when they choose to go it alone, they are not only risking their own money and the prospect of running out of funds, they may be losing out on the critical resources that angel investor or venture capital backers have and that could prove pivotal to making their ideas a reality.
February 6, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Rayan Tanaka
In Part 1, I talked about my experiences applying the idea of Minimum Viable Products to music, while Part 2 focused more on the human aspects of starting a company or being in a musical group. This section takes a more broader perspective by looking at how musical groups and business models relate to each other in terms of their size. These ideas are not exclusive to perspectives that come out of the “Lean Startup” approach, but musicians who’re interested in entrepreneurship will inevitably run into the phrase scaling, so it’s a concept that’s definitely useful to have under your belt.
In his lectures and presentations, Silicon Valley guru Steve Blank uses a simple chart to explain the evolution of business models:
Startup → Small Business → Large Corporation
Startup companies come up with new and untested ideas, which they then attempt to formulate into a sustainable model to generate value (for society) and revenue (for its employees and investors). Blank argues that the goal of every startup is to discover a business model that shows it has proven value, then “reiterate” the execution of its ideas. The goal of the entrepreneur, in other words, is to move from left to right in the chart above.
All corporations, no matter how large, were at one point a startup company. (Think Bill Gates, who started tinkering with stuff in his garage.) How companies get from small to big is done through the process of scaling, which is a phrase used to describe the process of a company’s successful expansion. Entrepreneurs will spend time researching, testing, experimenting, and developing something according to their personal vision. Once something workable has been “discovered”, however, they will then go heavy into distribution mode: vendors and clients are contacted aggressively, manufacturing and production goes into an all-time high, while their marketing team goes into full-swing in an attempt to get the word out.
February 3, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by Alyssa Gregory via SMALL BUSINESS BONFIRE
Most small business owners I know are bootstrappers. We may not want to be bootstrappers, but we don’t have access to external sources of capital so we have to use what we got. Although it may seem like that puts us at a disadvantage, I think the opposite. Bootstrappers are creative, resourceful and frugal when it counts.
If you’re a bootstrapper, this week’s collection of articles will help you stretch your funds further and possibly even find some new (and smarter) ways to cut costs in your business.
The Right Way to Bootstrap
When you bootstrap, you have to be smart. You can’t just go off willy-nilly and hope things turn out right. That’s why I love this article on Inc.com that shares some very solid rules for bootstrapping that you shouldn’t ignore.
An Art Marketplace on Bootstrap?
If you think only certain types of businesses can bootstrap, think again. This article onEntrepreneur.com shares the story of Sean Broihier who launched Fine Art America, an ecommerce marketplace for works of art, on a bootstrap budget.
February 2, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by dierken via Forbes
A friend and I started Modify Watches last year when I was 28. I had just finished my MBA, and in the past had spent four years with Deloitte Consulting, a management consulting firm. I started in the company’s New York office after finishing my undergraduate studies and moved to London with the firm to specialize in their operations and finance practice. So, the new start-up should be easy, right? I mean, I had an incredible amount of “skills” to go with a graduate degree and worldly experience.
What I have found over the past few years is that we have a huge misperception of what qualifies a useful “skill” for a start-up. You may not have deep finance expertise, be able to design a jet engine, or be an incredible web developer. But if you are reading this article – and showing your curiosity and desire to learn – I bet you have the necessary skills to work in a start-up environment. What skills are necessary to work in a small business? I think that there are three: Hustle, Follow-through and Curiosity.
Hustle – During the past year I estimate that 5% of my time has been dedicated to strategy, 5% has been spent on sales calls and 90% has been focused on everything else. What is in that 90%? Packing boxes for 14,000 watches that we have sold; exchanging over 200 emails per day with customers; working with my team on re-designing our watch not once, but twice; sending watches to non-profits to help with fundraising; remembering to eat while working! With rare exception every day at a start-up requires “fighting fires” – handling issues that have immediate deadlines. To us, “Hustle” does not just mean working really hard (though that is critical). “Hustling” means being industrious and figuring out clever ways to solve problems so that we make our customers happy and improve how we work. Do you like solving problems in a busy environment? Try working in a start-up.
January 31, 2012 | Techmeetups
Original post by LYDIA DISHMAN via FC
Accelerators offer hands-on help from experienced mentors, sources for seed capital, and sometimes even co-working locations, and give entrepreneurs what they need to take a startup from concept to market more quickly and effectively than if they go it alone. Here’s how you can get connected.
It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times–to be a startup, that is. On the plus side, recentresearch from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation indicates that startup companies–particularly high-growth startups–are the most fruitful source of new U.S. jobs and offer the economy’s best hope for recovery. On the other hand, newly minted ideas are fighting a sea of competitors for market share and funding, not to mention navigating Sarbanes-Oxley regulations and the still-cautious consumer spending landscape.
The best bet for aspiring entrepreneurs may just be a hookup. One that has staying power. Accelerators, those forums for getting hands-on help from experienced mentors, sourcing seed capital, and sometimes even providing a co-working location, can provide the resources to take a startup from concept to market a lot quicker than trying to blaze a trail independently.
Joshua Hernandez, a founder of Tap.Me, an in-game advertising platform, writes, “Although I had built three other startups and failed another two, I knew we would need to connect locally if we wanted to survive our business concept. The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) became an immediate forum for us to present our startup, which at the time was quite complex.”
Hernandez just happened to live and work in Chicago. However, there’s still hope for aspiring moguls who aren’t anywhere near startup hotbeds like Silicon Valley. Fast Company talked with Rebeca Hwang, cofounder and CEO of YouNoodle, Inc. and a technology partner to the Startup Malaysia conference, Kevin Willer, the CEO of CEC, and Murat Aktihanoglu, managing director of the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York City. Here’s what they told us about standing out, hooking up, and getting a brand-new business off the ground.
January 19, 2012 | Techmeetups