The Bootstrap Diaries – Part 1.

There are just days when you have to go it alone.  For those who don’t know I’m bootstrapping a company from scratch.  I thought it might be a good idea to chip in some blog posts along the now that I can talk about some of these things.Since my last job finished at the end of June I’ve been wondering the best way to take things forward.  Ask anyone who really knows me and I can have a list of ideas that are ready to be coded.  The most interesting thing for me is that this is first start up where I’ve been asking a lot of opinion of the product I’m doing (it’s still in stealth, there’s only a chosen few who know).  So here we go, the bold pointed things to keep in mind.Writing it down on a one pager – It’s vitally important to write down on one page what your product is going to do, who the target market(s) are and what the total size of the market is.  From there you’ve got focus and what you think it’s all worth.  Ignore this step at your peril.Blag, steal, borrow and blag again – If you design, get a good back end coder.  If you code then get a designer.  This also goes for business advice.  Some of the people I hold in high regard are willing to chip in and keep me on the right path.  Finally, don’t forget a polite thank you goes a long way.  Crap code is fine – Product first, coding refactoring later.  There’s no point going over the finer detail of SCRUM or Agile methods if it’s not generating revenue. Market share or revenue? – In the initial stages it’s all about generating revenue (especially if you are a service company).  If you’re hellbent on creating a brand or a world changing-everyone-has-to-have-this iPhone app then market share is your aim.What time do you realistically have? – If you are already working then it’s extra hours. I know some that are up at 5am and work through ’til 9am. I know some who do the late shift.  There are times I do both and within time I suffer for it.  Also, if you have family they will only put up with your Branson like enthusiasm for so long.Learn to do a basic cash flow forecast – Yeah it’s boring but I bet if I asked you now you wouldn’t have a notion what your costs are for the next 12 months.  A simple spreadsheet is fine.  There are a loads of good cashflow templates out there on the internet.Get an advisory board of people you trust – Ultra important this one.  I have three people that I bounce stuff off in various parts of the world.  I also have a number of industry contacts who I bounce ideas off.  I have one friend who I can just cyberly puke on when I’m having a bad day (and they with me if needed).  Don’t over do the networking while you are developing the idea – Any networking event the obvious question is, “what do you do?”.  When you are just about to beta test fair enough.  From day dot without a single jot of code, forget it.  You could be using your time on better things.  One thing I’ve noticed over the last five months is that there are an awful lot of people who can talk the talk but when you really press them…. you pretty much know it will come to nothing.Some of the above I actually covered in my talk at Barcamp Derry in October but they still ring true whatever the time of year.

One response to “The Bootstrap Diaries – Part 1.”

  1. Great stuff, Jase. More please! Especially want to hear more about your aircraft leasing adventure unless you’ve already covered it in your blog. I’ll have a look at the archives. What about a goat-leasing business? 😉

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