After many years, Sarah Gray is stepping back from month-to-month operations of the Chicago’s Bootstrappers Breakfast meeting. Bootstrappers Breakfast was founded on the premise that entrepreneurs achieve significant learning by sharing their experience with peers. She has embodied this pursuit of knowledge and reinforced our peer learning community. We will miss her. Moving forward we are looking for a new primary moderator and additional ways we can come together to work, mobilize, share, learn, and achieve together.
We wish everyone a fun and safe Halloween.
“Solvency First, Consistency Second, Growth Third
If you don’t have enough money to survive you die. It’s simple logic that most founders understand all too well. One of my mentors, who I respect tremendously, would always side with my argument that we need to do professional services to survive as a bootstrapped startup, and it was true. It wasn’t what we wanted to do – but it was, and still is, necessary. Most early-stage investors will sell you the story that you need to focus on your product and iterate until you get traction in a large market and never get distracted on product execution. I would argue that depending on your financial situation – you should focus on what I like to call ‘Minimum Viable Cashflow (MVC)’. Once you determine what the MVC is for both you and your team, work towards achieving that by whatever means you can. Consistency allows for predictability and the more predictable your business (‘X inputs results in Y outputs’) the faster you’ll grow.”
Rob Saric (@RobSaric) in “Startups Are Hard“
We often talk about the “Work/Work” balance at Bootstrapper Breakfasts: you have to do work that keeps the team together and the lights on as you also work on product development and the primary new business you are building. Defining the minimum viable cashflow allows you to calculate the amount of freelance, consulting, or other “day job” work you need to put in to keep moving forward.
As a startup founder, there’s no bigger challenge than how to acquire customers. Paul DeJoe shares his detailed, step-by-step process on how to get customers for your business.
This interactive, step-by-step guide isn’t some high level courseware or general sales tips; but a comprehensive, real-world process for implementing a successful customer acquisition strategy.
See full details here
Interested in learning more about the process of creating a new product, design, or company? Then check out Design Thinking Action Lab, a free online class from Stanford’s VLab
- 5 weeks long
- 5 hrs a week commitment
- Watch lectures online
- Collaborate with a virtual team of 3-6 students
- Network with other students both local and global on the class forum and platforms
- First assignment is due Monday 29th at midnight.
- Upon completion of the course, students will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor
- WRITING an e-book. Even if there aren’t a ton of initial, direct readers, being “published” can have multiple secondary benefits: lends credibility, can lead to speaking engagements…
- Ning.com was recommended as a tool for building community sites.
- A couple of tips for freelance consultants:
- It’s important to have a deliverable that you can package and sell. For instance, if you’re a cook, have some pre-packaged service, like, “I can make breakfast for 20 people for $400, which will include all ingredients, labor, and dishes.” It doesn’t have to include ingredients– your client might have to pay for that– but your marketing of yourself has to be more concrete than “I can cook”.
- Consultants can offer an outside perspective to prospective companies.
- For startups, two sites recommended in discussion were VentureSHOT– a Chicago collaboration community– and Fundology– in one attendee’s words– a “Linkedin for the investment community”.
- On the topic of developing innovation/branching out your own services, attendees voiced several options, including: contracting an “entrepreneur-in-residence”, setting aside 1 day/wk for your own staff to spend on ideas/ventures other than their usual, or creating a new team in your office just for entrepreneurship/innovation.
- When courting investors for your startup, you need to be able to present a financial plan. They’re investing, not donating– they want a return on their money. They’ll want to know what your plan is for making money and generating a profit. You need to go into that discussion well-armed.
Ramesh Sambasivan is the co-founder and board member at iTradeFair.com, Inc. a software-as-a-service enhancing enterprise exhibition experiences since 1999. He considers himself a life-long student of business, strategy, and of design as a medium for positive change. He is active in startup circles in Philadelphia and Tampa and enjoys coordinating and mentoring at a local CoderDojo, a free program to help kids learn about coding. He helped launch the Tampa Bay Area Bootstrappers Breakfast and is nurturing its growth to serve the burgeoning startup scene in Tampa.
The San Francisco group listed a few reasons, they were in a startup:
- Build something you owe
- Change the world
- Build things
- Impact lives
- Creative expression
Add your reason ….