Business Bootstrapping

Guy Kawasaki reinforces ideas about starting up companies and reminds people about the basics in The Art of Bootstrapping. The post can be seen as a good summary of important suggestions made in business literature.

Forecasting from the bottom up is a little gem of advice that can be taken from the article. It is very tempting to imagine reaching 1% of any large group of people and predicting success based on this daydream. Rather than thinking about reaching a humble percentage of a large target group when planning the business, business founders should focus on objectives that they can accomplish in the short term. This will give them a better handle of projected income and will help determine the company’s feasibility.

To counter highly optimistic visions of success, Kawasaki advices a startup to keep a lean team. Keeping a small team will diminish idle time for workers and minimize the need for layoffs. Many researchers have reported higher levels of productivity with smaller groups. Growing a team necessitates the company to feed more mouths. So, it is best to wait on the hiring frenzy until funding is available and additional workers are really needed.

Kawasaki’s sixth point is too focused. This point suggests that startups not purchase the most expensive products for business use. His example uses chairs. Businesses do not need to purchase one high-end business chair when they can purchase four comfortable and functional chairs at the same price. The same can be said about computing devices. Whether or not this suggestion can be applied to products that a company is developing is uncertain. Releasing a product with innovative functionality and without great form might allow the competition to match the innovation and polish the presentation of that functionality with the resources that are available to them. Great form was a crucial part of Apple’s success in the already established portable music player market. Great form might be a necessary for widespread adoption of the starting company’s product.

The degree that the product should be polished is determined by the company’s judgement of “good enough.” Kawasaki’s third suggestion encourages the product’s release when it is a little less than perfect. Customers will have feedback to provide, and implementing features based on customer feedback instead of implementing potentially useful features that will not be used is a sound strategy for startups.

Perhaps, the important factor of successfully launching a business is people. Starting a company requires its people to have a lot of trust and guarded optimism. Meeting and surpassing the needs of its people after the company has stabilized will prepare the company to achieve next level.

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