Bootstrapping vs investor money

June 5, 2020
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Investor money is a big temptation. Bootstrapping is hard. It has its advantages but you may appreciate them only later.

One of the perks is that you need to focus on paying customers. This is a very good driver for finding the real pain points and tuning in to the actual customer needs.

Hard pressure makes diamonds and these gems might be the insights and product decisions that are the foundation of your company later on.

The struggle is real. Having a bit more money makes life easier. A bit more team members, a bit more time to focus on other things than doing your admin at night.

The stress shifts from immediate survival to performance pressure when you take some investor money. Now, you’re not just with your founders in the company anymore. It’s a joint venture with other people who have invested in you and they have a say on your future decisions.

External funding is a category type of issue. It’s just a matter of degree when you have external investors on board but when you don’t you have still more opportunity liquidity in the direction you’re going with your company.

Some decisions have very long-term consequences and therefore they should be considered carefully. Buying out investors is hard or at least costly if you change our mind later. Divorces are seldom pretty even in the business setting.

There are no right or wrong answers but experience tend to make some entrepreneurs shying away from institutional funding if they can. They know there are no free lunches and sometimes compromises may break your spirit and motivation.

VCs and entrepreneurs seldom have perfect alignment in their objectives. This is just the nature of the beast and comes from the different business models and their stipulations.

Make sure you genuinely understand what you’re getting yourself involved with. We tend to appreciate something only when we don’t have it anymore (e.g. think freedom in terms of decision-making).

Maybe selling to customers is not such a bad thing after all? Revenues are a pretty sweet deal in many ways. Long live bootstrapping.

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