Saturday, June 30, 2007

Why bootstrap your business? So when is bootstraping not a good idea?

There is just too much to say about the topic and I have been warned about being too verbose with lengthily postings so this is a 3 posting series. Following is the third and last posting:

So when is bootstraping not a good idea? Almost never!

However … there are times that injection of external funding is crucial to the delivery of value and no revenues can be generated unless significant investments are made. In these cases the bootstrappong duration may be shortened but not eliminated.

When things are not in your control or costs are very high:

1- You are in the pharma or medical devices business and an FDA approval is needed before you can sell – these ventures usually involve significant upfront research and multiple scientists , require expensive lab equipment and need to have trial results from hundreds to thousands of people. In this cases the SBIR and other grants are critical and should not be overlooked – not only they are non-dilutive, they help provide credibility – building university and commercialization partners are also critical.

2- Chip design – regardless of the simplicity of semiconductor chip ventures, the need for working with fabs and uncontrollable time periods between testing cycles is a killer – every time you make a revision in design you have to wait for 4 to 12 weeks for a turn around – the wait is expensive. These ventures almost always need a lot more money – in these cases the market must be very very large and the innovation very very novel for the investors to engage early – SBIR grants are also often feasible.

3- Situations where the time to revenue is a function of “mass traction” – these would include social networking and some internet projects – this group of ventures will benefit significantly in terms of valuation and funding chances if they can show traffic traction – the novelty in these type of projects is slowly wearing off and targeting and niche play is becoming paramount. A word of advice do not worry bou technology scalability – worry about getting traffic first.

And here are a few against the grain comments on the topic!

Although some are believers in the first to market argument – I am not one of them. If your value proposition is solid, you can be the second to market and win - often is the second mice that gets the cheese. We need significant money now or we will lose market share is an argument against the strength of the value proposition!

I am also not a believer in “we are losing customers” argument either – if your value proposition is compelling converting an opportunity into a sales should be the focus. Customers are your best source of cash (surprise) and they are non-dilutive.

And that is one man’s opinion.


Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

Anonymous said...

My goal is to set up my very own activity since there aren't any nice jobs to be found.

Could any one provide any hints or online resources as to how to apply for government grant money to start my personal business? I've been looking on the web but every single website demands for money and I have already been told by the unemployment office to avoid the sites that want money for grant info as they are scam. I would be really grateful for any assistance.