Here are my notes from the Tuesday July 19 Bootstrapper Breakfast in Sunnyvale.

Bootstrapper Breakfast notes from Tue-Jul-19

The elevator to success is out of order; you will have to take the stairs.Q: I don’t want to be one of those people who is constantly having to hustle for business.
A: The elevator to success is out of order; you will have to take the stairs. (with apologies to Joe Girard).

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It’s OK to commit to an evaluation or exploration period of a few months in a new business: give yourself enough time to talk to 30 or 40 prospects and see if you can close some business before a deeper commitment, but don’t ask yourself every morning–or even every Monday morning–if you are on the right track. It will burn you out. Two other ways to look at this:

  • You can’t brake when your car is in the air. Once you place your bets and they spin the wheel you have to wait to see the results.
  • Once you plant your seed you have to water them and give them time, you cannot dig them up to see if they have sprouted or you will kill them.

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Before investing in automating a task make sure you can sell the result several times. It’s not useful to get good at something you can only sell infrequently.

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One way to think about market exploration is to look at the problem from your prospect’s perspective: how would they look for your product or service. Who do you find when you look at it that way?

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Excellent trademark search engine available on www.uspto.gov

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E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber is a good book for bootstrappers, it identifies three key roles or functions in a company

  • technician or expert who develops and refines a practice that constitutes a core competency of the business
  • manager who manages and orchestrates the set of practices needed for the business to succeed
  • entrepreneur who understands how to find opportunities for the business and scale it

See also “Entrepreneurial Focus: Right Layer, Right Problem, Right Time

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Just like the iron triangle of projects:

  • on budget,
  • on time,
  • good quality

you get to pick any two. There is the iron triangle of business models

  • fun,
  • educational,
  • lucrative

you can only pick two. Be careful of picking fun and educational because what you then have is a hobby: pick boring or grinding over losing money.

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Photo Credit: On Startups “The Elevator to Success Is Out of Order