Guest Post: Bootstrapping on Steroids- Build an Internet, Technology or Software Company for Zero Dollars Part 1

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Alex Genadinik
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This is the beginning of a 3 part series, courtesy of Alex Genadinik.

Introducing: Guest blogger and fellow Tweep Alex. Alex has a background in software engineering and is currently focused on building semantic systems for the business world. He is the founder of Semantic Valley, a web 3.0 start-up specializing in creating taxonomy and ontology based products. Their alpha-stage demo of a semantic search of shoes can be seen at MilderWilder.com.  Say hello on Twitter too! @genadinik

There is a glut of overly optimistic blogs and articles giving advice and encouragement on entrepreneurship, innovation and fearlessness in the face of risk.

This can be quite misleading due to its authors’ success bias because they are the tiny percentage of people who have succeeded and are given a voice; among the infinitely many more people who have failed and whose stories are not widely read.

Unfortunately, chances are against most of us who try. The goal of this article is to offer suggestions on how to build a company and give it a chance to stand on its feet, while spending nothing more than the legal fee to register as a company. Hopefully it will afford you more time to try to build your company well.

What You Can Expect

During the bootstrapping stage the following milestones have to be accomplished in order to ensure the company is able to survive moving forward:

– A small but solid team has to be gelled and chugging along
• An early version of the product has to be put on the market
• Figure out a way to earn a little bit of revenue in the early stages
• The product has to be gaining some traction

The more of the above a company can accomplish, the better. We’ll dive right in, and go through the necessary steps, pitfalls and considerations.

The Beginning: The Value of the Original Idea

You probably had a little laugh at the title of this section. If you are interested in what I have to say about the value of the original idea, it is possible you are new to this. Many first-time entrepreneurs and dreamers live in the hopes of a “million-dollar idea.” In reality, no idea is even remotely close to being that valuable. Only years of top-notch execution, continuous innovation, and very hard work will create value.

First Steps in Executing the Original Idea

No matter your previous background, there are some common pitfalls. Engineers tend to overdo and business people tend to over-plan; not because they are incompetent, but rather because they are hard workers who do what they can before the other parts of the business come along. This is often crippling to the company.

The worst thing I hear business people say is “I am not very technical….” If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, that is understood. Just find a partner who is technical, communicates well, and in whose professionalism you can trust. They will get you up to speed to a level where you need to be.

Engineers tend to jump in and do-do-do. But without a clear vision and direction, they often run themselves in circles over-building unnecessary or overly-complicated features. For their part, engineers might say something similar to “…I don’t understand business.” I myself have been guilty of such a quote.

If I could go back in time, I’d advise myself to listen and learn as much and as fast as I can. After a short while, the business environment becomes second nature, fun and fascinating…

If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for Part 2 in this 3 Part series by Alex Genadinik A.K.A. @genadinik

Warm regards,

Cori Padgett

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