Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 18th 2014 Contents o venture capital, no angel
investor, no problem. Start-
ups can combine business
fundamentals with new dig-
ital technology facilities to
bootstrap their business.
The Silicon Valley model is often touted as
the gold standard for the modern startup.
However, the assumptions that underlie the
US startup scene seldom apply to emerging
In regions like Latin American and the
Caribbean, access to investment capital, avail-
able human resource skills, intellectual prop-
erty protections and even basic business start-
up facilitation can be debilitating obstacles
for entrepreneurs and their startup ambitions.
Setting up your team with the right talent,
getting your admin and infrastructure systems
right from the first day and transforming your
ideas into intellectual property all speak loudly
to investors that you and your startup have
what it takes to succeed.
To successfully bootstrap a company, it s
important to consider a few things:
Talent and connectivity first,
Success for any startup is highly dependent
on the talent that is secured to take it from
idea to enterprise. Avoid unnecessary expenses,
such as office overhead, unnecessary gadgets
or other frills. Free up cash to secure the best
talent and connectivity build your product or
Setting up virtual teams can allow you to
tap into a global resource pool. Investing in
the right broadband connectivity and cloud-
based collaboration tools can provide extremely
cost-effective means for managing distributed
Use freelance consultants provide your with
niche talent on demand. Build and keep a
solid list of trusted and intelligent freelancers
for services like administrative and other non-
core services. Focus your cash-spend on hiring
the best staff needed for success.
Balance engineering with
Whether you are building a new widget,
or cool new app, startups need savvy engineers
to come up with innovative designs and to
actually build it into products and services.
At the same tim, market success depends on
being able to understand market needs and
how best to reach desired target audiences.
Having these two competencies working in
sync is critical for any startup.
Using professional-focused social media
sites, like LinkedIn and SpiceWorks, can help
you easily identify and secure key talent for
Right from the start
If you hope to instill confidence in the sta-
bility and legitimacy of your business, don t
cut corners. Employees, investors, suppliers
and customers all need to know the business
and its leadership are stable and legit, so do
everything by the book.
Once they get involved, investors will want
to see paperwork, including up to date financial
reports from the start. Nailing down your
administrative systems should be a priority
from day one.
Secure a reputable accountant and proper
accounting software to ensure that your start-
up records are in order. Insist on a disciplined
approach to record keeping, procurement and
Consider Web-based administrative and
reporting systems to ensure that you have
access to your information whenever you need
Focus on pleasing customers
When you don t have a lot of money, the
best source of funding is one that rarely tol-
erates mistakes: your customers.
Focus your efforts on designing a product,
app or service that customers want, will enjoy,
or find useful. Do this and you give your start-
up a much better chance at success than
someone and likely attract investors, instead
of having to hunt them down.
Invest in your online presence, as this is a
key channel for customers and investors to
find out about you and your startup.
Use social media tools like Facebook and
Twitter to engage your audiences and promote
your business value.
Protect your property
Your great idea can quickly transform in
contention, heartache and expense if you don t
take the steps to secure it. Put priority to
legally protecting your intellectual assets and
closing loopholes that could allow someone
to steal your intellectual property or contest
Whenever you speak to potential partners,
developers or investors, use non-disclosure
and confidentiality agreements. Additionally,
take the time to copyright any designs, pro-
totypes, mockups, trade names and even
processes. You won t regret it.
Enjoy the ride, it is important to stay
focused on what s needed to keep moving
from one growth stage to the next. Get it
right and eventually, the process will likely
bring you to the attention of investors
willing to help you take your startup to the
next level. In the meanwhile, work hard to
perfect your product, please your
customers and build your business.
C B , C
B F ,
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 2014 • WEEK THREE
Bootstrapping your business
5 tips for securing your startup
A scenario in which an entrepre-
neur starts or sustains a company
with little capital or without exter-
nal input. Entrepreneurs are said to
be "boot-strapping" when they at-
tempt to found and develop a com-
pany from personal finances or
from the operating revenues of the
Compared to using venture capi-
tal, boot-strapping can be beneficial
as the entrepreneur is able to main-
tain control over all decisions.
On the downside, however, this
form of financing may place unnec-
essary financial risk on the entre-
preneur. Furthermore, boot
strapping may not provide enough
investment for the company to be-
come successful at a reasonable
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