Tag Archives: small business

Bootstrapping Raising (Money) Capital Techniques

Bootstrapping Raising (Money) Capital Techniques

Alternative Entrepreneur Capitalization (Raising Money) Methods

Bootstrapping is important for new and small businesses. Among other things, on average, many companies develop and flourished through the use of bootstrapping without access to long-term external financing, over a five-year period (Winborg, 2009). Bootstrapping is a form of raising capital (money) for the business. Many studies demonstrated the important role played by bootstrapping (Brush, N.M., Gatewood, Greene, & Hart, 2006). A large percentage of the businesses examined used bootstrapping to secure resources. These companies had reduced dependency on external financiers for capital. The positive influence of bootstrapping was demonstrated by profitability from the use of some kinds of bootstrapping methods (Patel & Sohl, 2007).

Access to capital continues to be tight. In a third quarter survey of lenders (Phoenix Management Services, 2012), the majority of lenders identified uncertainty as their chief concern regarding future economic growth. Less optimism was shown for opportunities of their borrowers, indicating a slight pullback in their own customer growth expectations and a reduction in new capital investments and hiring expectations.  Respondents were asked whether they plan to tighten or maintain their loan structures i.e., collateral requirements, guarantees, advance rates, and loan covenants. Accordingly, in each of the four loan structures, 82 percent of lenders anticipate maintaining their loan structures in their in the near-term, which showed a slight shift towards tightening loan standards.  For the entrepreneur, use of bootstrapping techniques will continue to play an important role in funding operations.

Bootstrapping can be grouped into three types.

  1. Cost-Reducing
  2. Capital (Money)-Constrained
  3. Risk-Reducing

Ten tested and widely used bootstrapping techniques (Sherman, 2005) include:

  1. As an entrepreneur, save personal costs by wearing multiple hats in managing the business.
  2. Equipment and furniture does not have to be new, acquire or lease used assets in operating the business. Also be cognizant not the over pay for service warranties.
  3. Use a large company to lower costs by sharing office space or subleasing. Try of get access to conference rooms, reception services, and office equipment such as copy machine, etc.
  4. For short-term working capital, apply for several credit cards at once and use the unused credit limit as an operating line of credit.
  5. For inexpensive human resources, utilized the services of retire executives that desire to stay busy and remain “in the game” as mentors. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Service Core of Retired Executive Program (SCORE) is a great source for such experienced executives. Additionally, hire students that are willing to sacrifice salary to gain experience that can enhance their future. Go to: http://www.score.org/
  6. Maintain excellent customer relations with key customers to encourage them to pay early.
  7. For maximum flexibility and cost controls, commit only to short-term obligations and leases.
  8. As a means of fulfilling a contract, have your major customers acquire the equipment needed to meet the contract and lease the equipment.
  9. Depending on state and federal securities laws, use the company’s shares in lieu of cash with your vendors (i.e., suppliers, landlord, etc.) and professionals (i.e., lawyers, accountants, specialists). Keep in mind the dilution ratio you will be giving up and remember put forth a stock buyback terms.  The company’s shares are illiquid.  Offer them a means to “harvest” their investment with you. Think of the Sam Walton former executives and office employees became multimillionaire with the start up of Walmart.
  10. To acquire and gain access to key products and services utilize commercial barter exchanges.

Entrepreneurs have an explicit motive for using bootstrapping techniques. The deliberate choice of using bootstrapping strategies can be seen in proactive ways from reduce risks, restricting expenses, and funding business activities. Such techniques allow for business opportunities without the need to own a sizable resource base and without the need to source external financing. These methods minimize the need for cash by obtaining resources at little or no cost. Additionally, the use of resources can be acquired without the need for bank financing. Overall, entrepreneurs can utilize their social contacts to obtain free access to specific resources.

 References

Brush, C., N.M., C., Gatewood, E., Greene, P., & Hart, M. (2006). The use of bootstrapping by women entrepreneurs in positioning for growth. Venture Capital , 8, pp. 15-18.

Patel, P. F., & Sohl, J. (2007). Bootstrapping to buffer a venture’s core commercialization processes. Academy of Management Conference. Philadelphia.

Phoenix Management Services. (2012). Lending Climate in America 3rd Quarter 2012. Chadds Ford: Phoenix Management Services.

Sherman, A. J. (2005). Raising Capital (Vol. 2). New York: American Management Association.

Winborg, J. (2009, January). Use of financial bootstrapping in new businesses: a question of last resort? Venture Capital , 11 (1), pp. 71–83.

 

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Bootstrapping: “The art of learning to do more with less.”

Bootstrapping, the Purest form of Entrepreneurship

Bootstrapping…bootstrapping…bootstrapping, it can be said that the purest form of entrepreneurship is bootstrapping.  During the prelaunch phase of a company and at times when access to business capital is difficult, bootstrapping is the way to go. To compete with existing businesses entrepreneurial firms face two major disadvantages: the burden of smallness and the disadvantage of newness. The reality means that the majority of start-up businesses and small businesses lack available resources to effectively compete (Winborg, 2009). Access to capital is a major issue for entrepreneurs. InexperienceBootstrapping, The Purest form of Entrepreneurship of many entrepreneurs has made it extremely difficult to obtain debt and equity when lack of a track record, reputation, or collateral for loans exists.  Starting with personal savings, followed by funding through family and friends, have been the main sources of finance for the vast majority of entrepreneurs. Engaging in “bootstrapping activities” is the way to go in operating the business.

Do not be discouraged with the thought of bootstrapping. There exist many great American bootstrapping success stories. A snippet include (Sherman, 2005):

Apple Computer. In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold a Hewlett-Packard programmable calculator and a Volkswagen van to raise $1,350. Through bootstrapping, the partners built the first Apple I personal computer in Job’s garage.

Hewlett-Packard Co.  Starting with $538 in 1938, Hewlett-Packards first client was fellow bootstrapper Walt Disney, who required sound equipment for the production of Fantasia in 1940.

Microsoft Company. With is high school sidekick (Paul Allan) and dropping out of Harvard University, Bill Gates moved into an Albuquerque hotel room in 1975 to start the company and write the programming language for the first commercially available microcomputer.

Nike Inc. William Bowerman and Philip Knight in the early 1960s sold imported Japanese sneakers from the trunk of a station wagon with startup costs of $1,000.

Lillian Vernon Corp. With her brainstorming idea of selling monogrammed purses and belts through the mail, Lillian Vernon established a mail-order company in 1951.  As a recent bride and four months pregnant, Lillian needed to earn extra money to support her new family. Society in the 1950s dictated that she stay at home for the duration of the pregnancy. A home-based business was her answer.  Lillian took $2,000 that her husband and she received as wedding gifts and designed a bag and belt set targeted at high school girls.  She manufactured the set through her father’s leather goods company. Than placing a $495, one-six-of-a-page ad in the September 1951 issue of magazine Seventeen the company generated $32,000 in orders by the end of the year.

The use of bootstrapping requires imaginative and parsimonious strategies for marshaling and controlling necessary resources. Think of bootstrapping from two perspectives:

1.    Raising money without the use of banks or investors.
2.    Gaining access to resources without the need for money.

First, entrepreneurs can raise money through the use of personal credit cards, cross-subsidizing from other businesses owned or through employment, reducing the time for invoicing seeking advanced payments and loans from friends and family. Entrepreneurs can hire temporary employees, share premises and/or employees with other entities, share or borrow the use of equipment, and obtain emotional support, skills, and knowledge from friends and family.

A key question that should be asked, “Do I need it or want it?”  In the event the entrepreneur needs a resource, try to use a bootstrapping technique to get it. If the entrepreneur wants a resource, defer the purchase. Preservation of cash is important.  This means controlling cost too.

Based on the writing of Oswald Jones and Dilani Jayawarna (2010) some bootstrapping techniques include:

•    Customer related

  • Receive payments in advance
  • Obtain advance payments
  • Increase invoicing
  • Select customers that pay on time

•    Delay payment

  • Negotiate payment conditions
  • Barter for goods and services
  • Lease rather than purchase

•    Owner related

  • Change salary payment period from weekly to bi-monthly
  • Use personal credit cards
  • Cross-subsidize with other businesses or employment
  • Fund through friends and family

•    Joint use

  • Borrow equipment from other companies
  • Use temperate employees or contractors
  • Share equipment, premises and employees

Simply put, bootstrapping is “entrepreneurship in its purest form” (Salimath & Jone, 2011). Overcoming resource constraints enables business operations to continue with the aid of external financial resources. Bootstrapping transforms human capital into financial capital also known as sweat equity that converts into bankable equity. It is about creating value that includes the idea of “meeting the need for resources without depending on long-term financing (debt or equity).  Bootstrapping is the strategy of necessity for entrepreneurs and not of choice.

For entrepreneurs that want to learn how to raising money for their business, push to following button:

or go to http://GaryRushin.com to sign up for a free video training course. The course is offered for free for a limited time. Sign up Now!!

Sources:

Jones, O., & Jayanwarna, D. (2010). Resourcing new businesses: social networks, bootstrapping and firm performance. Venture Capital , 12 (2), 127-157.
Salimath, M. S., & Jone, R. J. (2011). Scientific entrepreneurial management: bricolage, bootstrapping, and the quest for efficiencies (Vol. 17). Orange, CA: Journal of Business & Management.
Sherman, A. J. (2005). Raising Capital (Vol. 2). New York, NY: AMCOM, 2. 30-33.
Winborg, J. (2009). Use of financial bootstrapping in new businesses: A question of last resort? Venture Capital, 11 (1), 71-83.

 

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Strategy: Is War Strategy and Business Strategy Similar?

In business as in war, a company can be small and win or can be large but lose. The rules of success or failure depends on key variables:

  • Understand to read the business landscape and act strategically
  • Understand time to attack or defend
  • Understand time to enter the field of battle or withdraw
  • Understand in what ways to isolate, outflank or even encircle the competition
The War Strategists

A pictorial of war strategists (military and business) including Winston Churchill, Carl von Clausewitz, George Patton, Sun Tzu, Peter Drucker, Napoleon, Steve Jobs, Michael Porter, and Norman Schwarzkopf.

The Debate—Similar or Dissimilar

A debate exists as to whether business strategy and war strategy are equivalent. The attraction of applying strategic, operational and tactical strategies of war to business is similar. Many principles and tools of war strategies can be applied to assist those in the business world. Some view business and war strategies differently and come up with a new view of how they can be applied.

One dissimilarity with business is that, within the context of past military planning and doctrine, there tended to be, generally, only one enemy and the purpose of the planning activity is to fashion the conditions for a specific, decisive act to bring defeat to the enemy. However, the nature of current warfare has transformed vastly from the days of state-to-state positional warfare and two well-defined enemies fighting within distinct geographic theaters of conflict.

For more than seventy years, war planners have been dealing with asymmetric warfare, fourth generation warfare, low intensity conflict, nonstate actors participating in various wars and skirmishes. As in business, rarely do we deal with a single enemy or a single decisive battle to end a conflict and bring about the defeat or surrender of the single enemy. The Iraq and Afghan wars of conflict are examples of this assessment.

Current Warfare Strategy

In Iraq, the US military and its allies were fighting Iraq’s the Sunni Arab community upon their toppling of Saddam Hussein’s brutal Baathist regime and subsequently these same Iraqi Arab Sunnis allied themselves with US forces to extract from communities the menace and plague of Al Qaeda. Both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, US military forces were fighting alongside of, and supporting, the national security forces of these two nations while the next minute they are combating them directly and indirectly while fighting the Taliban, fragments of Al-Qaeda and different Jihadist combatants.

Accordingly, current warfare strategy, as we know it today, and business strategy have begun to converge with more remarkable similarities than differences. In business, the competitive landscape is generally complex and dynamic. Strategy and tactical interplay are vital in business. Similarly in warfare, the multitude of different stakeholders must be considered. In Afghanistan, the US military must, at the same time, plan and manage relationships encompassing Pakistanis, the Iranians, the Russians and several Afghan clans. Some times they are treated as friends and sometimes as foes. This complex relationship is also trues in business. Look at Apple Computer and Samsung. Both are fighting in the battlefield of the courts over intellectual property rights and at the same time cooperating and collaborating on other projects.

The competition is more vague and often operates over an ill-defined territory. Consequently, modern warfare is more about politics and community action than purely military engagement and its goal is to wear down the various forces working against your army and render them ineffective and unwilling to continue fighting rather than totally eliminating them. An example is Coca Cola versus Pepsi. Both companies have waged a very expensive conflict, however none have the intention of totally destroy the opponent.

Types of Warfare

In large part, warfare strategy, at a tactical level, fosters “kill, capture, destroy” asuch of the military opponent’s capabilities as fast as possible while protecting current forces. In business strategy, parallel tactics are called upon. Types of warfare include:

Limited War—a military example is the US versus the Nicaragua Sandinistas whereas the US used overwhelming superiority to defeat. A business example is Microsoft versus smaller software producers in the 1980s and 1990s. Microsoft used patent trolling techniques and it market dominance to block competition.

Counter-Insurgency (COIN)—a military example is the US versus the Taliban. Although decisive victory probably cannot be achieved within the normal mode of warfare, a COIN strategy use the divide and rule tactic that bifurcates the existing power structure and prevent smaller power groups from linking up. The strategy is designed to fracture the connections between insurgency and the population thus weakening the enemy. A business example is the US versus Microsoft for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Microsoft used its WINTEL dominance to crush its competition during the browser wars with Netscape’s Navigator and Opera Software’s Opera browsers. By bundling its Internet Explore web browser into its operating systems (O/S), making it difficult to download competing browsers into the Window O/S, and forming restrictive licensing agreements with its original equipment manufacturers, Microsoft prevented smaller companies effectively from competing or gaining any traction.

Total War—a military example is the Soviet Union versus Nazi Germany. Typically a high intensity conflict of balanced opponents, such wars tend to be a victory at any price, even if truce would be advantageous for both parties during a stage of the war. An example is two of Germany’s most well known brands Volkswagen and Porsche and reclusive industrial families, the Porsches and the Piechs; both belong to the same family line. This resulted in the 2008 majority takeover by Porsche of Volkswagen. The typical strategy is total exhausting of the opponent similar to war.

Conclusion

Correspondingly, purpose of much of the best of current business strategy is to transform the rules of the game in favor of the business. Creating unique market niches based on the first move advantage, and discovering a unique technology as well as product, and process innovation can grab an unquestionable market share based on a combination of these factors that competitors simply cannot weaken. Accordingly, warfare, whether business or military, becomes a series of battles whereby the cleverest “wins”, but where victory is more about the superiority at what you do rather than total dominance leading to a wholesale decimation of the company’s competition.

Strategic Business Warfare Tactics Series:

This it is first of a blog series on business warfare strategies. The series will discuss various war tactics that can be used as competitive strategies for family businesses, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and business executive to thrive in both good and tough market conditions. Sign up at http://garyrushin.com to follow the series.

 

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