Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bootstrapping by the numbers

I've been thinking about ways to put real cost numbers to doing low cost start ups.

In truth, there are almost as many kinds of start ups as there are enterprises out there.

A 'low cost' franchise start up can cost many tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and still represent the low end of that spectrum.

A 'low cost' high tech start up can cost millions.

So I circle back to this concept of the citizen entrepreneur that I wrote about earlier this summer. I've been looking for representative numbers that are accurate and also that can give hope to my peers that self enterprise is not only open to the rest of us, but available in ways that are startlingly inexpensive.

A good reference came in from an unexpected source this summer. Guy Kawasaki (linked on the right and mentioned often lately in these posts), one of the leading high tech venture capitalists in the world today, started a new company of his own.

I was anxious to read about all the high tech financing machinations somebody with his experience would be able to muster. I expected the inside details of dealing with his fellow Silicon Valley moguls would be a great look under the hood at that expensive start up world.


June 03, 2007
By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09

A really cool, international start up for about $12K. And a big share of that is expenses you and I wouldn't have to incur. Mr. Kawasaki is a big time venture capitalist and attracts a lot of attention, so he needed to defend his company digitally and legally. That contributed about $8K to his start up cost.

I want to use this start up example as a true to life, in the trenches, publicly validated example of how you can start up inexpensively.

I've done my own start up this summer for under $2K, but I, like Mr. Kawasaki, know how to do many of the steps myself. I have also started successful companies out of a loose change jar in the past.

Do I subscribe to all his thoughts 100%? I think you have to read everything carefully. Sure, Guy starts out saying he had zero business plans, but at the end he also acknowledges that he had 24 years of skinning his knees and banging his head in this subject prior to launch.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful post from Guy Kawasaki and I think you can use it to stir up not only hope, but reality as you design your own new enterprise.

Go get 'em, friend.

Guy's bootstrapping post

Guy's Truemors site

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