Here is what I learnt running a bootstrapped business
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Skcript is the reality of my dream. We’ve built some products that many have dreamt of, and we’ve built products that are better than the others. When we started Skcript, there’s nothing I knew of other than to just open up the laptop and work. But as years passed by, I’ve learnt some things which are important at any point of a company’s lifetime. I would like to share them with you now, and make it as short as possible. Write to me if you need explanations for each of the following pointers.
I run a bootstrapped company, and some pointers might vary for those who’re funded.
- Sign up for this for the long-term — NEVER think of selling a business. Exiting should not be an option. Be in it for the long-term, and not for the money alone.
- Set your company structure right — Decide where your company’s HQ should be, how you want to handle money, and how you would like to Bill your customers. Work hard on this.
- Put your heart and soul into defining the vision — Write down your vision for the company. Write down where you want the company to be 10 years from now, five years from now, and 5 months from now. It works. That’s how you will push through things.
- Your team is EVERYTHING — You can’t do it all. Admit it, and build a strong team as fast as you can. Tell them about your vision for your company. Keep reminding them.
- Paper before Code — Sit with your team, write things down, draw, scribble, strike out things before you even buy a computer for your team. You will know what to build, why to build it, and you’ll make every penny count.
- Opinions? Listen, Decide and Do — There will be a million trillion opinions about why your product/business might fail. Patiently listen to each and every one of it. Try to answer all the hard questions. Stay Confident. Go on, and do what you dreamt of.
- Business is Business — People from your team might leave for various reasons. Respect what they contributed, don’t take things personally. It hurts (initially), but then, understand their situation, and wave a goodbye with a smile to them.
- Reduce hooks — During the early stages of your business, you’ll have lock-ins with people/customer, who has a huge impact in running your business. Stabilise, and do what’s right for your 10 year vision.
- Don’t believe in failures — There’s no such thing called failure. You ONLY learn. You will never fail. You’ll fall, but you’re not dead either.
- Define Culture — DO NOT weigh team’s culture on the amount of money you spend for their Spa. Weigh it based on the impact you have on their lives. Closed the first sale? Split the profit with your team.
- You can’t change the world all at once — Drop the belief that you can change the world. You can only influence the things that you wanted to change with your business. The world does not run on only one kind of business. Aim for the number of people’s lives you want to have an impact on.
- Your work comes first before events — Focused work comes first. Attend events ONLY when there’s absolutely nothing you’re supposed to do at your office. Even then, spend as much time as possible with your team. Talk to them.
- Treat Women equally — NEVER consider a women as someone below what a man can achieve. You’ll fail. (Skcript has 50% women programmers and 50% men).
- Your team MUST have a designer — She/He will define the rest of your company’s roadmap. Designers are the most powerful people in your core team. Respect them. Argue with them. Do what’s best for the product.
- You’re not always right — Go to a dark room, bring your ego out, stab it to death, walk out and listen to people. You’re not always right.
I’ve restricted myself to writing the 15 most important things I personally learnt when running Skcript. Some of the points (the first few) are something which I learnt by doing mistakes. Some points, I truly believe, and I saw companies go down because they did those wrong.
Here’s to everything you’ll accomplish! 👍