Lessons funded founders can learn from bootstrapped ones : Storytelling!= Building business.

First of all, this isn’t about being funded VS bootstrapped, rather building a sustainable growth business.

Funded founders of course know the art of storytelling very well, but there are some really great attributes of bootstrapped ones that should serve as an inspiration to the funded ones, especially in a funding environment like this.

A few things funded founders can learn from bootstrapped counterparts ๐Ÿงต

PS: this isn’t about funded vs. bootstrapped – but a few learnings.

1. It’s completely okay to not be in the limelight.

Yes. Do the work. Stay calm. No need to tweet all of your thoughts all the time, no need to celebrate all your wins in public. Keep few things to yourself (and your team/family).

You don’t need to keep looking for validation all the time.

2. Storytelling!= Building business.

Storytelling surely helps set momentum in the early days (especially fundraising), but your customers just don’t care about your stories.

They want to solve their own problem statements. You typically won’t find a lot of bootstrappers telling a lot of stories – they are (always) running out of time to solve for customer’s painpoints. The F word you see ๐Ÿ‘‡

3. Focus is my F word.

For funded startups, the race is to stay on top of mind – esp in investor / influencer segment. There is a desperate need (in some case, rather most) to be always telling stories, always be seen doing the right things. Always sharing how great one’s business is.. et al.

So, a lot of effort goes in socializing activities to winning social media wars (some founders I know even hire agencies to tweet/linkedin in the name of personal branding).

I have a tee for this (if you wanna buy limited edition, just let us know).

4. It takes time.

When you raise a lot of money at crazy valuation, you need to employ 9 women to get the baby out in 1 month.

You asked for it. And you will have to deliver. So you hustle. You take shortcuts. You hide truth (and buy lies).

Truth: Building a meaningful business takes time. A hell of a lot of time.

A reminder ๐Ÿ‘‡

You can’t hurry love. You just have to wait.

Phil Collins

5. Being operationally involved helps

Large teams!= scaled up business.

It’s just max inefficiency (in most cases).

Most funded companies build on inefficiency. And eventually, the leadership is out of touch with the market.

Which is why being involved operationally helps stay in touch with reality and solve real problems (like this dude ๐Ÿ‘‡).

6.. BONUS: Being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap.

An advice applicable to one’s hiring process (remember, crazy salaries that were doled out till 6 months back?) to server architecture to your lovely parties to your expensive office rental to all those billiards tables (and missing balls).

Being frugal means that you care. You care about the opportunity given to you and you want to execute by being the best (rather, optimal) version of yourself (and your team).
Not the expensive version.

As I said earlier, this isn’t being A vs B, but learnings from the counterparts. If you have thoughts, share in the comment or just tweet it out to me (@cnha)