We bootstrapped to a $100M+ acquisition without venture capital. Here’s how. 🧵
1️⃣ Do the unscalable Little things yield big advantages. The personal phone call. The personalized note and customer service. Getting on Zoom with an influencer. Scaled businesses can’t embrace the human side of startups like you can. Lean in. The more unscalable, the better.
2️⃣ Leverage authenticity Authenticity is your fastest path to forging brand devotion. Luckily, you have it in excess. Your story, your character, your VIBE. Everyone roots for the underdog. Take your customers behind the scenes. Don’t be afraid of the messy.
3️⃣ Embrace profitability If you can’t pay the bills, either the business or your lifestyle will self-destruct. Focus on the fundamentals, and run a cash flow positive business—it will be scalable, durable, and result in higher valuations later. Have a budget, have a plan.
4️⃣ Follow your intuition Bootstrappers watch risk-laden competitors raise big $$$ and follow playbooks to scale. Block out the noise, and channel your intuition. The more your brand thinks different, the more you act different—and the more you stand out. Manifest originality.
5️⃣ Build a community Early adopters want to root for you—so give them a place to do it. And provide them incentive to do so. Reward them with education, access, and support. Involve them in decisions. Celebrate them. Above all, unify them. Create a clarion call.
6️⃣ Rapidly iterate on customer feedback While corporates slog, you can launch updates overnight, and engage customers for direct feedback. The more you do, the more loyal they’ll be. And the better your product gets. It’s more than a flywheel—it’s a roadmap.
7️⃣ Ask for help, and build a network You’re under-networked, but supporters WILL go out of their way to elevate you. Even the ones that can’t help immediately will remember you—and years down the line, those relationships will pay off in spades. Be relentless, and patient.
8️⃣ Don’t stress the competition Copying others is the fast path to irrelevancy. No one bets on a knock-off. If you want to pay attention to competitors, pay attention to what they DON’T do—and fill the void they leave. When you pattern match, you fail.
9️⃣ Ladder up to opportunities Every success is proof that you’re ready for the next big opportunity. No one jumps from rung one to rung ten on the ladder. Collect proof at every step—this gives you license to scale. Maintain a growth mentality.
🔟 Be relentless, get up every day Bootstrapping is a mindset. It starts out every morning with ask yourself: “How can I get one win today?” Your progress will compound by the day, and after countless pivots, you WILL overcome. Play the long game, and play to win.
Thx for reading. If you liked this thread, follow along @chriscantino to learn more about growing startups and community.