I chatted with a founder today about my experience bootstrapping my company. We discussed the pros and cons of various ways of capitalizing a company and factors to consider. Here are the main takeaways:
- Talent – If you’re going after a big opportunity, you can’t do it by yourself. You need a team. You want to find the best and brightest people you can. These A players usually want to be compensated for their talents. They may accept equity and cash compensation, so you may be able to go a little lower on salary. But you don’t want them looking over their shoulder for the next opportunity. You need ample capital to pay people what they’re worth.
- Runway – When you’re executing a plan, it takes time to see a return on your efforts. You want to give yourself enough breathing room for your hard work to start paying off.
- Strategic thinking – When founders aren’t focused on day-to-day survival, it’s possible for them to think strategically about the business. And founders should be thinking long term about the business—which they can do only if they’re not trying to figure out how to pay this week’s payroll.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to capitalize and grow a company, but these are important considerations for founders. Bootstrapping and raising investor capital are common approaches, but there are others. Pick the one that’s right for you and that sets you up for success.