There’s never been a better time to act on your “big idea”. And this manifesto will show you how.
While not the same thing, Bootstrapping and Lean Startups are quite complementary. Both cover techniques for building low-burn startups by eliminating waste through the maximization of existing resources first before expending effort on the acquisition of new or external resources.
While bootstrapping provides a strategic roadmap for achieving sustainability through customer funding (i.e. charging customers), lean startups provide a more tactical approach to achieving those goals through validated learning from customers.
In its early days, Southwest Airlines had to sell one of their planes or face bankruptcy. When most people get hit with a constraint of limited resources like this one, they either fall victim to the constraint and revise their ambition downwards, or they confront the constraint head-on and look for ways to brute-force it.
Southwest Airlines could have similarly fallen victim by accepting downsizing or they could have confronted the constraint head-on by knocking on many more investor doors. Instead, they chose to do something very different.
They found a way for achieving their goal of keeping their existing routes with three planes instead of four planes. They did this, not by brute-forcing, but embracing their constraint.
Read on to learn how.
A basic tenet of running lean is validating a product or feature ideally without having to building it first. The first battle isn’t fought on the ground but in the mind of the customer. It isn’t fought with your built out solution but instead with an offer.
Inspired by the short lecture by Kurt Vonnegut on “the simple shapes of stories”, I thought it would be fun to sketch a few shapes of what starting up looks like.
Startups that succeed are those that manage to find a plan that works before running out of resources. While not the most valuable resource, money is like oxygen to your startup – too little and it dies, too much and it can explode. The key is setting yourself up with enough runway to make it through the “humps of iteration”.