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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No nonsense how-to-guide with dozens of case studies
The first time I read this book was about six years ago and reading it was extremely validating. My only regret is that I hadn't read it sooner, because it literally maps out exactly what you should do when starting a business. I've built, ran, or been involved in sales of or IPO of half dozen companies and bootstrapped my latest business, raised angel, raised VC, and...
Published 19 months ago by Lifelong Learner

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34 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How much does editing cost?
This is probably the worst edited book I have ever read. Every second page a sentence with a missing verb or something equally important. Then there are the "missing or misplaced quotation marks. Finally, many sentences have a mysterious, comma dropped into them. All this brings reading to a halt as you stop to figure out what the author is trying to say...
Published on January 12, 2006 by Rob from Mill Valley


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No nonsense how-to-guide with dozens of case studies, February 23, 2013
The first time I read this book was about six years ago and reading it was extremely validating. My only regret is that I hadn't read it sooner, because it literally maps out exactly what you should do when starting a business. I've built, ran, or been involved in sales of or IPO of half dozen companies and bootstrapped my latest business, raised angel, raised VC, and then reverted to bootstrapping (came to my senses). After years "in the trenches" I decided to re-read this book as a refresher and I can honestly say as someone who's "been there, done that" it still rings true today.

I had been in business my entire life (family business, then others) and then started my own profitable, work from home, business but yearned to do something more. I stepped out from my comfort zone and had an idea from my enterprise consulting days on a product that would be needed by every business with a website in the future. Instead of calling around to refine the idea, I spent the money from my original profitable business investing in R&D and prototyping and working insane hours for over five months and through the holidays before I ever called a potential customer. I had some remedial demonstrations and then started identifying and pursuing potential customers. My contacts at some very large companies loved the idea but I learned the painful truth outlined in Greg's book - although they loved the idea, I couldn't get anyone to buy it. My discussions ultimately led to a consulting arrangement which brought in some much-needed cash, but I couldn't get the product sold and had to shelve it. Had I read Greg's book and tested my idea first before my investment, things may have been much different, and I could have lasted longer to get through the sales learning curve. Even worse, three years later a company called Ribbit was purchased by the same company I was pitching for over $105 million that offered essentially the same product I invented four years earlier - ouch!

Flush with cash from a 6-figure, 3-month consulting contract, I was able to bootstrap my next idea which was actually my REALTOR's idea while hanging out at his pool that summer. I worked with my local real estate agent to design a product, and gained early customer commitments to buy if I built it, including his, and even gained press before the product was finished. One of the largest real estate firms in the area contacted me after reading the news article and wanted a demonstration. I scrambled to get our product demonstrable and the presentation went horribly, first with too short of cord for my projector and having to borrow theirs, and next with a database field too short to collect the user agent strings of some new cell phones and crashing my app. I literally had to log into the server and reboot mid-demo (same thing happened at my first trade show conference in San Francisco).

I didn't win that customer, but learned some valuable lessons before spending much money, and then completed the product. Shortly after, one of their largest competitors instead bought our service and has been a customer for over 4 years. We continued to listen to customers and stay small, and this allowed us to survive the recession and industry turmoil. Once we landed some larger, multi-year contracts, I raised some capital and it's been a roller coaster ride ever since. I still revisit this book to keep focus on the basics, however, and sometimes still kick myself for not sticking to the basics and letting the allure of venture capital use up valuable time that should be spent selling. If you do that well, you won't have to work nearly as hard "selling" to potential investors - they'll be selling to you.

From the most experienced executive, to the most green would-be entrepreneur, I would recommend you buy this book and read it a couple times. It is designed as a guide with examples and case studies to justify the advice, and easy-to-remember numbered lists of sales practices, myths, etc. Even after several decades of financial management and years of accounting in college, etc. I still find the example cash flows and balance sheets in this book a good refresher without having to dust off my college textbooks. I consider this book my "bootstrapped business degree" as well.

I now own the hard copy and recently downloaded the Kindle copy. The print on the Kindle copy is a little off (at least for me on the Kindle Fire HD) but reducing the font size helped, by the way. I think that's an Amazon thing and may just be my device. Regardless, get this book!
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality read & learning a sustainable business model, February 23, 2013
I picked up this book after hearing Greg speak at a Startup Weekend in Missoula, MT. His book outlines the real life experience and process of starting a business from the ground up without financial backing from VCs or seed funds. My take away was how to create a company that can sustain growth, scale when it needs too, & keep your people engaged. This is a must read for those who think they want to start a business and have a desire to maintain control of the company's direction. Being in the middle of a bootstrapped business myself I was able to take this to heart and implement it on Monday. It provides info on how to sell, stay sane in a startup, and keep moving forward.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for those with no business background - from someone who is "bootstrapping", June 5, 2006
This review is from: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money (Paperback)
After reading a few of the other reviews for this book, I had to leave my own. First of all in response to the complaint about this book not being about "online businesses", this book is about starting a company without any outside investors, no angels, using only your own cash and whatever loan you could squeeze from the bank (otherwise known as "bootstrapping"). This book was not marketed as a book about online businesses so I don't understand where such an expectation could come from. I mean, just read the title. However, many of the examples in the book involve people who have online businesses and I found those examples to be interesting and illustrative of the points that were made in the book.

We come from a background of very little business experience, but a lot of experience with technology. A lot of our business education has been through trial and error. If I had read this book earlier I would have avoided a lot of those errors.

I haven't read Inc a lot or a lot of other business books so I don't know if the information in this book was recycled from those, but that is irrelevant to me. I only care if this book is a good one and in my opinion, it is.

All the other books I have bought on starting and growing a tech business spent too many pages on how to get venture capital, how to find investors, how to please investors, how to solve problems with investors, etc. We have none of those problems. This was the first book that adressed the exact problems that we have had - about 10 problems that have caused us a lot of headache - that we would have avoided if we had read this book earlier. The book offered solutions that I had not thought of but wish I had. From my own experience with the problems that this book warns new business owners about, I think the advice in this book is astute.

So, in conclusion, this book was everything I've been looking for. It is perfect for me because it taught me a lot of things I've needed to know.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Excuses - Just Start Selling, April 29, 2009
This review is from: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money (Paperback)
This is a great book for anyone who has a business or is in the process of starting a business. Lots of sensible advice and helpful examples. My copy came quickly, in perfect shape and was very affordable. I'm now passing it on to other bootstrappers and think of myself as a bootstrapper.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great book, June 30, 2006
This review is from: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money (Paperback)
This book is perfect for the person looking to start a new business. It is an introduction to the concept of bootstraping, not a step by step guide to starting a business. If you need a step by step guide to starting a business, you probably need more help than you can get from a book anyways. After reading this book, I used the concept of bootstrapping to start my own business that would have other wise been out of my reach. The book teaches a thought process outside of the traditional business approach, not only to starting a business, but for running a successful business for years to come. The review about the book not having any applicable information about running an online business, is way off. That guy missed the point of the book, this concept can be applied to any business. I highly recommend this book.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful, February 24, 2013
This book has helped me make several very important business decisions with sales, hiring, interview questions, marketing, press, and cash flow. It is well written and easy to understand. This book has helped me to learn how to make the decisions that make my business more profitable. I highly recommend it to any entrepreneur that is starting a business and does not want to get into debt. Recently I decided it was time to hire my first sales representative. I have 15 years of experience in H.R. and office management but I did not know how to find the right sales person. I went back and re-read the book. The first time I read it I picked up several things that I put to use right away but some of the information did not apply at the time. When I read the book again I obtained twice the tools from the second read. I knew exactly what I was looking for, how to interview them and when the person was hired and started to work how to let them know what I expected. This experience was very POWERFUL! I refer to the book often and each time I do I pick up new tools that have made my business what it is today.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bootstrap to success!, February 24, 2013
By 
Robzarry (Bozeman, Montana United States) - See all my reviews
I was fortunate to join RightNow Technologies in the early days, working with Greg and watching his boostrapping process as the company grew from 20 people when I joined to over 1,100 & acquisition by Oracle.

Bootstrapping forces entrepreneurs to make hard choices about where to invest scarce resources for maximum effect.

If you don't take other people's money, you are not beholden to outside forces whose passion will never be as strong as yours and whose vision & motivation may cause decisions that are not in the best long term interests of the business.

I recommend that every entrepreneur read this book as part of their journey to success.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reminder to put first things first, make sure people will buy the product before building it, April 24, 2008
By 
Henry Cate III (CA. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money (Paperback)
Greg Giantforte has a different take on starting up a business. His advice is not to first build the mousetrap, but to call a bunch of potential customers. If you have an idea for a business Greg's suggestion is to ask people:

"Would they buy a better mousetrap?"
"How would they use the mousetrap?"
"What features do they want in a mousetrap?"
"How much would they pay for the mousetrap?"

By spending a couple weeks doing market research before developing a product you have a much better idea exactly what customers want and what they would pay. If you don't find enough interest you've only lost a couple weeks, instead of months and thousands of dollars developing the mousetrap.

Bootstrapping Your Business: Start And Grow a Successful Company With Almost No Money by Greg Gianforte and Marcus Gibson is a quick read, packed with lots of good ideas.

I have been fascinated by out Paul Graham's thought that cheaper computers means startups are much cheaper. This trend continues to accelerate for example Google recently announced App Engine as a service to reduce operating costs for Web startups.

If you are interested in starting up your own business then check out Bootstrapping Your Business.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read Greg Gianforte's new book now!, November 16, 2005
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This review is from: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money (Paperback)
"Bootstrapping Your Business" is a book that every would be or current entrepreneur must read. It is excellent. It offers practical and common-sense advice, such as "sell the product before you build it". Thus, it forces you to approach your business venture with a laser focus on customer acquisition, first and foremost. It also profiles numerous entrepreneurs in different industries who successfully bootstrapped their business ventures. This is extremely valuable, because you get an opportunity to learn how others succeeded at what you're trying to accomplish. There are alot of books regarding entrepreneurship on the market, but this is at the top of my list.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "CRM & Bootstrapping", November 14, 2005
This review is from: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money (Paperback)
My approach to this book took on two personas one as President of the CRM Association where I am always reading books, articles and whitepapers on Customer Relationship Management trying to distinquish what to offer up to our membership. On the other hand I am an small business owner who just realized that "Bootstrapping" is exactly what I have been doing. What is constant in both personas is the role of the "customer" and what part they play in the success of any business, this success is prevalent in many ways whether it is revenue or assisting in creating and improving the product they receive.

"Bookstrapping" strips away a number of formalities and stresses the basics, the blocking and tackling of starting a company with having control of the process.

I found this a very enjoyable read and found myslef speaking out loud at concepts that were so apparent but seldom thought of because of the simplicity.

I know Greg Gianforte and I know of his company RightNow Technologies and I have witnessed his "hands on" approach. After reading this book I know why he has been so successful by keeping his eyes, ears and hands on his customers.....a CEO leading from the top....what a concept.
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