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Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money Kindle Edition
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"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.
That small practice was literally the birth of RightNow. In 'Bootstrapping,' Greg and co-author Marcus Gibson start with that point and expand from there. The book's authors take a unique position - if your goal is to figure out how to raise money...this isn't the book. 'Bootstrapping' is about how to cobble together a go-live strategy _without_ having to raise money.
Because the software business won't resonate with everyone, the authors have examples from caterers, printers, dry-cleaners, organic grocers and other businesses to which the 'average' reader can relate. These are types of businesses you frequent in your everyday life.