Last week I met an entrepreneur I’ll call Brad. His business idea has many of the attributes I look for in a bootstrap-friendly startup. Here’s why:
First of all, Brad found this idea by hearing business clients ask for it, so he knew demand existed. That’s in contrast to a lot of entrepreneurs who come up with products or services, but aren’t sure if anyone will really want them (not always bad, but it requires an extra step that can be time consuming, difficult and expensive).
Next, he found a way to modify open-source software to provide a customized solution for these business clients. That let him develop a solution quickly and inexpensively.
Then, Brad gave early clients a break on price, in exchange for feedback about product development, and ownership of the intellectual property. That way he got to learn exactly what features clients wanted, and build them into his software.
Finally, Brad’s concept combines two ideal characteristics:
1. The short term profit potential of a service business, like a web design firm, and
2. The long-term scalability of an Internet-based marketplace. After providing services for a critical mass of clients, Brad plans to throw a switch and give those clients the option to interact with each other – and with a slew of other types of companies. That gives him a potential pot of gold to shoot for at the end of the rainbow.
Good thinking, Brad.