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Best of Bootstrapping: Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars – Go as Kings

Posted on Friday, Feb 1st 2019

Negotiation is a straightforward game. You can only negotiate if you have options.

A long time ago, when I was a young entrepreneur making my way in Silicon Valley, I found myself at the mercy of people who knew I had no option.

I did not have a Green Card.

My negotiating leverage was limited, almost non-existent.

And people took advantage of me.

I have mentored entrepreneurs now for well over a decade. I always try to help them create negotiating leverage.

There is nothing that gives entrepreneurs more leverage than customers and revenues.

The further you can get in terms of building traction without external funding, the more negotiating leverage you will have.

Look for every possible avenue through which you can maximize validation and traction.

When you appear in front of VCs fully equipped to answer each of these questions with utmost credibility, you slot yourself in that exclusive bucket of startups that VCs are all falling all over themselves to invest in.

You see, Venture Capital is a game where too much money routinely chases too few deals.

Those few deals get an inordinate amount of attention.

Valuations inevitably get bid up through competition amongst investors.

The only way an unproven entrepreneur can enter that exclusive club is by having solid proof points that signal a high velocity business with a large market opportunity.

You may be getting confused because all you read in the media are stories of venture funding.

Media, unfortunately, doesn’t report on customer wins.

And yet, your route to success rests in chasing customers, not investors.


This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping

. Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Why is Bootstrapping Important?
. How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently?
. Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings
. Excess is NOT Required for Success
. Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later
. Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies
. The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping
. Bootstrapping to Unicorns
. Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million
. Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue
. Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million
. Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy
. How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million
. Bootstrapping with a Paycheck
. How CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan
. Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses
. How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million
. Bootstrapping with Services
. How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million
. How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana
. How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million
. Death by Overfunding
. How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+
. How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck
. TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage
. The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance
. BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering
. Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania
. Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million
. SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida
. Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK
. Ownership Matters
. Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland
. Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado
. Power2Motivate CEO Bootstraps to $80M from Canada

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