To Bootstrap or to Get Funded April 27, 2015 06:00

by Lisa Meier Greenwood

I think in the minority, which is to say that I focus on pleasing customers, not investors. When a start-up doesn't have a lot of money, it is forced to turn to the funding source that rarely tolerates mistakes - customers. 

Specifically, focusing on the results of selling a product in the creation of a “minimal viable product,” or rather, a pared-down, core offering that delivers a clear value to your customers, is the true path to success. And when all of your efforts are focused on designing a product that customers want, enjoy, or find useful, you've got a much better chance at success than someone who’s focused instead on convincing investors that the business will be viable someday.

Now, that’s not to say that a business can’t pursue both customers and investors at the same time, as clearly many successful companies have done just that. But in my opinion, it can be harmful to worry about what investors think when you should be worried about attracting and retaining customers - a much more sustainable and important funding source.