Of course we are amazed the way teenage students in the US use their credit cards / pocket money to bootstrap their fledgeling businesses. Quite often we say “well, but then that’s in the US – where they have an excellent support system by way of Social Security and state sponsored NGO network. They won’t be out in the streets if they go bust. Out here, you’d be left to starve…”
It’s a fact that in India, you have none of these. You pay taxes if you make money. If you are in a bad shape, you’ve to fend for yourself. No matter how many millions you’ve paid as taxes earlier, you’ll not be cared for if you have some bad years later. It’s this scenario which makes us risk averse and makes us great savers….but bad investors all the while.
It’s very difficult hence for our youngsters to bootstrap their way to the top. They live on the edge always ( even most of their parents too ) and it’s almost inconceivable for our youngsters to save up enough to bootstrap a venture. But then should we not have a plan B…?
I gave it some thought and here’s my two paise on how to bootstrap in India….
Pool capital is the way to go. Form a core team of not more than 3 people who are pretty much clued in as far as Web 2.0 tech goes ( it costs less to start an online web business ) so that they can work on a nice and simple idea. Each of these members, go get at least 5 people from amongst their relatives / friends who are willing to spare any sum between Rs.100 k – Rs.300 k. If you are enterprising enough to accomplish so much, I’ll pitch in with my mite to join you as one of the founder investors and shall invest similar sums too. That’s it.
Now when you’ve managed so much so well, we are ready to get started. Just post a comment to this post leaving your e-mail ID. I’ll organize the rest.
As regards structuring your business, creating a business plan, execution of investor agreements, designing stock options, go-to-market strategies, arranging VC participation and liquidity planning thro clear exit roadmaps….well that’s something at which I am good at and don’t lose sleep over that.
Regarding the business model, a few tips….
a) It should address a simple and straight need for a community of users who will be quiet responsive and eager.
b) The user’s need to be addressed in not more than 30 seconds flat or in about a couple of clicks.
c) Give her a user experience so good that she should be viralling it at the 31st second.
Get the hang of it….? What are you waiting for….get the hell outta’ here and come back with the good news….!