Do you need investors to start a business?



My participation to the International Startup Festival was my first encounter with the venture capital world. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights at first. Series A? Seeds? VC? Angels? Crowdfunding? Accelerators? Can you see the big question mark in my face? To me, it just doesn’t make sense to use other people’s money to bring my ideas to life.


I say: more money, more problems.

Even better: more money, more people, even more problems. I don’t want to take other people’s money to build my business because I don’t want to have to listen to them. I may be a bit hardheaded, it is my way or the high way. If you give me 500K$, I owe you, you own me, it’s your way or I hit the highway. Not appealing to me.


So what is the solution?

Should I go back to the wards working 8 hour shifts with every other week-end dedicated to work? Not appealing either. Then why not create and sell  a product I know, I understand and I can fund myself? Sounds better?

I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin, I confess. I discovered The Bootstrapper’s Bible a while ago and I’m still going back to it regularly. READ IT. There are so many citations I love and live by in this manifesto, I can’t choose only one. Here are some of his great ideas in bulk, with my personal comments.


The joy of small.

Keep it simple, you’ll be able to react faster to change. Think niche market. Don’t try to please everyone, you’ll please no one.


«Leverage your skills.»

Use what you’ve got! If I was trying to build a new diaper company, I would definitely fail. I know nothing about babies, I know nothing about factories, sensitivity testing and marketing to mothers. Yuck. But I know how to sell to people, I know how to help them and I have a fabulous better half who can invent and program useful software. Again, use what you’ve got!


«Surviving is succeeding.»

Keep up the good work, put in the hours, learn everyday, enjoy the ride. Make small steps forward everyday.


«I’m a salesperson.»

I’m the one who knows everything about my software. It would take loads of time and money to train an outsider to do what I do. And most importantly, people want to connect with YOU, that’s what seals the deal. Network, network, network.


«A great idea can wipe you out» + «Get off on the right foot by starting the right business»

A simple question here: How will you make money with that? Profitability is the key.


«Is your business such a sure thing that you’re willing to bet everything you own on it?»

Your answer should be yes, without hesitation. As I discussed yesterday, being an entrepreneur is a way of life, a choice you conscientiously make to change your life forever. Please, invest in yourself and  remain the master of your own universe. Take the leap, today.


Once again, thank you Seth for the insightful advice.

Finally, to you, all people gravitating around the VC world, I may not want to join you, but I certainly respect you as entrepreneurs. May we all prosper doing business together.