What is Bootstrapping

The first time I came across the term bootstrapping was through programming. Bootstrapping a computer program means to start a program in the most efficient way and with the least amount of resources needed for a specific task.

When developing software from this perspective, you have to keep all the parts modular and independent from each other. You have separate systems and processes each dedicated to a specific task. You differentiate between the logic flow of actions, the data and the display of information.

The same principles can be applied to your business and the process of starting it.

4 phases of a bootstrapped start-up

There are 4 common phases found in most boostrapped start-ups, covering the first 2-3 years of a business:

4 phases of bootstrapping your own business


In a business context bootstrapping means to start and grow a business with the least amount of resources necessary to achieve the business goals.


In over 12 years as an entrepreneur and business owner, I have never been in a position where a bank/investor owned my business and could thus dictate my decisions. In my opinion this is one of the most important factors for running a successful life and business.

This also means the responsibility for every action taken, or not taken, lays with me. I can’t blame anyone else for the mistakes I make or the success I have  and it offers a powerful tool for improvement.

It may sound harsh, especially in a time of economic crisis, but here lies the chance. Try to not blame anyone, neither the economy, nor your clients or family. Try to see the chance in a crisis and a lesson in a failure. Always look for the solution instead of focusing on the problem.

If a business owner looses control or is not self-reliant, he will depend on others, be tempted to manipulate, conform, compare and compete.

If you are self-reliant, you not only belief that you can handle things and your business will become successful, it is more than that. Self-reliance gives you courage to “listen to your gut” and achieve true success.