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The Bootstrapper's Bible: How to Start and Build a Business with a Great Idea and (Almost) No Money

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Author Seth Godin, a successful bootstrapper in his own right, tells in fascinating detail his own story of how he built a multimillion-dollar business with almost nothing. Godin also shares the inspirational stories of dozens of other companies (from Dell Computer to Eddie Bauer) to encourage budding bootstrappers to parlay a great idea into a profitable business. Readers Author Seth Godin, a successful bootstrapper in his own right, tells in fascinating detail his own story of how he built a multimillion-dollar business with almost nothing. Godin also shares the inspirational stories of dozens of other companies (from Dell Computer to Eddie Bauer) to encourage budding bootstrappers to parlay a great idea into a profitable business. Readers will want to soak up every one of Godin's "Nine Magic Rules of Successful Bootstrapping, " which include details on finding start-up funds-and mentors, avoiding or surviving every small-business pitfall, balancing work and home, and being successful in the bootstrap phase - and beyond.


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Author Seth Godin, a successful bootstrapper in his own right, tells in fascinating detail his own story of how he built a multimillion-dollar business with almost nothing. Godin also shares the inspirational stories of dozens of other companies (from Dell Computer to Eddie Bauer) to encourage budding bootstrappers to parlay a great idea into a profitable business. Readers Author Seth Godin, a successful bootstrapper in his own right, tells in fascinating detail his own story of how he built a multimillion-dollar business with almost nothing. Godin also shares the inspirational stories of dozens of other companies (from Dell Computer to Eddie Bauer) to encourage budding bootstrappers to parlay a great idea into a profitable business. Readers will want to soak up every one of Godin's "Nine Magic Rules of Successful Bootstrapping, " which include details on finding start-up funds-and mentors, avoiding or surviving every small-business pitfall, balancing work and home, and being successful in the bootstrap phase - and beyond.

30 review for The Bootstrapper's Bible: How to Start and Build a Business with a Great Idea and (Almost) No Money

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Wolfson

    I love Seth Godin, and I stumbled across this book he wrote almost 15 years ago about bootstrapping a business. Considering venture-backed startups are all the rage, it's refreshing to find a tract to back up my theory that you can build a business without up-front investment. Some details/examples in the book are out of date, but the principles are solid and portable, and there are plenty of golden bits that are as applicable as ever.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    If you only read one book before you launch a business this should be it. Classic Godin, first published in 2004, but still highly relevant. Godin explains key principles clearly and in a way that is easy to apply to your own business ideas. At just 104 well-written pages this is a quick read too, unlike the weighty tomes many business authors feel compelled to churn out: "Hereʼs my best advice to you: Stop planning and start doing. You donʼt have to quit your day job. But you do have to get out t If you only read one book before you launch a business this should be it. Classic Godin, first published in 2004, but still highly relevant. Godin explains key principles clearly and in a way that is easy to apply to your own business ideas. At just 104 well-written pages this is a quick read too, unlike the weighty tomes many business authors feel compelled to churn out: "Hereʼs my best advice to you: Stop planning and start doing. You donʼt have to quit your day job. But you do have to get out there and do it. The more you do, the more you do. Doors will open. Opportunities will appear. Your model will change, your reputation will increase, you will become a magnet for smart people, good customers, and investors. But none of this will happen if you stay inside and keep planning. Build your business. One day at a time, one customer at a time. Lower your downsides, focus on the upsides, and start building. But start." The Bootstrapper's Bible, Seth Godin

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shhhhh Ahhhhh

    A good kick in the pants. This diverges dramatically from Godin's usual fare of provocations for unique and special snowflakes in the drift. It's brass tacks. It's an exhortation not to be flashy or original or unique or exciting or do anything that even remotely stands a chance of pushing your bloodflow to your face or your nethers. Rather the opposite. Find something that works already and do it too. Don't borrow money for a business. Find people to sell to, then sell to them. Don't gamble on A good kick in the pants. This diverges dramatically from Godin's usual fare of provocations for unique and special snowflakes in the drift. It's brass tacks. It's an exhortation not to be flashy or original or unique or exciting or do anything that even remotely stands a chance of pushing your bloodflow to your face or your nethers. Rather the opposite. Find something that works already and do it too. Don't borrow money for a business. Find people to sell to, then sell to them. Don't gamble on new, unproven ideas. Write letters. I literally did not know Godin could be so dry or so rigidly, almost mechanistically, practical. It was what I needed too. Recommended for anyone looking to start a business of their own or who is already in the process of doing so.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Powell Omondi

    The name says it all, this is a bootstrapper bible indeed. I live the way Seth puts his point in a clear and succinct manner to pass the key message that all bootstrappers need. One key takeaway that I have got from this book is that the bootstrapper journey to build an organization is not a straight path but has multiple loops which can be used as focal point for learning. The key reason why most startups fail within the first year of inception is due to lack of customers that's why iterating the The name says it all, this is a bootstrapper bible indeed. I live the way Seth puts his point in a clear and succinct manner to pass the key message that all bootstrappers need. One key takeaway that I have got from this book is that the bootstrapper journey to build an organization is not a straight path but has multiple loops which can be used as focal point for learning. The key reason why most startups fail within the first year of inception is due to lack of customers that's why iterating the customer development approach is very key until you find the product market fit, matching what the customer needs to your product. Always sell want people want period. A good book to recommend to all founders in their early stage of entrepreneurial journey.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I didn't even realize this was written by Seth Godin, but now I understand why I liked it so much.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Raj Thota

    Great book. Initially this was offered as free book. Also featured in changethis.com website

  7. 5 out of 5

    A.M.

    Any tech book from 2004 is going to be dated in certain areas, but a lot of Seth’s advice is golden. It is also interesting to read this as the US government may destroy net neutrality. It’s real hard to get a start if a big company chokes small start-ups out of the Internet. [which is why they’re doing it, of course] *** One of my kids was starting a business… and one of his partners wanted to ask an artist to make art for them under contract and then refuse to pay. My kid was absolutely enraged. Any tech book from 2004 is going to be dated in certain areas, but a lot of Seth’s advice is golden. It is also interesting to read this as the US government may destroy net neutrality. It’s real hard to get a start if a big company chokes small start-ups out of the Internet. [which is why they’re doing it, of course] *** One of my kids was starting a business… and one of his partners wanted to ask an artist to make art for them under contract and then refuse to pay. My kid was absolutely enraged. Seth deals with this early on at page 4. I realize that treating people well on the way up will make it nicer for me on the way back down. I will be scrupulously honest and overt in my dealings, and won’t use my position as a fearless bootstrapper to gain unfair advantage. My reputation will follow me wherever I go, and I will invest in it daily and protect it fiercely. Exactly. Don’t rip people off ever; not even when you’re new. He didn’t continue with that partner. *** One thing it does it explain business concepts in very easy to understand terms, with examples of figures and analyses of ideas. It’s free to download and has an easy print option. You are given the unlimited right to print this manifesto and to distribute it electronically (via email, your website, or any other means). You can print out pages and put them in your favorite coffee shopʼs windows or your doctorʼs waiting room. You can transcribe the authorʼs words onto the sidewalk, or you can hand out copies to everyone you meet. You may not alter this manifesto in any way, though, and you may not charge for it. That’s Seth’s business mantra. 4 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shirin

    "Bootstrapping isn't always rational. For some of us (like me), it's almost an addiction. The excitement and sheer thrill of building something overwhelms the desire to play it safe." A must read for entrepreneurs contemplating a journey of bootstrapping their startups. The author offers frugal startup tips on how to develop resilience and make the odds work out in the entrepreneur's favor.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Auvil

    While I enjoy Seth Godin’s ideas and his discussion on “bootstrapping” in general, I didn’t see enormous relevance to W&N. My primary reaction was that we are beyond the boostrapping model in many ways—we have an established company with an established business model that works. We’re not quite the start-up that Godin seems to be targeting in this particular book. That said, there were some good ideas and interesting insights that relate to our work: • “Products are purchased b/c of what they do, While I enjoy Seth Godin’s ideas and his discussion on “bootstrapping” in general, I didn’t see enormous relevance to W&N. My primary reaction was that we are beyond the boostrapping model in many ways—we have an established company with an established business model that works. We’re not quite the start-up that Godin seems to be targeting in this particular book. That said, there were some good ideas and interesting insights that relate to our work: • “Products are purchased b/c of what they do, not what they cost”—page 44—we want to strive for a combo of “more convenience, better service, aggressive pricing, and better results” to become irrestible • the idea of getting paid upfront (pps 47-49) is interesting • Being busy—success leads to more success (p 50-52)—and revisit the mission statement—don’t get stuck in a rut. This is something W&N has been very successful with in the past. • Associate with winners—p 52—choose customers wisely (don’t have to work for every client if we’re losing money, etc.) • Good hiring practices (54)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie James

    A great resource! From "€œThe Bootstrapper's Bible"€ by Seth Godin: "Coming up with a brilliant idea for a business is not nearly as important as finding a business model that works... The Business model is HOW you set up a business so you can get money out of it. Key elements of a biz model: Distribution: where, what middlemen? Sales:€“ who is selling for you and how will they be compensated? Pricing: what do wholesalers and retailers and consumers pay? Production:€“ how do you make it? Raw materials: A great resource! From "€œThe Bootstrapper's Bible"€ by Seth Godin: "Coming up with a brilliant idea for a business is not nearly as important as finding a business model that works... The Business model is HOW you set up a business so you can get money out of it. Key elements of a biz model: Distribution: where, what middlemen? Sales:€“ who is selling for you and how will they be compensated? Pricing: what do wholesalers and retailers and consumers pay? Production:€“ how do you make it? Raw materials: where do you get what you sell? Positioning:€“ how do the ultimate users position the product in their mind? Marketing:€“ how do consumers find out about it? Barrier to entry: how will you survive when competitors arrive? Scalability: how do you make it bigger?..."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Le Nguyen

    some hidden gems actually but don't believe 100% the content, it's nearly 20-year-old!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Justus

    There's a reason why Seth Godin is such a popular author. He sometimes does some cool mental jiujitsu, that's been his M.O. lately, but his basic popularity is due to the fact that he's just a darn good writer. We're not talking high literature here, but it is clear, concise, and engaging. The basic takeaways of the book for me was 1) make sure you have a good business model, 2) a surviving business is a heck of a lot more fun than a failing business 3) Cash flow is very important. Like I said, n There's a reason why Seth Godin is such a popular author. He sometimes does some cool mental jiujitsu, that's been his M.O. lately, but his basic popularity is due to the fact that he's just a darn good writer. We're not talking high literature here, but it is clear, concise, and engaging. The basic takeaways of the book for me was 1) make sure you have a good business model, 2) a surviving business is a heck of a lot more fun than a failing business 3) Cash flow is very important. Like I said, not ground breaking stuff, but well written and an interesting night's read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christina Tang-Bernas

    This is a great book full of sound easy-to-understand advice. I only give it 4 stars because this book wasn't too helpful in what I am interested in, choosing to have a rather narrower focus than I needed. However, for those who want to start a more conventional business with very little to no money, this is definitely the book for you, chock full of ideas, suggestions, and food for thought. For freelancers, and those who are trying to find a more unconventional type of business, you will have t This is a great book full of sound easy-to-understand advice. I only give it 4 stars because this book wasn't too helpful in what I am interested in, choosing to have a rather narrower focus than I needed. However, for those who want to start a more conventional business with very little to no money, this is definitely the book for you, chock full of ideas, suggestions, and food for thought. For freelancers, and those who are trying to find a more unconventional type of business, you will have to just pick and choose.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Seth has a gift for making business and marketing fun. After reading this book it's tough going back to my gig working for the Man. The title is a bit misleading, though, because Seth makes the point that you really don't need a great idea to build a business around; you just need an idea that works and ideas that work aren't necessarily new ideas. I got this book for free from dailylit.com. Check them out.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    If you don't come from a rich entrepreneurial family, bootstrapping is a must to grow your business. You don't have a choice. By reading Seth's thoughts and knowledge about Bootstrapping, you're in a good hands. If you're a start up or even have a growing business, i think you should read this book. Yeah, i think you should.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim George

    Lots of great advice for starting and growing a new business, the author is a bit of a fast talker salesman type of guy. He mixes up his business ideas with some witty humor. It won't make you a savvy entrepreneur, or an overnight millionaire, but it will add more business arrows to your success quiver!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sepideh

    Recently, I have taken an interest in learning more about starting a business. This book emphasizes that you don't need a lot of money, you don't need a brilliant idea, but you do need to focus on sales and advertising.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Gordon

    Another great one from Seth. What is it with him that makes you feel like you can do so many things that otherwise seem impossible. Full of practical advice about starting your own business in a low risk way and what makes a small business valuable. Available free on Seth Godin's web site.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Damien Jones

    A lot of great information on prepare ring yourself for starting a business with out asking for loans or investors. While I don't agree with everything Godin states in the book, he always gets me thinking!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mostaque Ahammed

    Every future or present entrepreneur should read this book. How to bootstrap with tons of practice and application tips, what to notice, what to get used to, what's the mentality you need to succeed as a startup is fantastically described with example. Hell of a gooread it is.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Surprised me. Some pretty good tips in there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A good introductory book on entrepreneurship and starting a small business. Good practical advice from a person I respect

  23. 5 out of 5

    Black Heart Magazine

    Still thinking about what to do with the information I got out of this book, otherwise it'd be 5 stars. ;)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Snow White

    Go here for the book! http://www.changethis.com/8.Bootstrap... PS. changethis.com is pretty awesome. Go here for the book! http://www.changethis.com/8.Bootstrap... PS. changethis.com is pretty awesome.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mongezi Mtati

    A great guide for progressive startups and entrepreneurs who want to break the mold.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mahreen Ferdous

    Full of ideas and inspiration for when you are starting up. Can be a little preachy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andremadian

    Great insights with simple but logic words. A must read for everyone who are passionate in building their own business

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Robins

    Some good things to think about from someone that's been there. Well worth reading before starting a company.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Polo

    Good concepts, pretty dated at many points, but solid overall. Read an abbreviated version from changethis.com.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eliot

    Great book with lots of why's and how's. And costs $2.86 to boot!

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