Bootstrap

boot·strap

ˈbo͞otˌstrap/

verb

1.  get (oneself or something) into or out of a situation using existing resources. "The company is bootstrapping itself out of a marred financial past.”


There is a pattern we’ve noticed with business owners.  All of them are facing one form of challenge or another and they are typically looking at solutions that are external to their companies…primarily from two common areas.

We say, however, that the solutions to most company problems come from three key areas:

People

Technology

Process

Most companies tend to lean toward the first two and overlook the third. They believe that hiring (or replacing) an employee with the right new hire or buying (or replacing) some existing technology or systems with something new and shinier will solve the problem.  Said another way, if they only had the person or thing they don’t currently have, they think everything would be okay.

We also noticed some unintended consequences of this kind of thinking: 

  • Current team members come to believe that they are the problem.
  • They believe the owner wishes he had other employees than them.
  • They don’t believe they have the tools (or technology) they really need to be successful.
  • They believe that there is a unicorn out there that will magically solve all of the company’s problems.

All of those are losing or hopeless propositions.

The reality is that there is often a much easier and less costly solution found in simply changing company processes.  You might be able to solve the problem without allocating the capital outlay associated with a new hire, the displacing of one, or the purchase of new technologies.  

Often, simply reorganizing people or the way they do things can yield powerful results.  Often the technologies or tools we already have, are not being utilized to their fullest potential.  Having a third party learn your challenges, understand who does what and how, and then help determine solutions from existing resources, may be a far quicker and less disruptive path than any of the things we more naturally look towards.

At the end of the day, bootstrapping is about finding a solution to a problem utilizing the existing resources you already have lying around.  Like taking broken pieces of tile and rearranging them into a mosaic piece of art.

You might already have the right pieces in place.

Solving your biggest challenges (that likely yields the greatest financial return on investment) may be closer than you think.  You may already have the right team and the right technologies to get the results you desire, they just may need to be refocused, reorganized, and put to work in a different way.

All the broken tile you believe you are housing may just be waiting to be organized into something more beautiful and profoundly more valuable.

Consider

  • Do you normally assume that your problems would be solved with the “right” new hire or the “right” technology?
  • Do you think that there is a possibility that just reorganizing and repurposing what you already have might solve your problems?
  • Who is helping you make better decisions?  (a mentor, spouse, coach, group of other business leaders, mature leadership team?)