Turning Ideas into Businesses

Dandelion, from French dent-de-lion, meaning lion's tooth

Hello, I'm Eric. I recently left my comfortable corporate career as a Software Developer to become a bootstrapping entrepreneur. I started Lionstooth Software because I want to create applications and services that meet peoples' needs in unique and creative ways.

A bootstrapped business usually starts with one founder on a tiny budget, avoids outside investment, and seeks organic long-term growth rather than forced growth (e.g. through paid advertising).

The process I follow to bootstrap a business helps me weed out bad ideas early, learn what works and what doesn't along the way, and apply new knowledge as early as possible.

  1. Start with an idea

  2. Great ideas entertain, inspire, or solve problems in a unique way. Think of something entirely new, or put your own twist on an existing idea to improve it or make it appeal to a different audience.

  3. Test the market

  4. Don't waste months (or years!) developing an application or service without knowing whether or not people will be interested in it. Build a landing page or a small prototype, show it to people, and use the information you learn to make decisions about how to proceed. You might find that your idea is a big hit, you might need to alter your approach, or you might even decide that the idea is not worth pursuing. Either way, you will be making more informed decisions.

  5. Build an MVP

  6. When market testing indicates that your idea has some merit, build a Minimum Viable Product with just enough features to excite your potential customers. The goal is to deliver something of value to them as quickly as possible, and to avoid wasting resources building features that nobody wants.

  7. Launch it

  8. Launch day is when you start seeking (hopefully) paying customers! Preparation is important in this step because you only get one chance. Figure out where and when you will promote your application to reach your target audience. Make sure your application will scale to handle the traffic. Gather as much information as you can during launch about who is using your application and how they are using it.

  9. Grow it

  10. You will learn a lot from the first version. Use what you learn to improve your product in ways that your customers will appreciate. Continue to engage online, and re-launch whenever you deploy major updates.

  11. Monetize it

  12. Money is often (but not always) how startups measure success. You need a strategy for your startup to earn money, whether that's from product sales, subscriptions, donations, etc. Be creative about ways to monetize your application or service.

  13. Automate operations

  14. You will not be able to keep turning ideas into startups if your time is consumed maintaining your previous projects. Automate everything you can!