Business Ideas - Bootstrapping Your Company to Success

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					                                                Presented by Daniel Toriola

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                                          Bootstrapping Your Company to Success
                                                              By William Cate

    Bootstrapping Your Company to Success by William Cate

 Bootstrapping Your Company to Success
By: William Cate
Published August 1998

Often, service-oriented businesses can bootstrap themselves to
success. Bootstrapping is a policy of reinvesting all the money a company
earns into the growth of that company. The owner may not draw a salary for
awhile. It's a process that can take 3 or 4 years. At the end of that time,
the owner has a debt-free business and recovers his recovers their unpaid
time from the profits the business now earns.

Over the years, I've developed about a dozen businesses using a
bootstapping strategy. Here's an example. My wife is a veterinarian. In
1980, she was asked to vaccinate several dogs at the owner's home. She
spent $25 and bought the vaccines. She did the housecall. She took the
money she made and invested it into more supplies. She did more housecalls. In 1985, she had
enough housecall clients to buy a building and convert it into a veterinary hospital. The practice
continued to grow. Today, she co-owns one of the largest veterinary hospitals in the San Francisco
Area. From 1980-1983, she didn't draw a salary.

 I think anyone who intends to build a multinational corporation
needs to bootstrap a business to success. It teaches them the importance of
wisely reinvesting profits into the growth of a company. Without this
lesson, public company officers believe they have a right to live off the
risk capital of their investors. Too many public companies lose money
because management insists upon excessive salaries.

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 You won't get rich by paying yourself an excessive salary. Your
excessive salary often leads to the bankruptcy of the company. You'll get
rich by making your company a success. Once it succeeds, you can sell your
stock in a merger at Market Capitalization. If you use my strategy, you'll
walk away in 5-7 years with $80 million.

 There are sacrifices in building any company. If you expect your
investors to make those sacrifices, your company will fail. If you won't
work 12 hour days for several years for a middle-class income, don't take
your company public. In fact, don't start a company. Get a job in middle
management with a major firm in your industry.

 Remember that success comes from sacrifice. It comes from making
the right decisions. It comes from keeping risks low while you keep rewards
high. The rewards must go to your company, not to your personal bank

 If you don't follow these bootstrapping rules, you won't create a
successful public company. The "live off the investor strategy" often
creates an SEC nightmare. If the SEC acts, it will make your attorney rich.
You didn't take your company public to make your attorney rich.

To contact the author: Visit the Beowulf Investments website:
[] Or, visit the Global Village Investment Club Website:

 He has been the Managing Director of Beowulf Investments
[] since 1981 and is the Executive Director of the Global
Village Investment Club

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                         7 Technology Transfer Officer Tips For Tough Economic Times
                                                                By Art Espey

There is no doubt that these are tough economic times. Unemployment is high and credit is tight. Key
indicates show that is the worse economy in a generation. Many technology transfer offices have seen
potential business partners reduce their innovation portfolios and expenditures. This coupled with a
reduction in funding sources, from grants and investors to university sources are blowing the
technology transfer research commercialization efforts into the perfect storm.

 There are difficulties and challenges, but these times also create opportunities. Here are seven tips to
help your technology transfer office succeed in these tough economic times.

1. Maintain a list of problems that are relevant to the research and technologies in the pipeline.

 Technology transfer offices typically get involved in research commercialization efforts late in the
research and testing process. Get involved earlier in the process and start developing a list of
problems of which the research can be applied.

 This is really an early brainstorming exercise. Don’t just talk to the researchers. Get business input
from those who are not involved with the research or the research teams. Independent ideas can be
worth their weight in gold.

2. Develop long-term business relationships.

“Dig the well before you are thirsty.”
-Chinese Proverb

 Start developing business relationships with business leaders from a wide range of industries. Do this
even before you have any applicable research or solutions for them. These relationships will pay off in
two ways.

• You will have a better understanding of the types of challenges that these businesses face.
• When you do have promising research technologies and solutions you already have a relationship
with the business or their contacts.

3. Pair researchers with business mentors.

 Researchers think like researchers. Business people think like business people. Getting the two to
communicate with each other versus talking to each other is a common technology transfer office

Providing a business mentor to promising research leaders will help alleviate this common problem.
This continuous conduit will go a lot further than a long forgotten entrepreneurial seminar.

4. Develop alternative commercialization strategies early.

Good business people know that there is always a chance that their efforts may fail. Technology

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transfer officers know this too. Unfortunately, many researchers and inventors do not think about this,
much less plan for it.

 Most inventors think that their invention is world changing and worth millions. They have visions of
establishing a company based on their research or technology, selling it for millions, and retiring in the
lap of luxury.

 The truth of the matter is that nine out of ten spin offs and startups will fail. You, can as the technology
transfer officer can improve these odds.

 I sit on the advisory board for some start up focused investment funds. One of the strategies that we
have developed recently is to go for the big distribution partnering deal with large companies. When
that doesn’t work – we find out why and have alternative proposals available.

 This alternative could be limited distribution agreements on licensing deals. It really doesn’t matter
what the alternative is. What does matter is that you get to stay in the game and get a return on the
sunk costs.

5. Reduce risks for all involved.

 It wasn’t that long ago that many universities shunned the entire technology transfer process. They
wanted their faculty teaching and doing research, not commercializing their intellectual property. My,
how times have changed.

 Now universities love the revenue that comes from royalties and equity distributions and sales that are
associated with intellectual property commercialization. Businesses are always looking for a
competitive advantage and right now innovation is the soup de jour, except for one thing …RISK!

 In order to get more businesses interested in potential technology look for new ways to reduce their
potential risks. Right now cash is king. Instead of negotiating a lower royalty percentage, offer your
potential licensor a deferred royalty agreement at a higher percentage. This is the business innovator’s
version of “no interest payments for 3 years”.

 This approach allows the business to conserve cash today and the university to reap more money in
the long run. It’s better than the technology sitting on the shelf waiting to become obsolete.

6. Teach bootstrapping to your startups.

 All technology startups need money. That is a known fact. The truth is that many could get by with less
money than they think that they need. There in lies the art of bootstrapping. Bootstrapping basically
means to start and operate a business without lots of investment funds. It requires the entrepreneur to
focus on sales and to hold fixed costs to an absolute minimum.

 Bootstrapping requires a unique mindset that few lead researchers turned entrepreneurs can relate to.
It takes a special entrepreneur to be able to successfully bootstrap a business.
 Help your lead researchers and startup teams. Get some experienced bootstrappers on your advisory
and consulting teams and pass the knowledge on to your startups.

7. Partner with other technology transfer offices.

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 Technology transfer offices provide a valuable service to both the university and their research
communities. They play a vital role in the economic development of their respective communities and
states. Unlike many organizations involved in the invention commercialization process they do not

 Some technology transfer offices such as Stanford and MIT are the envy of their peers, however most
technology transfer offices do not reside in a geographic area that harbors entrepreneurship in its DNA.

 Partnering with other technology transfer offices offers many unique benefits that cannot be found
though other means. It opens up dialogue and support for represented research and technologies to
new areas and new commercialization ideas. It develops relationships with other potential business
partners and fosters potential research synergies.

 Targeted TTO partnerships can lead to specific research pairing with higher degrees of
commercialization potential. This focused effort will, in the long run, yield a high degree of return on

 These 7 technology transfer officer tips can help you reduce your operating costs and increase your
revenue generation success rate. It’s a win for society, the researcher, the business community, the
university, and YOU!

Art Espey helps technology transfer teams increase revenue generation for their universities. Art can
be reached at

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