Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In business, adapting to different situations is a constant. In a world with no guarantees, one of the few constants for managers is that you always have to adapt yourself to changes all around you. Many entrepreneurs begin as a bootstrapped startup, when they have to advance themselves without any outside help, and if they succeed, they move into a VC-funded operation. Both phases present managers with challenges and hardships.
How we moved from “bootstrapped” to “VC-funded”
Development of our customer intelligence platform started out a few years ago as a bootstrapped startup, which later evolved into a stand-alone project for a major company. When you run your own project, you maintain ownership and control over the development direction. At the same time, you lack funding and certainty. But at the center of it all is the entrepreneur’s responsibility to build a business that really works and then convince others that it does.
When you develop a service, you must cover all the bases if you want to offer consumers a comprehensive solution to their pains. The best way to do it is by taking a step-by-step approach and having a certain “test group” that gives you feedback as you advance and add more options and features.
The company that hosted our project believed in us and gave us the necessary “go.” They were our customer, investor and most importantly, supporter. Working on further developing our product with them and getting their constant feedback made it possible for us to have better focus. It also helped us streamline our platform and as a result, offer a better product. That opened up the road to add more investors into our product.
Affogata is already in its fourth year of operation, and it is a VC-funded company. Gone are the days of being a bootstrapped operation. Having many clients now and a better developed product, we do not rest on our laurels but keep working hard to better serve our existing and new clients. Our shareholders help and support us as we keep growing our business. With growth comes more responsibility towards our clients, employees and ourselves.
The lessons I learned
Since our business revolves around analyzing customer feedback for our clients, we view our clients’ wishes and wants with the utmost attention. Their feedback helps us give them not only a better service but also serves as a roadmap for us as to what new areas to delve into. They lead us into building a business that really works and gives all of us a sense of accomplishment. So, lesson number one is to never lose focus of how your product can best serve your future
Read the original here:
Lessons From ‘Once a Bootstrapped Startup, Now a VC-Funded Machine’