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The Bootstrap Network introduces an innovative framework for building a venture for long-term success. While bootstrapping itself is timeless, the Bootstrap Community strives to articulate and propagate the principles and stages of Bootstrapping. Synthesized by Bijoy Goswami with contributions from Bootstrap Austin members including Bruce Krysiak, Darius Mahdjoubi, Dave Wolpert, Jonathan McCoy, Jason Myers, Alex Cavalli, Marcy Hoen and Nancy Schill. Bootstrapping is the third way of entrepreneurship, distinct, yet drawing from both the cookie-cutter and funding-driven methods.

Bootstrapping is a distinct method of entrepreneurial activity, separate from the funding-driven and cookie-cutter paths. This video series describes the Bootstrap Stages. The following history of Apple Computer shows the stages and key actions. Journey Entrepreneurship is most aligned with the bootstrap path, but can also occur with the other paths.

Bootstrap's overarching principle is: Right Action Right Time. Each stage has a corresponding action and principle, noted on the map. For example, the key action in the you stage is Discover and the key principle is "know thyself." Here are links to blog posts on the stages: youPlusU, Ideation, Valley of Death, Growth and Rebootstrap.

The community articulates the stages of a venture with the Bootstrap Map

Bootstrap Map.
Bootstrap Map
  • you - the discovery and development of the bootstrapper's talents & passions. This stage is the birth of the Founder/Team Journey
  • QUEST(ion) - the time when an individual decides to take the bootstrap journey. The birth of the Inner/Hero's Journey
  • Ideation - the time when the bootstrapper works part time on their venture and works towards a demo. Birth of the Product Journey
  • Valley of Death - the time when the bootstrapper is committed full-time to the venture. The venture is on a quest for customers (who pay it $ for its product/service), but is not yet sustainable. Birth of the Customer Journey
  • Growth - the time when the venture becomes sustainable and scales its activities. Birth of the Organization Journey
  • Rebootstrap - the time when large companies need to systematically recreate Bootstrapping within their organizations to generate new products and services. Renewal Journey

Notice the similarity to a fugue