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Lessons from Founders Who Bootstrapped Their Way Out of Adversity


The Australian startup sector is growing tremendously despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Natasha Boddy from the Financial Review states that Australian startups who were able to remain resilient, like Melbourne startup LAB3, Judo and neobank Volt, continue to attract investment. 

Keeping things simple, particularly during the founding stages of your venture, is a great way to overcome adversity and scale your startup for success. In an article for the Startup Daily, Andrew Filev, Wrike General Manager, discusses how he bootstrapped his way to success, scaling his venture solely on earned profits. David Walsh, founder of CIM, discusses his bootstrapping methods in a similar Startup Daily article. After losing everything during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the CIM founder discovered a gap in technology and automation. He then bootstrapped his startup with only $1,300. His startup is now reaching enormous success and by the end of 2021 is expected to reach $10 million in annual recurring revenue.

At Allied Legal, we have collated our key takeaways from the founders’ journey through adversity and toward success:

Take Care of Your Clients

The level of funding you receive during the early stages of your venture is not a measure of success. David Walsh from CIM, suggests bootstrapping and utilising your startup’s organic growth during the initial stages of the venture. Repaying your external investors can become overwhelming if your startup is slow to secure revenue. Andrew Filev believes that your clients ­– particularly the ones who invest in your startup early – are your biggest investors. It is crucial to develop strong client relationships with these clients through active communication and feedback. Customer success is about listening to your client’s needs and developing strategies to meet them. Retaining your existing client base will lead to long-lasting customers and sustained growth.

Invest In Your Team

The team you invest in during the founding stages of your venture is important as they are the people who will either grow or fail with your startup. According to Andrew Filev the right candidate will not only have the skills but the attitude and passion to see your startup flourish. The right team member should be a team player who is willing to collaborate and learn. This goes for your team leaders too. They should be adaptable, out of the box thinkers who can devise creative solutions. David Walsh believes that as a founder, you need to articulate your vision and purpose for your startup. This will assist in finding team members who share your values and contribute to the long-term success of your venture.  

Remain Agile

According to CIM founder, David Walsh, opportunities exist within a crisis. Difficult circumstances, such as the recent pandemic, can be a good time to reset and head back to the drawing board. Luckily, being a smaller venture can be a competitive advantage as you are better equipped to adapt to a changing environment. By utilising innovative solutions and implementing niche systems and strategies, you will be able to stand apart from the crowd. Wrike manager, Andrew Filev, believes that you should leverage your startup’s size to secure points of differentiation which larger companies are too slow to secure.

Key Takeaways

Don’t be afraid to keep things simple to begin with. This means limiting your spending during the early stages of your startup and utilising the resources you have available to you. Your clients and team, for example, are your biggest assets and will contribute to your startup’s long-term success or failure.

Need help? Contact us

At Allied Legal, startups are our speciality. As we work with founders during every stage of their venture, we understand the factors that drive growth and lead to a successful venture. If you need support, or startup-specific legal advice, we are the team to contact. You can connect with one of our commercial lawyers by giving us a call on 03 8638 0888 or sending us an email at hello@alliedlegal.com.au. 

You might also like our article Key Challenges of Launching a Startup.

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