Wikipedia: "Financial bootstrapping is a term used to cover different methods for avoiding using the financial resources of external investors." Note from me: One of the most successful boot-strapped start-ups ever is Dell.
Here's a quick read to add to your summer vacation book list, "Bootstrapping: Weapon of Mass Reconstruction." The book is actually Volume 2 of a series of Entrepreneur Journeys, providing vignettes about a particularly scrappy group of enterpreneurs. Mini case studies, if you will.
In her prologue, author Sramana Mitra discloses that she wrote much of her book during 2008, during the waning days of the presidential campaign. Her core thesis is the following: "Not just entrepreneurship, but boot-strapped entrepreneurship is the true weapon of mass reconstruction." In fact, it is her contention that it is better when small businesses rely on their own funding to get off the ground. "In fact, a $12-million-a-year company fully owned by the entrepreneur is a wonderful situation. Full control. Loads of cash. And true independence," he says.
There is also the reality factor: In today's economy, it's hard to find funding or loans or financing of any sort. The world around us has inspired these enterpreneurs to think differently, and more will need to follow suit if they want to birth their business baby.
Of course, the fact is that many small businesses fail, most of the time because they haven't used their cash wisely. The interviews in Mitra's book are meant to provide instructive examples of how previous entrepreneurs have bootstrapped their way into success.
Here's a list of all the individuals interviewed in her book:
Greg Gianforte, Right Now
Cree Lawson, Travel Ad Network
Beatrice Tarka, Mobissimo
Om Malik, GigaOM
Rafat Ali, paidContent
J.R. Johnson, VirtualTourist
Guillaume Cohen, Veodia
Wayne Krause, Hydro Green Energy
Scott Wainner, SysOpt and ResellerRatings
Ramu Yalamanchi, hi5
Murli Thirumale, Ocarina
Manoj Saxena, Webify
Lars Dalgaard, SuccessFactors
Here's a link to the author's blog, so you can get a sense of her writing style. Mitra also contributes a column to Forbes magazine.