Bootstrapping? Here’s Why You Should Buy Instead of Building Your Next Online Business

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

What do you do?

That tiresome ice breaker people ask whenever you can be bothered to emerge from your favourite jungle of code to meet new people that might just restore your faith in humanity.

If you’re still rolling on the spot in that nine-to-five hamster wheel, chances are you die a little inside each time you answer with whatever title sits at the bottom of your email signature.

What you wish you could say is…

I’m a full-blown, nailed-on bootstrapper. What of it?”

And you’d take pleasure each time you had to explain what a bootstrapper does, like Superman ripping open his office shirt to reveal the trademark ‘S’ that lurks beneath.

“That’s right, baby”…

You’d think inside.

“I own my own ass”.

As you soak up the looks of admiration and envy from people who’ve never even considered ways around growing old with the same soul-crushing colleagues.

Well… Superman, we hate to break it to you, but the Lex Luthors of the world often have the most fun highjacking and profiting from parties someone else has already started.

Building as a maker is worthwhile — *someone* has to feed the ecosystem. If you’ve already built that muscle group, though, buying a business that’s already afloat can bring you superpower perks virtually overnight.

Stepping right into profit and a customer base from day one is the obvious perk that barely needs stating. But there are others.

You’ve Got Network

Besides actually turning a profit for the first time — and as a means to that end — ‘build a network’ has possibly the highest ballache factor of all the items on a bootstrapper’s to-do list.

If you’re into all that chummy back slapping, then more power to you. If you’re not, then buying to grow is a fast track route to plugging yourself into a network of good contacts, affiliates and suppliers you can lean on for support from day one, especially if your seller is willing to give you all the intros to key people and peripheral businesses that will become your fuel and advocates.

Secure Finance More Easily

In a perfect world, you’d run a business with zero debt.

You already know you don’t want to play the high stakes of the VC-backed startup game, with all its conflicting agendas.

Though you’re never sure what’s around the corner — and even less so with the age of the Rona in full swing. Even self-sufficient small and micro businesses need to borrow a dime or two here and there.

Whether it’s borrow-to-buy, or borrow-to-run, lenders are overwhelmingly more likely to cough up the money you need if you’re acquiring a business that’s already plumbed in, lights on, with a solid history of profit.

Market Fit

Half the challenge and chore of bootstrapping is doing the hard graft connecting a viable offering with a viable audience that will sustain growth.

Many bootstrappers will stutter, falter and fail, just from the effort of trying to set root in a not too hostile niche with enough elbow room to really run and gain momentum.

Why not bypass the huff and puff of trying to light the market tinder and find that much-hailed Goldie Locks zone?

Solopreneurs who buy-to-run rather than sweat-to-build can strap into the cockpit with a rock-solid conviction that the market fit is already there and will have more energy, time and resources to simply accelerate and open up the market further.

Reduced Risk

Collectively, the business gremlins that can crawl out of the woodwork of your online business fall under the umbrella term of ‘risk’. Lack of solid financing, poor network and contacts, weak market fit and other considerations all increase that risk.

Ultimately, lowering the level of risk is among the most prized perk and the hardest to unlock when running the maker gauntlet of building from scratch.

We need to bring folks behind closed curtains to innovate new things, and that might include you, though if you have the resources and the know-how already, it’s worth jumping in at a higher starting point where a lot of the potential game-over instability has already been overcome.

If you’ve already graduated to veteran-level maker status, tell people about it. Get on the IndieMaker community and make a scene.

Or make noises in our general direction — we’d love to chat and interview you about your experiences, successes, failures and advice to others. There are tons of others out there, just about to tread similar paths, who can benefit from anecdotal learnings that can help reduce risk.

It’s about building thriving communities, after all.

P.S New to Indiemaker and loved this post? Check out the listings on our website.

A marketplace to buy & sell domains, side-projects and micro-businesses. By makers for makers.