Why We’ll Never Stop “Bootstrapping” (Even When VC Funding Is On The Table)

It’s easy for startups to imagine all the problems a little VC funding could solve. A better office space. A larger team. An actual marketing budget.

But even with the benefits that come from a hefty infusion of cash, when’s the best time to accept it? Or should startups seek outside funding at all?

Among the biggest questions facing startups is this:

Funded by Venture Capitalists: To be? Or not to be?

Moving too quickly into financial partnerships can lead to misplaced priorities, a lack of creative control, and even a deteriorating company culture. That’s why, here at Reaction Commerce, we’ve got a bootstrap mentality that we intend to cultivate even when the VCs come calling. And these are our top three reasons.

  1. It’s about orientation
    Because our goal is to be as self-sustaining as possible, we think that staying aligned with our bootstrap roots (whenever possible) is necessary to keep the focus on what’s most important. Reaction Commerce started with a business manifesto. Our goal is to build a business, not a startup. Even bigger, our vision is to revolutionize the entire ecommerce industry. Selling to the highest bidder isn’t even on our radar.

  2. It’s about focus
    Our core values are important to us, and at the moment, we have the luxury of not having to compromise them. Money is powerful, and taking it means we must be respectful of investors’ needs as well as our own. When every conversation starts with “what can we do right now with what we have?” instead of “how much money do we need to do this?” it actually enforces prioritization, critical thinking, and creative solutions. Additional resources can be used to support those priorities, but the conversation always starts from a bootstrap orientation.

  3. It’s about culture
    A big part of our business manifesto focuses on culture. In our experience, culture - as a downstream effect of leadership - is the number one factor in company-wide productivity. Yes, there are people who produce incredible amounts of work regardless, but even they will be inspired to greater heights when they feel that they’re creating something beyond an asking price. Our goal is to foster a culture of excitement where each employee feels a part of something that is actually creating value in the world. It can be difficult to create a truly inspiring culture within a company whose sole focus is to grow fast and sell out as quickly as possible.

There’s no question that having money to throw at the challenges we’re currently facing can create a sense of security and control. And that can be important. But it’s just as important to remember that necessity breeds innovation—the kind of innovation that keeps a company agile, pushing forward, and breaking down barriers.

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