Posts Tagged ‘Bootstrap’

Free Screen Sharing Application for Bootstrapped Internet Startups – Join.me

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Today I finally came across a great screen sharing application. I’ve used A LOT of different screen sharing applications, desktop streaming applications, remote desktop applications, etc etc etc and they have their niche, but this one is by far the easiest desktop streaming application that I’ve found (and it’s free).

The application is called Join.me. It’s done by the people behind the LogMeIn suite of products (which are good in their own right for more advanced users). However, Join.me is fantastic for those desktop streams that you want to do with people whose desktop you don’t control. There’s almost NOTHING to install. It uses Flash for the user viewing your desktop and a really simple exe download for the person looking to share.

I plan on using this for demos I’m doing for Giving Sports fundraising. It’s the perfect way to do a sales presentation. You send them a link, they click on it and they get access to your desktop computer. That means you can show them a powerpoint, a web browser, etc etc etc. Anything you run on your desktop you can show them and they don’t have to install anything. They can just click on the link.

I’m also planning on using this for helping my mom. Just yesterday I wished that I had a way to connect to my mom’s computer. It was too much to ask her to create an account and install LogMeIn. Plus, then she’d keep getting these update notices to update the software and it would confuse her. With Join.me she just does the one click download of the exe and then tells me the number. Awesome! Plus, after one use, you just tell her to install the app and it will put a shortcut on her desktop that she can use the next time she needs help.

Oh yes, did I say that it allows remote control of the desktop as well? That’s right, my mom can give me control of her desktop so I can just fix the stuff myself. So, I can not only see her desktop, but I can also fix it. Very nice!

There’s also a conference call number you can provide to people so a whole group could be on the same call. It’s not an 800 number, but that’s not a big deal for me at all. Most people have a cell phone or unlimited long distance.

The only problem I ran into is that it didn’t like my default screen resolution. I submitted a report to Join.me about it and so we’ll see if they respond. I just changed my screen resolution and it worked fine.

Anyway, as you can tell I’m excited. I’d wanted something like this for a while. It’s the perfect addition to a bootstrapped internet startup’s tool box!

Google Apps – Boot Strap Email for Small Businesses

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Since I’m such a huge fan of boot strapping a business into fruition, I figured I should share some of the ways that I save myself spending hordes of money while still having amazing tools. One of those tools is Google Apps.

What most people don’t realize is that there is a Google Apps Standard and a Google Apps Premiere. Notice that I only linked to the Standard, because a boot strap internet startup company will never go for the Google Apps Premiere. Down the road as you grow you might want to consider it, but at first there’s no reason you shouldn’t be totally satisfied with the FREE Google Apps Standard edition.

Of course, Google tries a lot of different ways to kind of hide the Free Google Apps Standard edition and have you use the Google Apps premiere, but since you’re reading this blog you’ll know better. Although, I should say that as you grow, Google Apps Premiere is a great cost too, but that’s for much later.

So, why do I love Google Apps Standard (from now on known as Google Apps)? It’s basically Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, but all from your own custom domain. That’s right, when I email you from my @crashutah.com domain it’s all going through Google’s email servers for free. Trust me. There are no email applications that can compare with gmail. I’ll save why for another post, but it’s fantastic.

Add in the nice integrations with Google Calendar and Google Docs and it’s better than even implementing an Exchange server for your company. Plus, did you remember that it’s FREE (Exchange is far from free in case you didn’t know).

Sure, you can only have 50 users (which shouldn’t be a problem). Sure, you have ads around your email (as if that really matters, they’re not in your email. Sure, you’re limited to 7GB of email per user (which is a TON of email). Yep, all things that really don’t make much of a difference when you start a business.

I’m always amazed when someone from a pretty large business emails me from ksmith@cox.net. I mean really? How unprofessional is that? I’m sure they’re just afraid to setup a cool email like ksmith@yourdomain.com. Luckily, with Google Apps it’s Easy to setup and it’s free. Ok, it will cost you the $10 or so per year for the domain, but you’re going to have to pay that for your website anyway.

Not sold? Ok, then go and sign up for your .aol.com email account and see how much credibility you have with your customers;-)

My Bootstrap Approach to Funding My Startup Company

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I’ve been thinking about starting Giving Sports for a number of years. In fact, I’m sure that there were many many people that thought that I would never do it. Heck, there were times that I didn’t think I was ever going to do it. However, the previous timing was never right for me to start the startup. I’ll likely talk more about this later and why the timing is great now, but one key element to the timing is my ability to bootstrap my startup company.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting funding for Giving Sports. A number of investors have been talking to me and they invariably ask the question, “Do you need some money?

That’s such a hard question to answer. I actually hate when they ask it, but it’s a genius question. Of course, EVERYONE wants money. Of course, what the investor doesn’t tell you is the cost to be able to get their money. That’s right, there’s a price you have to pay to get the money.

Evaluating the cost to get an investment in your company against the benefit of cash is an impossible math. In fact, I’d say it’s more art than science. Plus, it seems like the advice I’ve gotten over and over from investors who would never invest in my company (wrong niche, too small, etc) is to wait as long as possible to take money.

This has kind of become the theme in my various networking opportunities with investors. That along with my reading of the fantastic book Rework by the founders of 37 Signals has really pushed me to bootstrap my startup company.

I guess I’m not a total bootstrapper. In fact, the in vogue term is to call me a lean startup company. The key is that I’ve been able to self fund my startup company on the back of my blog income. I’m sure many out there are thinking that there’s no way they could do that. I didn’t think that I could do it last year either. Turns out. I can and I am doing it!

Certainly I have to be careful how much time I spend on my blogs versus on my startup company. I can see how it can easily distract me. However, it’s like everything in life that just takes balance. Plus, I’ve been thinking lately about the time cost associated with chasing capital. Not to mention that I could end up spending what amounts to a part time job chasing capital and end up with NOTHING.

This is why it’s easy for me to justify the occasional need to focus on my blogs. It’s likely much less time than I would have spent fundraising. It’s something I love to do (which I’m guessing fundraising would not fulfill). Plus, I don’t have to give up any equity in the process.

Here’s a quick look at the options:

1. Work on my blogs similar to the amount of time I would have spent raising money. Make enough money to self fund my startup doing something I love. Keep 100% of the equity in the company.

2. Work on finding funding for my startup. Possibly find no one interested in investing. If I land a nice pile of cash I have to give up 15-50% of the company (depending on a lot of factors).

Seems like a pretty clear choice to me.

I should say that I’m not against going for funding either. At some point I could see funding as a viable option. Sometimes scaling needs the cash to really grow the company. However, for now I’m quite comfortable growing organically. Isn’t organic the in thing?