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Dennis Just, CEO Smallpdf, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #87 - Dennis Just: Bootstrapping Your Company To Scale

Dennis Just (Smallpdf)

July 9, 2020

0:45 – What mistakes do Swiss startups make repeatedly when it comes to bootstrapping?
14:20 – Boostrapping and growing fast
17:43 – Constant AB testing
25:48 – Building a solid user base
32:45 – Organic traffic & relying on Google

The Episode in 60 seconds

Considerations when deciding whether to bootstrap:

  • Bootstrapping is a long term project which needs time and dedication.
  • Once you decide to get on the VC train, you can’t go back.
  • External funding rounds also mean valuation rounds, which you have to keep driving up. A downround can be detrimental.
  • If you cannot get a top tier international investor, it may not be worth the trouble.

Bootstrapping a user base:

  • Brand: building trust and recognition is a long term game that will pay off.
  • SEO / organic search: quality content and a product that truly meets the user needs will go a long way. Of course, this makes you dependent on the search engine algorithm.
  • Community: know your target audience and build a community around your product.

Running experiments:

  • Once you have a user base, experiment everything and optimize whatever you can.
  • Always test on a subset of users to minimize overall impact of negative test results.
  • Monitor all KPIs, not just conversion (e.g. customer retention, customer lifetime value, satisfaction, etc.).

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