What are the most useful words of wisdom that aspiring entrepreneurs ought to hear? If they are opting to raise money by bootstrapping rather than seeking venture capital, the answer could very well be: “Never take it personally!” This is one of the insights recently shared on the podcast The Entrepreneur Way. The source was Marty Schultz, a mentor-speaker, angel fund investor and award-winning innovator. He is the cofounder and president of ObjectiveEd, a company that builds educational and entertainment games for the visually impaired community.
“Entrepreneurs should make sure they love your work but they shouldn’t tie their ego to their business success,” says Schultz. With regard to the best strategies for bootstrapping, he adds, “Constantly ask for feedback and never take it personally. Get used to being rejected and learn from being rejected. When a fledgling business owner is engaged in an activity that potentially entails rejection, such as cold calling, a goal should be set for how many calls are made each day, and this goal should be adhered to.” Anyone who doesn’t like confrontation, Schultz adds, needs to engage in such activity over and over until they don’t mind it.
Meanwhile, when looking for the appropriate business partners, anyone engaged in building a startup needs to surround themselves with people whom they can trust and who have the same motivation as themselves, Schultz told The Entrepreneur Way. There is a good reason for this: If the individuals in question can’t be trusted—or if their motivation runs in a different direction—the partnership will not work. This could be the case, for example, if their motivation is to make as much money as possible out of the business while the founder’s goal is to change the world.
Conversely, if everyone engaged in building the startup is on the same page, all of the business decisions will be made in harmony and each individual will back up the others as they pursue growth.
Such insights have served Schultz well over a career that has witnessed many bootstrapping successes. For example, most recently, ObjectiveEd’s Blindfold Games division has released more than 80 games—available on the iPhone and iPad—that promote learning and fun. The games have been enjoyed by more than 25,000 visually impaired people from 7 to 70 years old, and recently surpassed half a million downloads. One racing game from Blindfold Games, for example, is designed so that players use their ears instead of eyes to navigate a racing course, avoiding crashing into fences or animals crossing the street. Meanwhile, a hopping game involves navigating one’s way across a river by maneuvering over lily pads whose sounds drift from right to left (when the lily pad sound is heard in both ears, it is safe to jump). Other directional games include a barnyard game in which the player herds animals in various ways, teaching the concept of cardinal directions and spatial concepts.
“As any company evolves, it is important to try to understand what events have to take place within the next three months and to identify what the early indicators are to suggest things are going the right way. If the team determines that it is on the right track—and there is evidence that the end goal will be hit, whether it be revenue or profit—success is more likely to be encountered,” Schultz adds.