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Ryan Holmes

‘When in doubt, bootstrap. Using your own personal resources is the easiest way to start a business. You don’t have to convince investors about the merits of your idea. You just have to convince yourself’

Ryan Holmes, co-founder of Twitter dashboard Hootsuite, said the above in a longer LinkedIn post in 2015.

Hootsuite was begun as a project inside the digital media agency Invoke, owned by Ryan Holmes, back in 2008. One third of the digital agency’s employees were asked to work on the Hootsuite tool to help businesses incorporate social media in their marketing campaigns. The following year the Canadian computer programmer and internet entrepreneur spun Hootsuite off as a separate company, having raised nearly $2m in start-up funding.

Cut to today, when Hootsuite social media management tool now has more than 18m users and nearly 1,000 employees, while the brand has become the go-to social media solutions technology for enterprise-level businesses.

The point is, Holmes was not afraid to start small and build out. In tech circles, it’s called a “minimum viable product” – what is the most barebones version of the technology you are trying to sell? “Bootstrapping” means literally pulling yourself up by your bootstraps – not caring if you have the trendy atrium office or the funky co-working space.

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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