The goal of this article, (this is part II), is to offer suggestions on how to build a company and give it a chance to stand on its feet, while spending nothing more than the legal fee to register as a company and a domain name. Hopefully it will afford you more time to try to build your company well.For part I, click “How to Create a Software Startup, Part I.”
Legal DocumentsAt some point, a company needs patents, trademarks, copyrights, operating agreements and equity-vesting schedule documents. There are at least two options on how to get these for free. You can barter. Some lawyers will work for equity, but this is my least favorite method because the documents listed above require an intellectual property lawyer, a general business lawyer, and likely along the way, you will need a few other types of lawyers. Typically, the fewer equity holders you have the better. My favorite approach is to D.I.Y (Do It Yourself). Make sure you only create the documents you really need. A lawyer might write up a 50-page partnership agreement that will take tens of hours and cost tens of thousands of dollars, but it is much easier to work with partners you can trust and be able to write a simple document that covers the basics and allows you to move on and focus on running the actual business.
Office SpaceThere is some debate in the bootstrapping world about whether to have an office or not. I would say it is much better to not have an office. Don’t make your partners waste time, money, and stress tolerance on commuting. Why not use those to work on the actual company?! And when there have to be meetings, just get creative and find what works.
Holding MeetingsGet used to online meetings using Skype video chat, and other remote conferencing software. It will help you avoid trekking down to the local Starbucks and more importantly, open you up to working and collaborating with people anywhere in the world.
Registering Domain NamesThis is one area where you have to pay a little. A domain name costs about $10/year. I realize nearly all the good domain names are taken. My advice is that instead of going out and buying a $1,000 domain name, hold out on buying a domain name for your company until you have at least a somewhat clear marketing and branding strategy. Once do you do decide to look for a domain name, here are some good qualities of a name you should look for:
- * No more than 5 syllables
* Catchy and easily rolls of the tongue
* Easy to spell and has no uncommon misspellings (if it does, buy those domains too)
* Gives a general clue about what you offer, but is not too specific