Business Model Playbook / Bootstrap Design Patterns?

After listening to many of the Indie Hackers / YCombinator / How I Built This / etc. podcast interviews, a common theme is that there are many viable paths to growing a successful business. The general advice on how to take advice is to project what other people have learned onto your unique context in a way that makes sense in your own head.

This leads to consuming a large number of case studies from successful founders across a wide context. All these case studies are very useful to understand in depth, but I think it could also be interesting to see all the takeaways abstracted / synthesized into a single frame.

I imagine this looking something like a business model playbook that illustrates the common patterns used by successful companies that are backed by concrete examples.

For example, seeing the different strategies people used before they could pay themselves (e.g. only work nights / weekends, save up $50K then work full time, get into an incubator, etc.). Then list the companies that employed each strategy to success and share a bit about their context. Or a section on distribution patterns (e.g. what types of products work well via word-of-mouth, other types that lend well to using social media influencers, etc.). This list could go on for a while but basically what I'm looking for is something kind of like the bootstrapped company version of Universal Principles of Design.

Has anybody ran into any resources that align with this general idea?

  1. 3

    A few books which do a subset of that are:

    • Traction by Weinberg (20 strategies for growth with lots of examples, based directly on 200+ interviews)
    • The Customer Funded Business by Mullins (5 business model templates which can be bootstrapped early and then scale later into large businesses)
    • Startup Owner's Manual by Blank (kind of a choose your own adventure for scalable startups, but academic and fairly heavy reading)
    • Simply Seven by Waesche & co (never became popular, but featured the 7 fundamental business models of the internet)

    That's just top of mind... I'm sure there are lots of others for the various choices within the overall journey.

    Edit: The Startup Owner's Manual was clearly an attempt to do what you describe, and its shortcomings are telling... I imagine any comprehensive effort will similarly become too big, too complex, and become quickly outdated. But maybe you've got a more breakthrough imagination for what it could look like than I do ;)

    1. 1

      Oh sweet! What an awesome list, thank you! I've always liked Blank. And I'm generally skeptical of things that claim absolute truths so I appreciate resources that are humble about their scope. My bookshelf just got a little bit bigger :)

  2. 3

    Jake this is probably something you can make and share with others!

    1. 1

      Ah true, I will add it to the projects list!

  3. 1

    I haven't come across something like that, though have thought along similar lines in the past. It would be an amazing resource.

    I'm currently collating lots of indie hacking type info into a Notion workspace, I am trying to make sense of what everyone is talking about here and further afield.

    1. 2

      Notion workspace is a great idea! I'd be interested to learn more about how you make sense of it once you have something to share! :)

      1. 1

        Yeah, I plan to share it, it's just a bit of a mess at the moment!

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          What format are you thinking of pushing this out in? I'd be super interested to see it.

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