In the startup world, there is a lot of conversation about raising VC funding and successful exits.
But what if you didn’t do either in your software business?
I know thousands of software company founders and CEOs.
By far the happiest founders I know are the ones doing these two things:
- They never raised any outside funding, and
- They have no intention of selling their growing business.
Yes, it probably was harder to get these software businesses started without some outside funding. But they didn’t absolutely need it. And they wanted to do it their own way.
So they did the hard work to create a steadily growing software business on their own funding first (savings or profits), then customer funding (revenues) after that.
This is totally possible in the software business. Especially now.
These founders love their employees, customers, products, and companies.
They love building things.
- Building great products and companies.
- Building brands and culture.
- Building employees and customers.
- Building profitable and efficient businesses.
If they had raised money, they would have lost some control they have over how they build things.
If they sold the company, these founders would just take their prize money and build a new company with a different product and team and market.
Seriously. If you love this game, would you really just want to relax and play golf or play the angel investment game full time?
If building and growing things are the most fun, why would you sell your successful and profitable software company that is finally working so well?
Why would you try to grow it so fast that it turns into something you don’t like doing every day?
I’m not saying this is a recommended path for all founders and entrepreneurs.
I am saying this:
In my experience, the founders and teams of these businesses are BY FAR having the most fun, doing really amazing work, and living their best lives.
Their businesses are growing profitably and spitting out cash for founders. Their employees are growing. They are serving happy customers. Growing their markets too.
It feels totally healthy to everyone involved. Not easy, but healthy.
Not pushed too hard with the “bad drugs” of too much funding. Or the rush to an inflated exit.
This kind of “never sell software biz” takes time to build.
Sometimes they don’t make it to scale before competitors take them out. Or they take the prize and sell it.
But it’s a real and exciting possibility that I wish more startup founders knew was out there.
If you’re super savvy, disciplined, and focused–and you love building–I’d recommend this as your default startup scenario.
You can always sell if it turns into something you don’t love doing.
But what if it didn’t?