Forget Venture Capital, Raise Mental Capital

In my short video review of the book Bootstrapping: Weapons of Mass Reconstruction by Sramana Mitra, I mentioned that she brings up the topic of mental capital. At many points throughout the book, Sramana talks about why entrepreneurs and start-ups should not go looking for venture capital, but instead focus on bootstrapping their business…hence the name of the book.

As a substitute for venture capital, she recommends getting as much mental capital as you can. Mental capital is the idea of utilizing the people around you (friends, family, mentors, and other business people) as your mental investors. It sounds pretty simple though – instead of going after venture capital (real money to surge into your business), bootstrap your business and gather as much mental capital (knowledge from other entrepreneurs, mentors, and business people) as you can. The mental capital that gets invested in your business by other people around you can be so much more beneficial to you and your company that it would worth more than any amount of venture capital.

As a young entrepreneur it’s important to soak up and get as much mental capital as you can. Talk with everyone around you, and more importantly, listen to everyone. Ask questions, discuss your business, get feedback, and then use it! If you’re a student entrepreneur, you even have another huge advantage over other young (recently out of college) entrepreneurs – you have so many more resources on campus: Your professors, library, resource centers, etc. Utilize them all, now.

Don’t let peoples suggestions just glaze over your head or in one ear and out the other. Be thankful for the time that people spend in giving you feedback, ideas, considerations, and sharing their contacts with you.

Now, go out there and get as much mental capital as you can and you will crush it.

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