So you need money? To start your own business? Then you’re in the right place. Not to GET money, but to learn how to do it. To learn what works and what doesn’t.
This course will take you through the process step-by-step. But be forewarned: while the principles discussed here are sound, real life is a lot messier. Funding your business won't be straightforward; there will be many pitfalls, twists and turns, false starts and disappointments. Besides finding paying clients, securing the necessary finance for your start-up business is one of the toughest challenges that you will face in starting and developing your business.
But before we get there, let’s tackle a simple but tough question.
Are You Sure You Want To Do This?
Starting your own business is all-consuming. It will consume your time, your money, your financial security, your family, your friends and it will possibly consume your sanity and your ability to think clearly.
What are the stumbling blocks you will most certainly face?
- You will have to work long hours, and, even with the most successful of fundraising campaigns, accept that money will be tight and your finances uncertain.
- Be prepared to handle rejection, over and over, again. You must learn to handle “no” and not take it personally. A tip to keep your spirits up: interpret every “no” as “not yet”. Even then, expect it to get lonely.
- It gets even lonelier if you’re in this by yourself. It makes so much sense to start a business with equally minded but differently gifted partners. We often think of an entrepreneur as a “lone wolf”, but they are the exception, not the rule. We do remember Bill Gates, but forget that he started Microsoft with Paul Allen. And Steve Jobs was the face of Apple, but without co-founder Steve Wozniak he would never have been able to launch Apple.
- Buy-in from the most important people in your life is essential! Your partner or spouse, your children, your family will also have to make sacrifices. Do they understand that and are they willing to do that? Are family finances (joint savings, etc.) going to be invested in the business or are family assets (house, car) going to be used as collateral to get a loan? They’d better be in on it: starting businesses fail all the time; you don’t want your relationships to follow suit.
- Can you handle risk and the stress that goes along with that? Uncertainty, financial insecurity, not knowing what your next step should be will be your daily bread.
Can you and your family survive if the business goes south or takes much longer to take off than you thought? You can’t run a business on an empty stomach. A rule of thumb says you should have at least enough money to survive six months, although 12 months is probably much safer. It’s very hard to turn a profit in such a short time. And please make sure you’re sufficiently insured should you become ill or unable to work.