By Phillip Chichoni
“Money is there only to make things happen.” – Richard Branson
Money, money, money. Many entrepreneurs fail to get their exciting businesses off the ground because of lack of money.
Well, I say money should not delay you or stop you from starting up. Money is just one of those problems that entrepreneurs must solve. Tradition financial institutions will not fund a new business because of the risks involved. In most cases, new entrepreneurs will not have the collateral security or proven past performance as required by banks.
However, there are many ways that entrepreneurs around the world are raising money for their businesses which you can learn from.
The most important thing you need to learn is to use your brain and be creative. Money without creativity will not build a successful business. I am sure you know of many businesses that have closed despite getting a lot of financial support.
Below are some ways that many entrepreneurs are using to raise money, both for starting up as well as for expansion.
- Open your own wallet first. Tap into savings, home mortgage, or retirement accounts. It is risky, but don’t expect others to invest in your start-up if you haven’t put some of your own money in. Knowledgeable investors want to see founders show confidence with cash. They favor entrepreneurs with more than “just” sweat equity in the game.
- Circle of family and friends. People who know you, like you and trust you are the ones most likely to give you money to fund your business. So pitch your idea to family and friends, get them very excited and they will support you. Be careful, though, to make the deal very clear to everyone: investing in any type of business is a risk with the possibility of losing their money. It is best to put all agreements into a written contract to avoid problems if anything goes wrong.
- Start with a smaller business. An entrepreneur I know started by raising rabbits and chickens in order to accumulate the money required for his bigger project. It took almost a year but he successfully managed to raise the capital he needed. New business owners can try “double-dipping” as a means of funding their startup. Entrepreneur Alex Genadinik used his revenue from tours he organized on ComeHike.com to launch Problemio.com, which builds mobile apps for planning and starting a business. After receiving donations for some of the free hikes he led, Genadinik began to charge for events, where he marketed his new site to hikers. “I tried everything else before that, including monetizing with ads and becoming an affiliate reseller for outdoor gear, but it didn’t quite work,” Genadinik said. “This allowed me to work on my project without the distraction of looking for investors.”
- Bootstrap. Paying as you go by earning revenue from early adopters and managing every cent like it was a dollar is the most cost-effective way to stretch your company’s resources–financial and otherwise. Nothing is scarcer than cash (except maybe sleep) when you’re starting out. The more you can bootstrap in the beginning to achieve good market validation, the easier you are going to find your path to raising capital. Some entrepreneurs started their businesses operating from home, or sharing offices, delivery trucks, machinery and equipment. Bootstrapping your company — building it with existing resources and earned revenue — offers companies a low-risk way to test out their product. If you and your partners are able to work toward creating a functional product in your spare time, you may be able to begin to sell that product with minimal or no cash.
- Crowdfunding. Putting your idea for a new business up on the Internet and asking people to donate money so you can go ahead and do it is an increasingly popular way for new businesses to get funded – and there are a growing number of crowdfunding portal websites where you can post your business idea and campaign for funds. Some of the biggest crowdfunding portals in the world include Kickstarter and Indiegogo. JumpStart Africa and Thundafund.com are some of the fast growing crowdfunding portals in Africa.
- Savings clubs. This a popular and fast growing method of funding small start-ups. A group of people come together and contribute some cash into the club, either as a lump sum or as monthly investments. Members can borrow from this pool to finance their businesses. Most informal traders and small business operators rely on this form of fundraising, as the following story affirms: EcoCash Savings Club launched.
Get more creative ideas at http://smebusinesslink.com.
Have a great day