March 10, 2015
Entrepreneurs where do you gain capital in a tight market. The models of even ten years ago was to go to the bank, family and friends for service and product companies. Service companies today must have models, Apps and software or analytics to prove sound. Products must solve a problem or create social interest to prove capital worthy. Where do entrepreneurs go when they fit neither? The new crowd funding applies, as well as financing on contract growth. The use of crowd funding is one choice and building over time based on liquid funds is slow.
Great ideas or innovation is funded by the Government under SBIRs and SBA. The ability to innovate is sometimes a burden based on capital. So the question today is how to succeed in sparse times where money is abundant but you may not equitable accessibility?
There is no short answer or everyone would be wealthy or wise. No company is too big to fail or free from a startup mind. This mindset has effected big business and small to collapse because they could not think small enough to remain healthy. Here are a few tings I have learned and advised clients over the years. There are answers to the this phenomenon.
- Get a partner that access to the one of three capitals: 1. Economic, 2. Social or 3. Intellectual. One can open doors but having all three is almost a home run. Determine if your potential partner fit is good not by your collegiality but “self-interest”. The same self-interest can avoid future calamity.
- Target your market precisely. Precisely is most often not conventional. It is easy to go where every door has been opened. Seek opportunities in untapped targets that need your problem.
- Everything has a key for a problem. Determine if what you are offering is the key for that problem to unlock success.
- Do not give up to quickly. The results are often embodied in the work.
- Be wise on your time when you have less capital. Time is money and you cannot afford to leverage both.
- Bundle to leverage. Determine if what you have and offer is worth the risk for the return.
- Seek grants and institutions to capitalize your idea. Institutions need ideas and partners to produce.
- Operate lean until you can deliver on capacity. It is wise to continue to operate as lean as the work demands.
- Understand your clients history and payment culture. Getting big is always not the best method for staying power- sustainability. A big order can diffuse your resources and a produce intelligence and capital bankruptcy.
- Look globally and work locally. Locate and determine if global resources can change your capital outlay or play.
- Lower every expense until your pocket book affords the bigger eye candy.
- Social Media and Content is the new butter. People and companies seek you in search before they do business unless your brand name and your reputation proceeds you. Be content focused and content wise. Build up your press for access. This has short and long-term impact. As Barbara Walters said,” If its worth doing share it.” Be wise not to over share!
- Beware of paying to play. Pay for work can be a generator but it’s best to determine what venue is for pay, play or social commitment. Sometimes a venue or event produces both results. As a small women owned and minority businesses we are invited to so many things branded as opportunity when in fact they are social or distractions. Remember #2.
- Be political and business savvy. There is politics in all things despite your appetite.
- Get a Consiliary or Consigliere. Get wise people or mentors in your life to assist you in the good and downturns. They are not there just to guide in rocky waters but in smooth as well. We can underestimate our think tank. We all need one.
- Last, and biggest. Especially for women. Trust your gift and yourself. Advisers advise but in the end you must decide. Lawyers advise but in the end they look to you and ask “what do you wish to do?”. You must use your gut and mind to determine your road that may seem lonely or crowded.
Capital is hard currency but we must use all the accessible currency we have to leverage our success. Entrepreneurs are a weird breed. They work with passion sometimes without results. These people can lead and follow with the right culture, ecosystem and their self-interest supported. Determine what capital you need and seek it but be aware it may not be packaged as you wish. Entrepreneurs must remain agile enough to win over time- this is sustainability!