Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” This is a line from his famous speech, “I Have A Dream” which he delivered on August 28, 1963 at Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for a dream he had which was attaining freedom for his people. He believed in it so much that he paid huge prices for it. It wasn’t to naught though, because his dream became a reality.
I have a dream too
Stories like this, inspire me and reassures me to hold onto hope and keep my dreams alive. This is the reason why when my sister talked to me about partnering with her to open a jewelry store she had always dreamed of owning, I jumped right at it. I wanted to help her achieve her dream. I didn’t think it was my dream too then to become an entrepreneur but I found out a while later. I will tell you how in this same article.
As first time entrepreneurs, we learnt many vital business lessons the hard way. One of the toughest lessons we learnt was how to raise capital for our business. It didn’t become an easy task till we learnt to think like venture capitalists. This is the first step in beginners guide to raising capital to start a dream business.
There’s no best time to start a business. Anyone who has the strong desire to become an entrepreneur can do so right away. If you don’t have the capital needed, don’t fret. Many people find ways to raise capital for a business every second. My sister and I also did it and here are the guidelines we learnt along the way and applied.
Before we get on to the guidelines, you might have the passion to own a business and provide jobs and a source of livelihood to others but the problem is, you don’t know where to start. I did not know I had this passion too till my sister’s business idea ignited it, however, this is what I did to find out whether I was on the right path.
How I found out I also wanted to be an entrepreneur is really simple. It applies to you too.
- Ask your friends and family members about what you are good at including practical skills.
- Make a list of the ones that were most mentioned.
- Pick out the top ones that appeal to you and can make you money while still being fulfilling.
- Ponder over them and pick out the one you can still picture yourself keenly pursuing in 50 years.
Like venture capitalists, entrepreneurs are proactive and resolute individuals. They are not afraid of putting their money where their mouth is. They believe so much in their idea that they are willing to take big risks to see their ideas off the ground. They are also confident enough to face major challenges but resilient enough to take the necessary measures needed to bounce back. Every first time entrepreneur must adopt and exhibit these skills. This is the attitude that will enable you employ these beginners guide to raising capital to start a dream business.
Beginners Guide 1: Start with the Money You Have
After being turned down countless times from family and friends we approached for money to start our jewelry business, we nearly lost hope. One hot afternoon when we found ourselves in a stuffy public bus, my sister just blurted out. Let’s start with the money we have. Being someone who felt safe knowing that I had some money saved for emergencies, I didn’t think twice about it at that moment. But after a whole month of still not being able to raise money, it dawned on me that this is the emergency. A week later, we were in business and I have not regretted that idea.
Beginners Guide 2: Use Social Media
This may sound odd right? But it shouldn’t. You won’t be asking your followers for money. You will pitch what you offer to them and those interested will get in touch with you. The money made from your customers here is what you use to get your business out into the world.
Beginners Guide 3: Barter your skills for a Business Gain
In time, we learnt that business favors mostly worked on a quid pro quo basis. To get our jewelry out of my sister’s car booth onto store shelves, we had to pay for it. Because we didn’t have the cash, we paid in services. My sister traded her accounting skills on weekends for the first store owner who agreed to display our jewelry in her store. It wasn’t a bad experience at all, while she did the books, I learnt more about how to deal with customers from my place in the corner of the store whilst pretending to read a book.
Beginners Guide 4: Get a Part-time Job to supplement your Income
Sadly, the first years into a business could become quite lean at a point. It doesn’t go that way for some people but my sister and I were struck by it. When this time came, we were advised by friends to take up part time jobs to earn additional income so that we will not rely on the meagre profits we were making at the time and boy did it help. My sister and I both loved kids so we took up part time teaching jobs in a day care. The extra money we got made sure we didn’t fold up.
Friends and family may not lend you cash but may give you invaluable advice.
Beginners Guide 5: Start with an Advance Payment
Before you take the plunge into starting your business, line up a client or two who are willing to pay you part of the fee for your product or service. You can start off small like this. It could be you don’t have the product in hand or you cannot fulfill the service because you can’t afford to purchase the tools you will need for the job. What you have to do then is to present a mock product in picture or present your service on paper and be sure to deliver once you get paid else that will be the end of your business idea.
Beginners Guide 6: Team up with an Angel Investor
Since most banks are weary of granting loans to startups, this type of investor gets you the capital needed to start your dream business by guaranteeing a bank loan in their name. This money will be given to you to finance the business. That’s an angel in his own right there. One good thing about this is, you are saved from the hassle of a loan process. In return though, you have to give the investor ownership of a portion of the business.
Another good thing about having an angel investor is that you can start big if you consider this approach to raising capital to start a dream business. Big in the sense that you can afford to hire additional hands right away. With the increasing knowledge in the benefits of online job posting boards, recruitment has been made easy. You can post customized and professional job descriptions affordably as well as hand pick the employee you want on these sites.
Furthermore, going with an angel investor requires that you learn all there is to know about the field of your business. Not to worry you by mentioning this fact but there’s a loan hanging on your neck even though not directly you need to pay back. It is wise that you look at what your competitors are doing by tracking their company profiles and reviews and implementing the positive things you learn about them. As time goes on, you have to up your game to beat your competitors who you should regard as rivals in order to be on top in that particular field. It should be a top priority if you want to do well and become successful.
Let your dream become a reality
My sister and I are at this point. We are considering teaming up with an angel investor to expand our business. We really want to get our business off the ground and open a new store in another part of town. Although we have been in business for 2 years, we still regard ourselves as newbie entrepreneurs. We won’t stop till we are comfortable enough to rely solely on our returns for growth.
Always remember that line from Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech; the will to starting a dream business must be kept alive always no matter the circumstances. Again, remember to instill the proactive and resolute attitude in yourself because it is the trait that will help implement these beginners guide to raising capital to start a dream business.