HOW I STARTED MY BUSINESS WITH ZERO-CAPITAL
Many people who want to prove their productivity, think of starting a business but there is always this brick wall “How do I get capital to start up my business” Starting a business is not a big deal but getting the capital to do the business is a big deal to many people. Many great ideas are dead in the grave for lack of capital. Many have shot down a new business idea because the last idea they had could not see the light of the day! This is a big frustration for many business starters. Many business plans are rotten on the shelf because of lack of capital to set the business rolling! Greater frustration occurs when you run to the bank, thinking they would rescue but the “Collateral wall” can become so difficult to break. If you feel this frustration starting a business while you cannot raise a capital you always needed, them we are 2 among millions of other people living on the street. In this edition I will share with you productive strategies I used to start my business with “No Cash-Capital” This piece can be of a great help to you as I share ways to raise capitals when you don’t have cash.
1. Relationship Money: Many times that we look for money outside our “wealthy zone” Your wealthy zone is the money around you that you never exploit. You ignore them because they are too close to you. Relationship is powerful because until you share your burden with trusted people around, you may not know how wealthy you are. These categories of people are friends and family. Remember one key that unlocks the money you are looking for is VISION; share the vision, show the business prospects and ability to make money back with this idea. Nobody put money on you if you don’t believe in “you” and the capacity to make profit from your idea. So look around, your cash may be in the pocket of your friends and family. Before you meet them do a very explicit business plan and a very clear business model. Your family and friend who will put money on your idea will not do it out of emotion; they would like to see figures and prospect. If you are able to do that, you are good to go. When I started my first business, I needed money to start, I approached my family and friends with my financial projection and business plan, not all of them responded though but two people who responded gave me up to 1.5 to pursue my dream. They believed in me and I must never let them down.
2. Integrity Money: So many people will say that they have tried many family and friends last time and I get no kobo! Yes! The capital you needed to build is “Integrity Capital” You need to build trust, let the people be able to trust you! When people that know you can trust you enough, they can give to you enough. The last time you collected money for a small assignment did you return back the balance? The last time you held a position in the family or among your friends, were you able to present your value of integrity and trust. Anytime you build trust, you build capital for your business. Trust gives you access to the heart of the investors within your “wealth-Zone” Trust is a big capital to explore! Start to build your Integrity-Capital profile by finding a conscious way to do something for family and friends to earn their integrity and trust. Let one of your strong your value in life be integrity. Live it until it becomes a part of you! What you don’t know is you are building a capital base of integrity that will translate to Trust and would translate to cash you have always been looking for. Most of the jobs I got that served as capital for me were the job I got through recommendations from people who I have earn their trust over the years and my integrity capital is intact with them.
3. Experience Money: Any experience you got is a capital you can use to start your business. Many times we look outside for the capital that we already have within. All your past experiences, background, history, skills, knowledge and past events of your life can be a source of capital to start to your business idea. A lady who once lived in the North (through the NYSC scheme) knows where the Hausas rear Tomatoes, was involved in buying and interacting with the Tomatoes sellers, understand their language and the market metric. When she wanted to start the tomatoes business in Lagos, here experience came to bear. She opened up her old contact in the north, she already had people who could supply her and be paid after sales because of her integrity capital while she was in the north. Her experience and past event of her life gave her more opportunity to start the business than someone without the experience. When you are sourcing business capital, stop and look back and check your past experiences or contact that could give you a leverage rather than looking for cash first! Cash is not everything, experience cannot be bought in the market but it can be a great asset investors can put money on. Your past is not a misstate, it can be a an advantage if your deeply look into it. No experience is bad but your perception makes it so, if you look back with the view of getting something good from it, it can become a goldmine. You cannot believe that when I started my business, all my university days experience became a major leverage for me. I was in student union Government and met with many politicians, no doubt that some Government institutions are my client today!
4. Collaborative Money: One of the things that kill business is “Going alone” Many business die in African because the business-owner would rather want to go alone, raise money, produce alone, sell alone and make all the profit alone. Those who go small end small. One of the greatest discoveries of smart business men of our time is the OPM: Other people’s money. Why struggle to raise small capital to fund that great idea because you don’t want others to share from your dream business. The problem of business men who rather go small to achieve their dream alone is “Ego” but such a business can never fly in the horizon. You can access bigger capital by if you would collaborate with other people to make your business idea a reality. Your capital at this point could be “Your Idea” while others bring in the market, others their network, while others bring in their expertise and some others “cash”. What do you need cash for when someone is going you the contact that will sell all your products produce, why do you need cash when another person will give you the machine and the space to operate your office to produce, what is the relevant of cash when all that you require to start the business is taken by somebody who could afford it as part of investment. All you need to do hear is to have a clear document of equity sharing and everybody smile home fulfilled. At a point in my business I needed office, new computer and printer, tools, staff and all sort to take my business to the next level, I needed cash badly but one day I met some people who gave me office, some printer, other car (as partner in my business idea) Let me ask you what cash am I looking for?
5. Seed Money: Sometimes when businessmen are looking for capital, the first thing that comes to their mind is “Where do I get money to start?” “Who will give me this XY amount to start?” “Which Bank will give me?” Less than 5% think “What do I have to start with?” Everyone has something to start with, the question is how important your business idea or vision is to you. If you have a gold you are keeping in your house and your business is not taking off from the shore, then your gold is important than your business idea. If you have precious items you can sell, comfortable things in your house that can bring in money for you, why watch your business dream dying without help. I will know how important your business idea is when I see the extent of your sacrifice. Anything you sell or dispose to start your business will always come back to you. If you don’t believe in yourself by investing first in yourself who will invest in you? You need to pay price on your dream, you need to make it work first before others may see you or come in to help you! Get into your closet and look through the corners of your house and see what you may need to dispose to find feet and stability for your business. The good news is, you are not under external pressure to return the money because it’s your own. When I started business, it was hard and tough to raise money to start or for people to believe in you, what did I do? I sold some of my home appliances, gold and diamond I wear on my fingers and neck. What is the essence of carrying your capital on your fingers and neck? That became my first capital to start my consulting business! Today the story has changed; I can buy 100 of all those things I sold.
Conclusion: Business ideas are great; one business idea has the capacity to land you in fortune. Business ideas can bring your name on the front page of a global news paper! It is your responsibility to work it out; the onion is on you to make your business idea a reality. You can’t watch your idea on the paper; you can’t just keep your business idea in a proposal. The time of your visibility is here, go and start that business. You now know what to do to get the capital to start. Go out there and make it happen. Your productivity is not measured by the idea you have in your mind rather what you make happen. What is stopping you to do that which you said you will do? What would you do if nothing can stop you? Capital can never be the reason for you not to fulfill your business dream against! Go out there and make a full proof of your productivity. I see your business idea becoming a global tree and generation yet unborn celebrating your decision to start the business! Go and make this happen! You have no excuse! My business is no where it uses to be but I took the bold step to raise my capital within and without. The beauty of business is to know what exactly to do to move to next level! What are you waiting for?
President, School of Productivity and CEO, Solvere Word Consult