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There’s No Money

July 29, 2009

I get a host of similar remarks when I speak to groups of would-be business owners everywhere I go. “There’s no money”, or “I haven’t got collateral”, or “My credit is good, but I still can’t get a loan”. The sentiment is common. Surprisingly, this is one of the more interesting problems in starting a business because we get to be creative. What else could we do to raise capital? How do we find another kind of backer? What are the options?

To answer these questions, first let go of the inner critic. We all know who that is with the droning voice, “This will never work. This is impossible!” Once that’s gone, get to work. The next step is to identify people who could benefit from what you are trying to do. You may not have met them yet, but if you can identify a couple of these people or companies, you can set your next goal to meet with them. Maneuver your way to them with the networks of people until you reach the decision makers.

Start a discussion with your elevator pitch. Sell your idea. Sell the benefits to all of the individuals you talk to, up to and including the decision makers. People want to be part of something. People want to buy into an idea. Once you’ve met with the decision makers and defined how beneficial your concept is to them they will be more welcoming to a discussion of how to structure such a partnership or arrangement. It is likely your ingenuity and your creative approach to raising capital will leave a lasting impression on the people encounter. You will be amazed by how many people want to help.

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We the People

July 14, 2009

Right now, I’m listening to Pandora radio online. It is free and it is better than any of my own playlists. It brings things to me that it thinks I might like. It adds value to my current musical selections.

Right now, I’m working on this transmission using Google Docs. It is free and it is better than emailing versions of documents back and forth for comment or editing. It adds value to my current document creation options.

Right now, I’m thinking about information I’m offering at a regional chamber. I’m listening to what people are saying on Twitter and other communities about their business development needs and their community needs. These listening tools are free.

We the people have spoken. We the people are tired of isolation brought on by protecting our fiefdoms. We the people want to build a community based on honesty and trust. We the people want to build a community that lifts dialogue to a higher level than monologue. We the people know that together we are stronger. We the people know that the most powerful word is we.

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Planning, Leave the Analysis Paralysis Behind

June 16, 2009

One of the most common conversations I have with clients circles back to me urging the client to be more precise and direct when planning the business. The funder wants to see these details and the client should want to lay out these details so that there is a framework for self measurement. The clients have a few different reasons for avoiding the planning. The number one reason I have encountered is that the client doesn’t want to be accountable for these early plans or numbers.

I reflect on this, now, as I write this blog. I certainly identify with these entrepreneurs I’ve counseled. I have considered and reconsidered this blog for approximately 2 weeks. I wasn’t sure how to strategize. I wasn’t sure how to clearly offer my experience and knowledge. As it turns out, I will tell myself what I tell my clients presented with the same kind of challenge.

It’s the very basics of business planning. And it’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Define it, plan it, execute it, measure it.

  1. What do you provide and what need will that fill?
  2. Who are your customers going to be and why will they choose to purchase from you?
  3. How will you get in front of your potential customers?
  4. How are you going to pay for this?

Stop looking so far forward that steps one through four have been overlooked. When you’ve taken one step, the second and third are much easier and you don’t have to go into analysis paralysis figuring out how to teleport to step 5.

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