For a bright idea to see the light of day, funds are most important. But before you approach the VCs and professionals for funding, here are some methods by which you can get off to a start.
- Savings & Assets – Check your assets and see what you can monetize. Sell, mortgage, or leverage. If you have a piece of ancestral land languishing somewhere, put it to better use. Or if you have silverware is gathering dust, its time to make it shine. Have the courage to believe in your idea and yourself.
- Consulting / Moonlighting - If you have high value skills, earn and invest. Consider offering your services as a consultant to earn those extra funds, which can then be ploughed back into your business. Ideally, work with people who will play an important role in your business. That way you not just offer your services, but forge stronger relations with them.
- Friends & Colleagues – Do not hesitate to ask your friends and colleagues. There is no shame in asking for help. They are likely to be the most supportive, because they are the people who know and trust you. They will support a true dream if you can share the passion and the conviction.
- Community – There are many communities in our country, that get together to celebrate religious functions and wedding. But a community can be more useful than this. Businesses help build communities – and your community leaders know that. Many communities will happily fund you if they think you deserve it. Approach your community leader and he will find a way to help. Dawoodi Bohras and Kutchi Bhatias are two examples of communities.
- Business Associates – They have to be approached very skillfully. Suppliers, vendors, and services providers who understand and appreciate your business ideas will chip in if approached tactfully – in cash or in kind. If they understand the value of your business idea and like you as a person, they will give you the money.
- Professional Channels – As a new businessman, you may not be sure whom to approach for funds and how to approach them. Try the professionals. Bankers, lawyers, management consultants, brokers, architects, engineers and sundry gurus – if they like your business idea, they will take you to the money. These professionals have a wide circle of contacts and will know more people than you do and can surely be of help.
- Customers – If you are clear in your mind about your TG and know the customers for your product/service go and talk to them. Customers who have faith in you will give advances and even invest – once they are convinced of the value that your business delivers.
After you have tried all these methods if you still don’t get funds, then don’t be disheartened. Await a proper opportunity, re-think the business plan, re-think the scale / scope,
re-think location, re-think priorities and find others like you to join hands with. Talk to everyone who will listen and keep the faith that one day someone will buy your idea. Never, ever give up – keep trying!