For many of our clients, the unfortunate truth Is that funding their small business is the biggest obstacle that they encounter. In this series of three posts, we are going to share the story of Jackie, the problems she faced, and how she overcame them.
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Jackie was like any other entrepreneur. She was so excited about her idea. She knew she had a winner. What she didn’t really know what how to bring that idea to market. It wasn’t that she didn’t try to learn, but the steps are challenging and complex. Plus, the advice she was getting was conflicting, confusing, or frankly, condescending. Listening to too many cooks can be a mistake. When she was referred to us, she was feeling a bit defeated and beaten down. She had been struggling to get funding for her small business, and she wasn’t sure why.
The Struggle Is Real...
Depending on the business, start-up costs can be small to strikingly high. Even if you aren’t in start-up mode, the process is the same. The first step is always to create a comprehensive list. How? If you’re in start-up mode, it starts with your business model. Our post is a great primer if you need one. If you’re not in start-up mode, make a complete list of all the project’s costs.
Jackie needed a model makeover
Jackie had built a good business model, but it needed a little makeover before it was ready for showtime. She was missing a few basics. We don’t want to bore you with all the details. However, suffice it to say, there were some gaps between spending and sales projections, a few production cost omissions, and somewhat over-optimistic overhead costs. So we helped her revitalize that business plan for a new age. And that was step one to find small business funding.
The Olympic Hurdle Race for Small Business Funding
When trying to determine what’s getting in your way, it can sometimes feel like the Olympic hurdle race. This can leave you feeling like you’re struggling. But that doesn’t have to be the case!
What do you mean me? Yes, you. The first hurdle is to be brutally honest with yourself about what you want this business to be. Is it a legacy? Is it to make money, and leave? Is it something to put every cent into? What is it to you? We have to answer this question first, or we could waste our time chasing the wrong type of funding for Jackie’s small business.
- Business Concept
Being laser-focused on how you are different is key. If you can get that across, then it’s game over. Once you cross that hurdle, it has to pass the red-face test. Is it believable? Credible? Can it be done? Sometimes these issues can be fixed with minor changes, but sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board.
- Singing & Dancing
I sincerely wish it wasn’t true, but the presentation can make or break the deal. If the energy level isn’t right or the audience doesn’t perceive a high level of enthusiasm, a great idea can die. This is one of the hardest lessons that I, personally, had to learn.
- ‘T’s crossed and ‘I’s dotted
Regardless of how great a show, if the numbers don’t make sense or the market doesn’t seem well researched, you can easily lose your audience. Yes, there are some unicorns that just sold dreams, but they are as rare in real-life as the were in myth.
- Sticker Shock
This is one of the key areas where mismatched expectations can really be a problem. It’s very important to be realistic about how much you can raise. It’s better to base your strategy on standard financial metrics than on luck.
- Market Competition
Even the best idea can get drowned out by all the noise. You can bet there are more ideas than money. Therefore, being able to communicate your point of difference quickly is critical. You have to cut through market competition, or you will not be heard.
We had a long heart-to-heart talk with Jackie about her business and what she wanted from it. She was looking for something she could build long-term. Jackie wasn’t against bringing on a partner if it made sense, but wanted to maintain as much control as possible. She had a solid business concept. Truthfully, all she did need was a little spit and polish, plus ensuring all the ‘I’s and ‘t’s we in place for funding her small business. Her ask was reasonable, so we were left we the next step. Where to go?
Well, come back tomorrow to learn more!