A very common problem with aspiring entrepreneurs is that they have an idea but not the starting capital. It is true that having a good bank account, a team of investors or rich parents makes starting a business a lot easier, not having money is no excuse for laziness. If you are confident that you can offer something that the people want, do not be discouraged by your lack of capital. You can bootstrap your way to a successful business by pivoting, being persistent, differentiating yourself and getting creative.
Pivot, use services to create cash flow and fund your product based business.
A service oriented business is easy to start. You just have to provide services for money. On the other hand a product based business requires a significant investment to just get started. If you want to start a product based business and have no capital you can start by selling services to generate the cash flow needed to fund your product based business.
Be persistent. Nothing can replace hard work
A lot of times, especially in the beginning, you have to do the dirty work yourself. Do not be discouraged by this. Sometimes you have to work without any returns. As long you are making clients happy, do not think this is futile. You can hire people later if you cannot afford to hire someone at the moment. Just keep making progress.
Be creative. There are a lot of ways you can fund your business
The traditional methods in entrepreneurship say that you should stick with the things that are known to work and do not try anything new. But that isn’t always the best strategy. If you having trouble gathering the funds then you should get creative and find new ways like:
Use existing resources in new ways.
Sometimes you might not be able to make a profit. Maybe you’ll even work for a loss. This is the time when you should rethink how you are using your resources. Maybe some of your employees have some skill set you can use to offer more services to your customers. You might even get more clients with the improved suite of services. This might be just the thing that you need to turn up a profit and get back to your core services. So if you’re facing the capital crunch, scout out your existing resources for new uses.
Get a credit line.
A little credit in the beginning might be the thing you need to get those essentials running. Some banks offer special loans especially designed for startups that have special provisions to help startups get up and running. Though be cautious when going for this as it is very easy to get caught up in debt. An advice here would be to keep the purchases down and focus on bolstering the existing infrastructure.
Use an Incubator.
If you are confident about your business idea and have a solid business plan, you might want to look into business incubators. If your idea is accepted, the programs will provide funding that is specially designed to help a startup company. They might even offer you an office space to operate from. Most of these programs are aponsored by local economic development organizations or colleges.
Find an Accelerator.
Accelerators are like incubators, they provide startups with funding, but they expect a rapid growth in investment. So if you are confident and ready to take the market by a storm, go for an Accelerator.
This is the new source of funding that was born on the internet. These are becoming very popular sources of funding for new startups, especially for innovative tech businesses. Platforms like Kickstarter allow the public to invest a small amount of money in return for a future buy in.
Differentiate yourself. Small things make a big difference.
After you reach the equivalent of a million dollars in revenue, people and organizations would be more willing to fund you. If you got to banks, they do not care what kind of company you are, their only concern is your profit/loss statement. If you are a profitable company and you have maintained a good credit score then your chances of bagging a loan of up to $200,000 increases many folds.
If you have a steady revenue stream but need a little boost to reach the million-dollar mark, make sure that you make every possible effort to make your company stand out. Letters of commitment from notable investors, existing revenue or contract to acquire some revenue and/or, intellectual property that is a potential revenue source, are all factors that will work in your favor when pitching to investors and lenders.
In the end the only real way to start getting revenue for your company is to get to work and work smart. Do not fall for people that try to sell you shortcuts to easy profit, there is none. But if you are sure that you have a product or service that is wanted in the market, you can rocket your way to the top using the above mentioned points.