I was having this conversation with a business coach colleague yesterday. She deals with a lot of business owners, especially those starting out and those experiencing rapid growth. She'd been doing some research and one article she read suggested that a major reason that businesses fail is because of a lack of capital. This got me thinking about how people fund their ventures and whether they need a lot of capital to start their own business.
To be honest this really depends. If you are a product based business obviously you will need capital to invest in product but, if you were to start a service based business, you can often times get your business started with little or no investment plus time. You will need some capital though and there are some options available to you:
Friends and Family- Many people look to family and friends to fund their business ventures, especially if the funding required is small. Family and friends will generally offer you generous repayment terms on your business loan but make sure everything is done professionally. You don't want to ruin relationships with friends and family for the sake of a few dollars. Also, if you get money from family and friends, make sure you allow them to share in your business successes.
Business Credit Cards- Business credit cards are another popular option that people look at when they aim to grow their business. Business credit cards can help with cash flow and, if you pick the right card, you can sign up to a rewards program and get points that can be redeemed for flights, accommodation or a variety of other rewards that may be useful to you. These rewards can be a pleasant little bonus for all of your hard work.
Investors- If your business idea is groundbreaking, or if your business plan is solid, you may be able to pitch to investors and get some investment in your company. If you expect rapid growth or you have a ground breaking product, then this may be the option for you. The problem with investors is that you may lose some of your decision making power as you give away part of your business to an investor.
At the end of the day, the most important factors for business success are clearly defined goals, the dedication to achieve them and then a marketing plan that will get your business in front of people. If you do need business finance there are options available to you. I have outlined three of these above.