…at least not right away. Many aspiring business owners often think of a great idea, then immediately focus all their energy into looking for funding. This is the wrong move. While funding is a CRITICAL step in launching any new business, it’s not the first thing you should consider when you startup. I’m a corporate refugee turned entrepreneur. I wasn’t even sure where to start when I had the idea for my first business, NuKitchen, the innovative online diet service that I ultimately sold to Nutrisystem; least of all was how much funding I needed to procure. I had to ask myself how much money did my new business idea require, was it: $50K or $500K? What I really needed to do first was write out a plan – a projected path that would designate what I would need to do to launch my business idea in the next 6-12 months.
Yes, I had an idea that was game-changing but that alone wasn’t enough to guarantee success. Planning played a key role. There are lots of great ideas out there, but taking the time and energy to plan is what makes the difference between success and failure. I took the necessary steps to turn my idea into a business by scoping out my idea, figuring out how I could make money, learning the industry, incorporating, writing a plan, and then, finally getting the funding to launch. So, whether you go to SCORE for guidance, decide to manage your startup process on Wicked Start, or align your startup with a more “hands-on” accelerator such as the Founder Institute, just draft a plan that you can follow. You may realize that you’ll need to change your plan in the future, but at least you have a structure to turn to when you encounter issues and hiccups.
Once you have your “master plan,” you’ll then know when to start hunting for cash, and more importantly, you’ll have a smart estimate of how much funding you’ll need. It’s at this point, that you can consider the different avenues of getting capital. Whether you decide that your best bet is to raise money from friends and family or if you choose the more creative route of crowd funding (check out ProFounder), having a strong plan of action to go with your brilliant business idea is just as valuable as any amount of funding you’ll be able to secure.