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Lack of $$$ needn’t stop start-ups

SHARE Lack of $$$ needn’t stop start-ups

If you are still blaming your reluctance to start a business on your lack of money, you better get a new excuse.

There are just too many doing it without money. In fact, I believe the lack of money just might improve your odds of success. Doing more with less is a great bootstrapping theory that seems to build strong habits early in the life of a business.Money, if you have everything else, is the easiest commodity to find. The following are some things that are a lot harder to obtain than money but that will go a long ways toward making your business a success.

1. A great team. I'm not talking about two guys who were buddies in school or on their LDS missions and therefore think they should be partners. No, I mean two or more people who have complimentary skills such as financial wisdom coupled with sales and marketing skills. A great team is made up of people who each bring to the table something different and of lasting value for the life of the business.

2. A ready market now. The idea you have been sitting on might have been great five years ago, but the marketplace is constantly changing. A guy called me the other day with an idea for a new automatic automobile transmission. Because of the sound of his voice, I felt he might have had the idea for a while. I asked him how long he had been working on his transmission, and he said 25 years. That's a record. If you can't get it launched quickly the ship may leave the harbor without you.

3. A problem-solving idea. Many people have ideas. But I always ask, Does it solve a problem that is prevalent? If the answer is yes, then the next question is, Can it solve the problem for a price the majority who have the problem are willing to pay? I recently met a woman who had a great commercial idea for weddings. The problem was that few people would be willing to pay the price for which her item needed to sell in order to make a profit.

4. Will it sell in Peoria? Strange question? Yes, but its originator was on to something. Will your business idea be of value in middle America? Is it only good for your neighborhood, your ethnic group or your religion? Some money has been made selling to a small group of people; however, the more universal your product is the bigger your success is likely to be.

5. A high-tech idea that is ready for market. Two years ago every other business plan I read was about an Internet company. When a buddy wanted me to invest with a local start-up Internet company, not only did I say no, but I ridiculed the idea. Last month the company sold for $11 million. I now am a convert. I hope I'm not too late. If you've got a great high-tech Internet-related idea, hurry. If your idea is good enough, you won't need to find money; it will probably find you.

6. A great written business plan. Oh, I know you are so busy developing your idea, you don't have time to do a business plan. I've been there, done that. Yet, if you have a great idea, clearly expressed in a written plan that spells out the idea, the market identified, the management team on board, and your plan to bring it to market, you are already ahead of hundreds of your competitors. But if your idea is still in your head, and you haven't bothered to write it down, then you needn't bother anyone else about it. Just keep telling people you weren't successful because "it takes money to make money." Your buddies who think the same way will be making the same excuse for the next 30 years, and those in the know won't believe you any more 30 years from now than they do right now. Get your stuff together and get on with it. It can be done.