With the rise of smartphone apps and other online industries, many business owners are becoming younger and younger. This means that many of them lack funding, and potentially do not have enough of a prospect score built up to qualify for any sort of decent loan. Even older business owners may experience similar problems, making it difficult for them to fund a new business venture.
The solution to this problem is not what most people might expect. While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to increase funding is to stop worrying about funding altogether. This does not mean to be reckless, but rather to concentrate on the formation of a business model strong enough to ensure the company’s sustainability without having to resort to bank loans or angel investors. There are a number of principles that business owners can adopt to ensure this level of sustainability.
1. Have a Clear Idea
Most successful businesses knew from the very start what it was they wanted to accomplish and how they were going to accomplish it. Business owners must understand how their clients will perceive their products or services, and must then plan accordingly in order to deliver the desired perception. Your foremost concern should always be the formation of a business plan that will deliver precisely what customers want. You can then concentrate on figuring out whether or not your plans fit your budget and make adjustments as needed.
2. Know the Industry
You will need to understand market trends if you are to operate within your market with any degree of success. Not only is this important to the formation of a viable business model, but it also helps when trying to acquire new stakeholders or clientele. Odds are, most people will be able to tell if you are being less than realistic. If something about your business plans is putting off potential clients or investors, you may need to do some research and figure out what you’re getting wrong.
3. Map It Out
Your plans cannot be entirely conceptual. Pen must be put to paper to ensure that all of the details are correct and organised. If you are planning a website, have a map that takes you through every page. Know what it will say and what functions will be provided. You may think you have a handle on things, then find out in the mapping process that you can easily streamline two or three pages into one to make the site more user-friendly.
Engage in a similar process for each of your products and/or services. As mentioned above, this can help you to find any holes in your current plans. This is especially important for stores that consumers will visit in person, as you want to create an inviting floor plan that highlights your wares. Customers will be turned off if they walk in and are unable to find what they are looking for.
4. Research Competitors
Unless your business is entirely innovative, you will be up against competitors that have already established themselves within the industry. This means that you will have a hard time gaining your own customer base if you do not understand what clients are being offered elsewhere. Understand their location, the products, and services they offer, and their general ways of conducting business. This will allow you to see your competitors as their customers see them, which will inform your decisions when trying to devise ways to attract a similar base of clientele.
5. Utilize Resources
Whether or not you have the benefit of a business degree, you can still undergo a process of education. There are numerous resources online and elsewhere that will further your understanding of the corporate world. Conduct some research on which tools are the best, and begin learning as much as you can. This will help you become acclimated to the business realm much faster than by simply immersing yourself in a world that you do not yet understand.
6. Be Thrifty
When you are in need of new products or services, always shop around before making your final decision. This is especially true in terms of services, where you will likely be able to find cost-effective help in the form of online freelancers. These workers can help you to build your website as well as write copy and product descriptions. Since you will be working with them directly rather than hiring them from a company, you will not only reduce costs but will also be able to ensure quality through hands-on communication.
7. Gain a Following
We live in the age of social networking, so it is easy to market products and services with virtually no cost whatsoever. Create a Facebook and Twitter page for your business, allowing you to provide potential clientele with up-to-date news and constant communication. As you gain more followers, others will be drawn to the popularity of your business and may begin following suit. You can increase this likelihood by offering special deals to those who follow your posts.
8. Put Yourself Out There
You need to interact with more than just your customers. You also need to meet investors, vendors, and potential business partners. Share your business model and your creative ideas with as many people as possible. Some people will be immediately drawn to your ideas and will offer to help you out. Others may appear interested enough for you to try simply asking them. Remember, however, that you must sometimes give to receive. Those offering money or even advice may ask you for services in exchange, or may even request a small stake in your company. Be ready to make good on these requests if you feel their help is worth it.
9. Heed Quality Advice
While getting to know other business owners, you may meet one or two in particular who stand out to you as role models. You may even know such a person before you begin your business venture. If you admire somebody’s success, don’t be afraid to tell them so. Ask them for advice, and listen carefully if you truly wish to follow in their footsteps. Even major CEOs such as Donald Trump often have advisors, so you should be able to cultivate this sort of relationship without injuring your pride.
10. Brand Your Company
Branding is important if you want your company to stand out amongst the competition. As such, you will want your business to have a unique logo so that stakeholders and clientele will be able to easily identify you. You do not have to spend a heap of money on this. There are many online freelancers who provide such services, and you may even know someone with the necessary artistic skills. If you possess such skills yourself, you may be able to devise a logo that will appeal to you personally.
These are just a few of the many business concerns that can be taken into account without completely emptying your pocketbook. If you have taken all of the above steps, you will likely be on the road to vast increases in funding. Once you have achieved a level of sustainability, you can begin finding newer, less cost-effective ways of growing your business. Until then, the above advice will help you to formulate a viable business model that should ensure relative success and stability.