Many people start their own businesses to fulfill their dreams and pursue lifelong passions. Building a company yourself can be very exciting, but it’s important to keep in mind the myriad challenges a startup can face and be open to available resources to help fund and grow your new venture.
Here are three resources and incentives that can be particularly helpful to new entrepreneurs as they build their startups:
- Non-Dilutive Funding – There are agencies that invest in entrepreneurs’ products and services — without taking any equity — to encourage the success of small businesses. When startup teams have funding, they are more likely to pursue new ideas and improve upon products that may have initially been in a “proof of concept” stage — such as beta-testing a new service. Non-dilutive funding makes this possible for many new companies who don’t have the capital to do so. It also improves your chances of attracting private investors, as it shows a solid stream of pre-revenue income and increases a business’s credibility. Most importantly, having the help of federal or state investors can provide young founders with the confidence that is needed to become successful business owners.
- Utilize Social Networks – Consider reaching out to family, trusted friends, former colleagues, and fellow entrepreneurs to rent space, be beta testers, or solicit new investors. By tapping into your existing network, you may be able to establish deals that are more favorable to your bottom line, in addition to receiving honest feedback and extra hands. Also, there’s a sense of comradery among entrepreneurs, who, after an initial “cash strapped” period, are incentivized to pay it forward to other startup founders and people who have helped them along their way. This is part of the unique entrepreneurial spirit that has allowed so many businesses to thrive. These types of reduced costs help entrepreneurs save without any substantial overhead expenses.
- Leverage Online Resources – With the rise of social media and the increasing concept of the “prosumer” — an entrepreneur who both produces and consumes products and services — it becomes more feasible to utilize free, online resources to grow your business. Many of these platforms act as both resources and incentives. Even better, online resources that are accompanied by community forums offer novel ways to network with like-minded peers and further flesh out ideas. A business leader could also gain additional continuing education (CE) credits or certifications from completing niche programs online.
As a business that was a young venture not so long ago, we understand how hard it can be to get your company off the ground and out of the red. It’s easy to be so focused on your core product that you forget there are ample opportunities to support you as you pursue your passions. From federal government programs to community support, creative opportunities abound to fund and support your business as it grows. Especially in the digital world we currently find ourselves in, there are numerous resources available to turn an upstart business into an entrepreneurial success story.