Have you ever struggled to raise the capital you need to turn your business dreams into reality? During today’s Thrive Time Business Coach Radio Show, Doctor Zoellner and Clay Clark teach you specifically how to raise the money you need to fund your business. They cover all of the following funding sources and more: family and friends, credit cards, raising pricing, leasing instead of buying, etc.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Nobody is ever going to care about your business as much as you do.” – Doctor Robert Zoellner
Move #1 – Credit Cards – Am I kidding? No. I have met many top entrepreneurs who very successfully funded their business using no-interest 18-month credit cards. Companies like Barclay, American Express and others understand that many times a business owner needs funding but you may not have a line of investors begging to invest in you. Thus, they have created no-interest 18-month credit cards with large limits. This may be a great solution if you know that you will be able to pay off the balance of the cards in the next 12 months.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “You must be the pig at breakfast and not the chicken.” – Doctor Robert Zoellner
Move #2 – Family and Friends – Am I kidding? No. Sam Walton (Walmart), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), and countless other entrepreneurs secured funding from people that they know. Sam Walton’s father-in-law lent him the money to start his first business. The parents of Jeff Bezos pretty much emptied out their retirement fund and invested $300,000 in his business because nobody else wanted to invest yet. If you 100% believe in your business model and it is working, then you should absolutely consider borrowing money from friends and family. I recommend borrowing smaller amounts of money from more people such as $10,000 from 10 people instead of $100,000 from one person. Typically, having one major investor creates problems as they try to dominate each and every one of your business decisions because they have sunk so much of their personal money into your business (and wouldn’t you).
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That’s the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!” -George Patton, Jr. (He was a member of the U.S. Army who was in charge of the U.S. Seventh Army in many of the battles fought in the European and Mediterranean regions. He is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in both France and Germany after the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June of 1944.)
SUPER MOVE #3 – Create a Premium Package – Typically the top percentage of your customers (economically speaking) don’t care about the price you are charging at all. In fact, they value the most exclusive VIP experiences possible. I recently worked with a sports coach who introduced a premium package to his clients and was able to land five Premium Package deals that pay $1,500 per month versus his typical price point of $150 per month. The clients he sold the packages to loved the exclusivity and they didn’t really even care about the price.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: “Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities and don’t let the bastards get you down.” -Michael Bloomberg (The founder and owner of Bloomberg L.P. and the former mayor of New York City who is worth approximately $44.7 billion dollars)
SUPER MOVE #4 – Offer Discounts for Payment in Advance – Change your pricing model or your packages to create a situation where more of your customers will pay some or all of the balance up front before the service or products are delivered.
SUPER MOVE #5 – Raise Prices by 5% – Typically when you raise prices by 5%, your customers will not lose their minds and only about 5% of your customers will openly complain. Meanwhile, you can take that extra 5% and grow your business.
SUPER MOVE #6 – Lease Instead of Buy – You may want to consider leasing equipment instead of buying it up front and outright. When I was growing my entertainment company, I did this with the purchase of our phone system. The phone system would have cost $70,000 to buy outright (this was old school before Voice Over IP phones had been created yet).
SUPER MOVE #7 – Connect with Your Local Banks – Make your business bank-friendly by bringing consistency to your expenses, locking in long-term contracts with key customers, improving your margins, creating an accurate and up-to-date profit and loss statement, and creating an accurate and up-to-date balance sheet. Get your credit score up over 750 and gather at least five references from key customers. We’ll talk more about this in a minute.
SUPER MOVE #8 – Trade Out with Vendors and Suppliers – Rack your brain and look for vendors that would be willing to trade out services or products instead of cash so that you can save more money and have more capital available to invest in STRATEGIC EXPENSES.
SUPER MOVE #9 – Vendors – Talk to your key vendors who make more when you make more and strategically and discreetly share with them your expansion plans. You wouldn’t believe how many people are actually interested in funding the growth of a company that will then cause their business to grow as a result of their investment. Many of these people see you work every day and they understand the value you bring to the marketplace. These people are your fans.
SUPER MOVE #10 – Credit Lines – I will openly and honestly say that credit lines scare me TREMENDOUSLY because they are very, very fickle. I would compare operating your business using a credit line with having your house wired directly into a nuclear reactor because you like the energy efficiency. Sure, it’s awesome having access to unlimited cheap energy, but if that baby has a leak, you are going to wish you lived in a log cabin and had to chop wood every day to heat your house.
Essentially, a bank can have a board meeting to discuss liquidity issues they are having (not having enough cash on hand) and your business can come up in the discussion. The bankers can openly discuss the best way to get the most cash into the bank as soon as possible to meet regulatory compliance and the suggestion to call your credit line due can be suggested and approved in minutes then BOOM! You will get a letter from your banker telling you that you must pay off your credit line in full right away or the bank has the right to repossess any of your assets that were put up as collateral to get the loan in the first place. This means that your business can be motoring along making a nice profit and then BOOM, it’s over. You must come up with the entire amount of your credit line immediately or the bank will start taking your stuff. This is insane to me.
Many business owners say that credit lines have proven to be a great resource of the cash they need to fund their daily operations, but they are literally one decision and one call away from losing it all. If your business is too reliant upon short-term credit lines to fund operations, you need to focus on really increasing the quality of the relationship with your banker now. You need to consistently and accurately communicate with your banker and you had better have a great relationship with God. Because you are going to need divine intervention when that bank calls your credit line due all at once. Make sure that you never bounce a check and that you have a backup plan in place in case that bank decides to immediately reduce or close your credit line.
SUPER MOVE #11 – 3% Automatic Savings and Capital Reserve Funding – With my photography company, we take 3% of all sales revenue and put it into a reserve bank account. We have set this up to happen automatically so that it is never an emotional decision to save or not save. This is not even something we discuss. We just do it. Because we made the decision one time to automatically save 3% of our gross revenue into a capital reserve fund, we have effectively decided to never have an emergency again. We are never in a cash crunch when bad things happen or when we need to fund our growth.
SUPER MOVE #12 – Reduce the Time Involved in Your Sales Cycle – Systemically reducing the amount of time involved in your average sales cycle will help you tremendously for almost countless reasons. The momentum in your office is unbelievable when deals close fast. The morale in your office increases dramatically when the members of your team see that deals are closing quickly. The energy and the emotional state of your average employee are peaked when deals are closing all day left and right…BOOM.
SUPER MOVE #13 – Receivables-Based Financing – Raising money with receivables-based financing is expensive, but if it is your only route to financing, then you need to consider it. Essentially, a company like SwiftCapital.com will purchase your receivables at a discounted rate and will give you the cash you need today. They set up fixed payments from your business checking account that they deduct each week until all of the receivables purchased have been paid back. The rate of interest that these companies charge can be very high so make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into before moving forward with companies like Kabbage.com, SwiftCapital.com, and CanCapital.com.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston (The co-founder and CEO of Dropbox)
SUPER MOVE #14 – Investors / Dancing with Potentially Key Partners or the Devil – I have tried to not reference Satan, the Devil or the Anti-Christ in this book thus far, but now it is time. Whenever you take on an investor, you must realize that you are taking on a partner who is going to want to give you advice, good or bad, for the long haul. Occasionally, I will speak with a young man who is upset that his father-in-law is constantly judging him and telling him what to do after he let his father-in-law buy him a house or pay for his vacation. My friend, taking on an investor definitely involves you taking on their influence, their feedback and their world-view, good or bad.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret it, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon)
SUPER MOVE #15 – Traditional Banking
As a general rule, I have found that the local banks that you deposit your money with each and every week will be willing to invest in your business if you are operating at a 30% operating profit margin, if you have been a faithful and good customer with them, if you have a good credit score and if your loan package is Small Business Administration Loan compliant (SBA compliant). When banks lend money to a startup, it is very risky if you do not have enough collateral (stuff that the bank can take back if you don’t pay the loan off). However, if the bank can secure for you an SBA Loan, the deal becomes less risky because the Federal Government is actually going to guarantee approximately 85% of the value of your loan.