Do you want funding for your startup?

Build a bankable business.

Every day I talk to entrepreneurs and invariably they all want funding to start and grow their businesses. And the conversation always leads to a request for assistance with a business plan. Armed with their business plans, startup entrepreneurs confidently approach funders. To their dismay, funders quickly see holes in the business plan. And the biggest hole they see is a business concept that has not been tested.

A business concept that has not been tested! OMG, what is that, you may be wondering. Funders and investors love business concepts that real people are buying. There is no better test for a product than actually showing it to people who decide to buy it. And all it is really is making the product and selling it to real people. Do that successfully and hey, funders and investors will eat from your hands.

Just a bit of background about my entrepreneurial journey.

I worked for an engineering company in Johannesburg manufacturing electrical switches. Being the entrepreneurial junk I am, I soon saw an opportunity to go into business wiring people’s houses. I teamed up with two friends to pursue the opportunity. The three of us had solid engineering backgrounds. While we had the capability to provide first class workmanship, we were unfortunately not configured to start a business that would succeed. The reason: no one of us knew anything about marketing and sales, no one knew anything about keeping records, about building an active business bank account, about getting supplier credit for materials. And most importantly, we had no idea funders required proof of demand for our services. I remember one day we called in an accountant friend to come and help us with our books. He wanted to see our tax invoices and our sales invoices. We didn’t have either. Needless to say we were advised to keep them safe. A local low cost housing developer short listed us for an electrical house wiring project and we needed to raise capital to buy materials. Banks turned us down and needless to say, the business didn’t make it.

Imagine the feeling of rejection we felt when we were declined funding. Now, I know how it feels to be rejected like that.

Since then, I have learnt that if you want funding for your startup, you need to build a bankable business. I am writing this blog so that any would be entrepreneur who reads it will never have to experience that rejection. My wish is that this blog serves as a resource for startup entrepreneurs who want to raise capital.

Back to the future, had my first business venture with Petros and Justice been conceived today, this blog would have saved our day.

While I use my experiences as a business advisor to help small businesses get funding by building bankable businesses, I also draw a lot of knowledge and wisdom and inspiration from startup gurus in the global village. I am learning a lot from the lean startup movement, from the likes of Prof Greg Blank, Eric Ries, Kevin Dewalt, Ash Maurya, Alexander Osterwalder, Sam Altman, and hey, they are just too many to mention. I have learnt lots from business gurus such as Guy Kawasaki, John Warrillow, Michael Gerber, Chris Guillebeau and countless others. By standing on these giants’ shoulders, I am able to help entrepreneurs get business capital to grow their businesses.