Blog, Business

Where Can An Entrepreneur Find Funding For Their Business?

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

The average entrepreneur’s first concern when starting a business is going to be how they are going to finance their idea. If their idea is going to need a relatively small investment, they may use their own funds, or they may turn to their family and friends to support them. If they are not able to do that, they can to go to a bank to get a business loan. Yet, for some that need more, or just for those who are not able to do any of those options, there are other methods to get financed.

Local Loans

One resource that is often overlooked is going to be your chamber of commerce, which will be able to give you information on where you can get local funding. Often they will send you to your local business development center, with some universities having them. These business centers can get you in contact with other entrepreneurs so that you can network, and meet other investors. They would be able to go over loan information, and even assist you in applying for it. They are going to love if you develop a local business in the area and are typically more than happy to assist you.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are typically individuals looking to invest in companies they deem promising. These angels can invest money upwards of $10,000 in a business idea. To find angels, you can use Angel Capital Association. They have nationwide reach, with over 330 groups in their system. Not only do they assist with direct loans, but they will also, at times, even host events in order to provide networking opportunities. If the idea of taking money from someone online does not sound appealing, check your local community for angel groups.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, as the name dictates is a source of funding that stems from a large group of people who give varying amounts of money to an idea. One crowdfunding resource is Kickstarter. Kickstarter is an excellent platform to utilize to fund a product, or a fleshed out idea. On Kickstarter, you will be able to set goals, and tiers that supporters are able to pledge to. The money they pledge is their investment to the product without expecting money in return. In order to get more funding though, certain campaigns will offer incentives to get interested parties to pay more. The product they are wanting to fund is going to a part of that. This is a good tool to use if you feel that the vast market needs the product you are trying to create. You will also need to advertise a lot if you use this platform. In order to expose the item to the market, social media is heavily relied on for this method of financing.

Venture Capital

Venture Capital is for those who are looking to get over $1 million in funding. When looking at this option, know that you will need to be very prepared. Venture Capitalists require a very careful and detailed business plan. Yet, the benefits are that they will be able to fund larger quantities to businesses. Venture Capitalists are taking their clients money and investing in companies that they believe will be able to give them a high return relatively quickly. They will be looking to get 3-10 times what they gave within the following 5-7 years. One of the easiest ways to meet one would be through your contacts, whether that be other investors or entrepreneurs. If that is not an option, you can look to use the  National Venture Capital Association to pitch your idea to.

Funding can be difficult to achieve, but by looking at what kind of company you are looking to create there will be resources for it. If one resource doesn’t work, try another. The first steps to building a business can be challenging, but your perseverance will pay out.

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Blog, Business

Some Priorities for Young Entrepreneurs

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

As entrepreneurship and independence become all the more valued in our society, we are seeing a major shift in our workforce, hence the recent, rapid rise of the gig economy. By definition, this sort of working mentality emphasizes temporary positions that aid independent workers make ends meet. Such gigs are often contracted out by larger organizations and, if one’s cards are played right, can be quite lucrative.

However, it is imperative to note that the days of classic entrepreneurship are far from over. Per a recent BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, members of the millennial generation have been starting businesses at younger ages than their older counterparts, and this trend is not projected to slow any time soon. Millennials are more eager to apply all they learned in college and other positions to create their own success, and they are willing to take the risks necessary to achieve those goals.

As more and more of these young adults venture into the realm of entrepreneurship, it is important that they reevaluate their priorities every so often to ensure they align with the current state and scale of their business. With that in mind, let us examine some important priorities every young entrepreneur ought to hold.

Follow your own schedule

It is no secret that entrepreneurs are held to some outlandish standards that often force them to prioritize work over fulfilling their own basic needs, namely eating, sleeping, and maintaining personal hygiene. However, such habits will only propel them further down the road to burnout.

Therefore, it is imperative entrepreneurs follow their own schedule and ignore the entrepreneurial buzz that surrounds them. Just because Elon Musk gets the bare minimum of sleep — in one of his own manufacturing facilities, no less — does not mean you have to follow suit.

Be honest with others (and yourself)

As an entrepreneur, you may feel the need to shoulder your own burdens and avoid delegating tasks, as you do not want to let others see you sweat. However, maintaining such an attitude will thwart your long-term goals, rather than allowing them to thrive.

Therefore, it is imperative you be honest with yourself and those around you, and seek help when you are feeling stretched too thin. It may be difficult to admit at first, but once you find individuals you can trust with the smaller tasks, you discover just how much bandwidth you have to be creative and turn your ideas into reality.

Do not downgrade your goals

Once you are in the throes of overseeing and operating your business, you will likely wonder why you started this venture to begin with. When these moments arise, it is important to keep your long-term goals at the forefront of your mind and resist the temptation of lowering your own expectations. You began your business for a valid reason; stick to the path you have forged for yourself, regardless of how difficult it may be at times. You will certainly thank yourself for your dedication and perseverance.

Blog, Business

How to Create and Maintain Strong Mentor Relationships

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

Success is very rarely achieved alone. Instead, it is a product of multiple interrelated factors, such as support, advocacy, and receiving advice from the right people at the right time. More often than not, these above qualities are best found in mentors. Unfortunately, as more and more young professionals flood the workforce, the idea of finding a more experienced shoulder to lean on and glean insight from is quickly fading into the background.

However, we must shift our focus from encouraging these fresh faces from actively seeking mentors. Instead, we ought to encourage those with professional experience to step into such roles more freely, as they will not only be able to teach the next generation, but learn from them as well.

With that in mind, let us explore how one can effectively create and maintain strong mentor relationships.

Search your existing network

It is likely that you already work with, or at least know of, one or more young professionals in need of support. Therefore, the first step to becoming a mentor is getting to know each of these individuals. Take the time to discover their aspirations, goals, and learning styles. Once you have a better understanding of their long-term direction and goals, it will be much easier for you to engage with those you feel your expertise would benefit the most.

Be yourself

As a mentor, it is imperative you demonstrate every day that you are exactly who you say you are, rather than putting on airs and puffing up your previous experience to garner more awe and respect. This feat is achieved simply by being yourself. Behave, emote, dress, and speak exactly how you would normally. After all, authenticity and transparency are two key components to earning another’s trust.

Hold each other accountable

Sometimes, it is all too easy for these professional relationships to dissolve into average friendships. While this shift may be beneficial in interpersonal ways, it can seriously deter your ability to do more than simply pass advice back and forth.

Therefore, it is imperative you strive to maintain a strict balance between friendly banter and holding each other accountable for your actions and pursuit of professional development. Otherwise, your time and efforts leading up to this point may seem as though they served no purpose.

Clearly, there are plenty of stipulations to becoming a mentor, as it is not simply about forming a bond with another over work-related matters. Instead, mentorship provides a unique opportunity for mutual benefit and growth, meaning it ought to be treated with the utmost respect and seriousness.