It's likely that you'll run out of money – not by bad management, but because things take longer and cost more than you think, so having a plan and thinking outside the box is paramount.
This is what I’ve learnt:
1. Dig deep.
Open your own wallet first. I can proudly say that we have self-funded our MVP. I firmly believe that funding as much as you can shows potential investors how serious, passionate and determined you are about your project. Putting in your hard-earned cash shows that you are willing to take the risk and support your idea and that you have faith in your company.
2. Go with the flow.
You can have all the best intensions, be a natural planner and implementer but sometimes you’re thrown a curveball that completely knocks you for six. Whether you have trouble with developers not finishing a job (this was a massive lesson to us) or legals and set-up costs that take longer than you thought, my tip is to observe and learn. By experiencing the highs and lows, and learning that you can’t always control everything, that extra knowledge will later help you reach your goal.
As our fabulous accountant once said "Which Christmas?” We looked at him with blank (and horrified) faces, but he was right. Even with all the best intentions, things don’t always go to plan.
"Every journey that is successful has culs-de-sac and speed bumps. I carry a wisdom gene through my life through the good, the bad, and the ugly." Peter Guber
3. Connect Talk to as many people as you can. Engage with others who have 'been there, done that’, sharing your ideas and developing new points of view.
After investing so much of your own time and money it's easy to be cagey – you don’t want someone else to come along and take your amazing idea. But you have to get over yourself and let it go. Sitting at home in your trackie and dreaming about your product going global isn’t going to get you there. No one is going to turn up at your door step with a suitcase filled with a million dollars and say - “Here you go! I thought you might like this.”
Connect, listen, share and learn.
4. Win start-up comps
Well, at least get up off your backside and enter! You may not end up winning, but what you learn, and the contacts you make are priceless. By pitching and sharing your idea, you might just find other passionate and inspiring people along the way – and you never know, they might end up working or collaborating with you – or even better – investing in you and your startup.
5. Hello Grant Spend time applying to government grants – they want to see your startup succeed, and usually without taking any equity. Successful startups bring money into the local economy succeed. Win Win.
After attending a recent masterclass, my tip is, make sure you read the eligibly and that you fit the guidelines 100%, otherwise you’ll be culled before they even read your application. One thing not meeting the criteria and you'll miss out – even with a game-changer idea.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
6. Sell stuff
Most of us have stuff just sitting around the house, clothes, appliances, random things… this could be a great way to add to your startup fund. I am a creative, and love painting, so instead of going to the gym (yes, I know I should do this too), I paint and exercise my creative brain. So this year I held an art exhibition to raise some much needed funds. I sold over 20 paintings (yay - beyond my wildest dreams :) so every bit helps. Find your sweet spot – every extra little bit of cash going into your business can get you one step closer.
7. Sell more stuff
Creativity is key. We’ve set up a devfund by selling limited edition, 100% silk scarves. By using one of my exhibited pop art designs we’ve created some Puctto merch. Follow our socials on how to wear. They are in limited supply so please support us ’selling more stuff' – it’s going to a really great cause!
8. Sell yourself
9. Sell yourself to investors And of course, the elusive investor :) Not so easy to find as they are busy busy. Always mentoring or speaking at events or working on their own business, and in their spare time, inundated with calls, emails, LinkedIn inMails.
So speaking of which – if you are an investor, and enjoying my words of wisdom, I’d love to have coffee or Skype with you… Did I mention that we have a kick-ass product and want you to make loads more money and to see this thing fly. Call me :)
10. Merry Christmas! Finally, in the spirit of the holiday season, ask for money for you birthday or Christmas presents. It all adds up and every little bit counts going towards your startup. Whether it’s a domain bill or to put towards some dev… e.v.e.r.y. b.i.t. counts.
Keep having fun – isn’t that one of the reasons you started in the first place?
Money is money, just don’t give up on your dreams because of the lack of it.
Belinda Scott is the founder of Puctto, a virtual change room and fashion-based social media platform. Along with founder Crystal McGregor, the pair are looking for an investor for the start-up to grow the platform and scale globally.