Everyone thinks that they need money to create a business. Most people don’t have money, so most people don’t start the business that could liberate them. Self fulfilling prophecy complete. The truth is that you need courage and creativity to make money or start a business. I have started multiple businesses and I didn’t do it by throwing a ton of money at them. I did it by starting (courage), and then using the money my ideas (creativity) generate to perfect and refine the product.
This blog will touch on a few principles I stand on and I believe we have to adopt as a culture within the current pro business climate to build wealth in America.
You don’t have to be perfect to start
People who want to start a business usually have a grand vision for how they want to brand or market their product as well as how their website and business cards should look. None of these things drive revenue or put money in their pocket. They start to tally up the cost of all these things and come to a number that is likely insurmountable. Then they go back to their 9-5.
This is the wrong way of going about it. I blame the school system for teaching kids that missing one or two questions makes them a dummy. The business world is not like that. In business, you can miss 18 questions, get two right, and score a million in the bank. Business and employment are different world. You don’t need the perfect business card or website, you just need a business card or website (this includes free cards via vista print and free sites using WordPress). You don’t need flawless execution you just need execution.
My mission until I see the level of black business necessary to sustain a healthy vibrant black community is to push people to execute not to think about starting and then ultimately holding back because of imperfection. The key is that you will never see perfection. YOU WILL see progress and that can only come from starting. When you start you get better over time, you get the cash (profit), connections and resources to refine what you have and you ultimately end up with the product you want and the product your community can be proud of.
Allow your product to grow
On the weekends I work with a black owned restaurant. The store has been in operation for years. This family makes the best food in South LA and they do it because they use the best quality ingredients, fresh produce, high quality Angus beef and gourmet buns. This wasn’t always the case though. If you look at the old menu you see that there was a time when they used generic meat and regular buns. They didn’t sit around waiting for gourmet buns before they started. That is what failures do. That is why people who start end up failing. They don’t build the equity to support the brand despite the product and they get so over whelmed with money they spent building the perfect product and go out of business because they can’t afford to sustain the brand during the build up phase.
This family has continued to use business profits to increase the quality of their food which allows them to also increase their prices. Time grew this business, not money. Greatness takes time. Facebook of today looks nothing like Facebook of old. Every brand grows with time, they don’t just start at the top.
Fund your business with your business
The most important thing you can do is use your business, not your job, investors, friends or family, as the source for which you grow your business and your asset column. This is why the rich get richer. A business allows you to generate astronomically larger cash than you could through a job, you use the excess cash to invest back into your business. This is exactly what growth companies like Google, Nvidia, Tesla and other do. You can wait for the funding but the better thing to do is show the VCs that you are going to be great with or without them. This will either get them interested or get you further ahead. Taking action is a win win for you. Waiting is a lose lose.
Use your business to buy assets
Another thing you can do once your business starts booming is buy property and other businesses. This is what Facebook did. They went public and used the money they made going public to buy more businesses. This is also what Snap did by buying companies that compliment the parent company. Imagine what Zucks would have accomplished if instead he tried to fund these deals with his working income, no matter how much he made out of Harvard he would never make it.
The business is the engine to fuel your ambition. You need to create a product and sell it as opposed to creating an idea and seeking funding. This is why one of the first questions they ask on Shark Tank is “how much of this have you sold”. After you have proof of concept you will have profits to reinvest, but you will also be a better candidate for funding than someone with just an idea.
Stop being fancy
Forget the idea that you have to be fancy to start. Fancy will come. Forget the idea that you need millions to start when there is a free platform for everything these days. We live in a time when you have NO excuse not to choose yourself. You can literally turn yourself into a media company that rivals that of the big dogs with the host of free resources out there (twitter, Instagram, WordPress, YouTube). Fund your company by starting, not by thinking about starting and greatness will come. If you would like help with business implementation please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to work with one of our strategic business consultants.