Outswim the Sharks
Think carefully about seeking funding as it may not be what you want or what you need.
By Allison Dean
As an entrepreneur, seeking to push out your idea—and its development—the first thing you should do is exhaust your existing resources prior to looking for investment. Even the best laid plans can change, and you want to be able to adjust accordingly. Accepting funding too early on in the process of building your business—if you even need funding from outside sources—can limit you in the long run.
If and when you’re truly ready for outside capital, the key is to find an investor who is a good fit for you and your idea. The dollars and investment structure can differ, depending on the situation.
You might want to seek out a few individuals who have your success in mind—people interested in you, who are not focused solely on their own personal gain.
Friends and family are most often the first investors, and they may offer advantageous terms. A relative might consider a zero-interest loan, where your neighbor might expect greater financial return.
It’s been said that investment is like a marriage: You need a good partnership in which both sides can be heard and make decisions. The ideal investor will offer financial resources as well as lessons learned from experience, serving as a mentor who can help set expectations and give you access to their network and knowledge base. When the right deal comes along, you’ll see the way to outswim the sharks.