I think sometimes we are already looking for an excuse NOT to move forward in life so, it becomes so easy to blame “ lack of capital ” for the reason our progress stalled. Either that, or we have the wrong notion that starting a business automatically means you need a huge office with a car complete with a secretary, etc. But not so.
If you are going to be an entrepreneur, your creativity CANNOT only end at dreaming up the idea – no, your creativity has to show up in how you finance your project. So no one wants to finance your idea – well, they don’t have an obligation to – so, does your dream have to DIE as a result?
1. Personal financing
I always say, the issue of funding is always daunting if you try to do everything at once. When I developed my first Bible memorizing app, Bible-By-Heart, for example and a current project I am working on, I tried as hard as possible to work on it in little bits. Every month, a part of my salary goes into financing my current project. That’s why I keep a job – to finance what I am really passionate about – Why? Because I feel they are worthy enough opportunities not to be allowed to die.
2. Crowd financing
On the other hand, there are such things as “Funding Angels” and “Funding Crowds” – these are basically groups of people who chip in bits and pieces of their spare money to create a big pool to fund projects that they feel have an outstanding chance of success – globally or regionally. To access these, I feel the main criteria is – to have a product or project that possesses the potential for huge success worldwide or regionally.
But you see, this is where our African entrepreneurs are caught short. First, we seem to have a too-high sense of our genius rating – so the fact that someone has thought about an idea, s/he feels it is automatically a winning or superior idea and is not open to it being called otherwise – even if that’s the truth. Well, if it is a brilliant idea, you should have no difficulty sourcing funds from these pools. The good thing is, once you get funding from this pools, that in itself generates international publicity around your product.
The other handicap is that we more often than not, feel it’s all happening in our country. No, Ghana for a example has over 24 million people. The world offers us a 7 billion people market outside the walls of Ghana. If you think with this platform in mind – your product, your idea, and their superiority will reflect it. Think global.
3. Funding from family
But how about talking to family. I have come across people who have said, yes they talked to a family member who has agreed to provide all the money but wants a 20% part in the business even though he is not going to help run it – and I asked “did you refuse it?” their response was “yes” and I said to them – “you are either greedy, not ready to be an entrepreneur or you don’t value the potential of your idea.”
There are probably family members who are keeping monies under their beds and don’t know what to do with it – sell your idea to them and cut a good deal. Don’t kill the idea simply because someone wants to have a small bit of your success in return for giving you the money… that’s greed.
4. Funding from financial institutions
The mainstream bank I always say should be the source of last resort. I share the pain of entrepreneurs out there and it is in times like this that I wonder why pressure cannot be brought to bear on the banking sector to support budding entrepreneurs (maybe through government guarantee schemes) as their way of delivering social responsibility – these petty petty social responsibilities of making one time donations for road campaigns or blood donations is over. We need some maturity in the way government and private sector engage for the betterment of the ordinary citizen.
You want to really be an entrepreneur? – Then show your creativity in the financing of your project.
If you believe in your project enough to do whatever is necessary to make it happen – the world will believe in it too. I wish you all the very best in doing the best thing ever – to CREATE something. And remember,
if you fail, you haven’t failed, you have only learnt – practically.
Get up and now, start running. If you fall again – get up, look up and fly and don’t ever look down.
Author: Marricke Kofi Gane, a Ghanaian Certified Chartered Accountant, Entrepreneur and an International Development specialist. He is also a published author and a technology and economics enthusiast. A well renowned public speaker, he is well noted for deep insights into future business trends and challenging the status quo of Africa’s politics.
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