Responses from #ChristianStartup
I’m going to outline several “programs” you can consider:
- The “Missionary for a Moment” Model
- The “What’s Your Day Job” Model
- The “Bootstrap” Model
- The “Friends and Family” Plan
- The Angel or Venture Capital Plan
If you’re thinking this is hard, then you are right. It is. However, at the same time don’t forget that God is able to provide abundantly for any work that is of His initiation and for His exaltation. After all, the “cattle on a thousand hills are” His–He may just decide to sell a few and send the money to you! [Read More]
Elijah Elkins – Co-Founder at ThirdPath & Spruce
First, don’t assume you need to. In most cases, you can test your idea by spending very little money (interviews with your potential target market, Facebook ad pointing to landing page to collect emails, etc). And I would strongly encourage you to test as much as possible while spending as little money as possible. There are too many bad ideas that people spend a great deal of time and money on before testing. You may think you have a good idea, but it’s very likely you don’t. I don’t say that to be discouraging at all. I want to save you from spending so much time, energy and money on idea that was bad from the start. You will have many business ideas throughout your life. Be patient and test them to see if they get traction in the market, then run with the ones that do get traction and you’re excited about. Raising capital can be a great thing, but remember in many cases you’ll be giving up control and ownership as you take on more and more money.
I think if Jesus were starting a business he would start with the needs of the people. He would know the needs because he is God, but we can discover the needs by asking good questions about the pains and problems of people. Instead of starting with an idea, consider interviewing people in a certain target market that you’re interested in serving to find out their pains and problems. After interviewing them, you can then brainstorm solutions. You’re essentially doing market research to get your idea. If you do this right, you can have customers immediately. I created a short video to help people identify a niche market to serve.
Ryan Russell – CEO/Senior Consultant at Myanmar Business Answers
I think that a lot of people want to raise capital for things that don’t have a proven concept. First and foremost you need to be able to prove that people want what you are selling. A lot of what I do is work with bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is basically when people use their own money to start a business and a lot of businesses can be started this way. I think that a lot of people misunderstand what they can do with a little to start with depending on the business they want to start. If they are able to start with something small and prove that it will work then it’s much easier to raise money.
I’m in year 3 1/2 of my business and about year 2 people started getting interested. It’s because you can show them something other than a fantasy on paper. Investors also want to see what you are willing to risk before they put money on your idea. If you have already put some of your own money and time in then they are more willing to invest as well. So I think a lot of times it comes down to what you are willing to do first to prove a concept. Then think about scaling your idea with investor capital.
Raising money is much easier once there is something you can show for it. The old adage is that the first money will come from you and friends and family. That’s true. Angels and Venture Capital isn’t super easy to find until you have a model that is proven and can be scaled. So work on it yourself before you invite others to invest.
David Jeyachandran – Founder & Developer at Uconecta
You need to prove that your concept has potential before raising capital. It is hard because it can feel like a chicken and the egg situation. If you had money you could build something to prove the concept and without the money it’s hard to even get started.
To make things more complicated, to get the right people on the team with only a small amount of money is close to impossible. For example we needed one, just one, senior software developer on the team. With him/her we could have a bunch of volunteers working really hard to build something. We had raised about $7k. I spoke to lots of friends who had the skills but none of them were interested. No one wants to leave a stable highly paid job to join a startup whose success was uncertainty.
So we just focused on building something really simple that we tested in the market. We spent half the money we had. Our product didn’t do well in the market but we entered what we built in a Startup Competition. To our surprise we won. We won $16k but more importantly we got enough publicity to convince a senior developer to take the risk and join the team as a co-founder.
In 6 months we’re probably going to need to raise some serious funding but God willing in that time we will build a product that has traction in the market.
So my advice is to by what ever means possible build that prototype – proof of concept. Do it as simply as possible. It’s really the hardest stage. Once you have that there are more options to take you to the next level.