To launch a company, you need three things: a great idea, money, and protection. The last one is the easiest, and typically comes in the form of business liability insurance once you have the first two taken care of. And if you're reading this article, you've probably already got the first.
So that leaves us with money. You know there's enough of it out there, but getting people who have it to support your business venture isn't always easy. Here's an overview of ways you can find the money you need to turn your brilliant idea into a thriving technology company.
- Start part-time. One great way to test the waters of your business idea is to do it as a part-time job while holding down a full-time position. Doing this will allow you to not only build up some cash reserves but also get a more realistic view of how much money you'll need to launch full-time if and when you're ready.
- Dip into your savings. Savings accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and even credit card accounts - all are fair game if you're confident in your idea, committed to making it work, and determined to repay yourself from future profits. One benefit of self-funding is that, because your personal finances are on the line, you're extra driven to succeed, come hell or high water.
- Apply for small-business grants. The Small Business Administration offers grants for small businesses, but it's not the only source of funding and materials. Lots of larger corporations offer grant money or business-building supplies to entrepreneurs as part of their community support efforts. (TechInsurance's sister company, insureon, is currently running one such program. Find out how to receive equipment and supplies for your business through Small Business Heroes.)
- Consider bartering. Bartering made a comeback among consumers during the Great Recession, but business owners can also benefit from this age-old trade system. Can't afford rent for an office? Offer IT services to a potential landlord. One benefit IT entrepreneurs have is that their services are in high demand, so they'll likely be able to trade work for many business essentials.
- Consider factoring.This funding source lets you collect money in the present based on your future accounts receivable. When you have clients lined up but need short-term cash flow, factoring is an excellent and relatively safe way to bring liquidity to your operations.
- Apply for microloans. Many new businesses have trouble receiving loans from traditional sources such as banks and credit unions, but microlending operations (many of which are based online) offer a workable alternative, especially if you only need a few thousand dollars.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter