21 Quick Startup Fixes

Starting to think Murphy's Law was written just for you? Don't worry--these practical solutions should get you back on track fast.

The path to entrepreneurship is rarely smooth--in fact, you can expect many days when your company will more closely resemble a minefield than a business. To help even out the rough spots, we found 21 solutions to start-up problems you'll likely face.

"I need start-up cash."

1. Wish you had personal assets you could liquidate? You probably have more than you realize. Take a look around your home. Any sporting and recreational equipment you're not using? What about antiques, art or collections that could be sold or used as collateral for a loan? Can you borrow against your life insurance or your retirement account?

2. If you already own assets you plan to use in the business, utilize them as collateral for traditional financing.

3. Tap your friends and family for loans or investment dollars. But do it carefully, cautions David Jilk, president of Jilk Systems Inc., a business consulting firm in Savannah, Georgia. Don't let them loan or invest any money they can't afford to lose, put your entire agreement in writing and have an attorney check your contract to make sure it's both binding and legal (especially if they're buying stock and are subject to securities regulations). If you're uncomfortable asking for money, try this approach: Tell them you've drawn up a business plan and you'd like their opinion on it before you show it to prospective investors. If they want to invest, they'll say something at that point; if they don't, you'll still get some valuable input on your plan.

4. Find an angel investor. "Typically, angels are individuals looking to invest in companies that will make them money," Jilk explains. "There's no general rule as to what they're looking for. Angels are all unique."

How do you find an angel? "Most areas of the country, even smaller localities, are developing this sort of capital source in a more organized fashion," says Jilk. He suggests doing an Internet search using "capital," "angel" and your locality to find prospective angels. Network among your colleagues; ask your attorney for a referral; or contact local organizations that might be able to steer you in the appropriate direction--such as the local chamber of commerce, economic development agency or Small Business Development Center, or visit the SBA's angel network at (https://www.acenet.edu/).

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This article was originally published in the April 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 21 Quick Startup Fixes.

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