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Stake Your Claim

Contrary to popular belief, there's no need to ante up a fortune when you're playing the startup game. Here's how 3 entrepreneurs launched high-cost businesses the low-cost way.

This story appears in the July 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

For most people, the idea of starting a business roughly equates to the idea of emptying your bank account, thumbing it to Vegas, and betting every penny on one hand of blackjack. You might be a blackjack guru; you might have even won big in the past. But no matter how carefully you plan, no matter what your cards looked like before, and no matter if the dealer tosses you an ace-you could still go bust.

That alone is enough to halt many would-be entrepreneurs in their tracks. Factor in the empty-bank-account factor, though, and many startups don't even make it out of the gate.

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