25 years ago, the Internet was just a gleam in some techies eyes, as a new age of technology was dawning. Many readers of this article will not remember an age before Facebook, Yahoo and Google, but yes, the Internet did exist without them. There was a time when there were no search engines, social networks, or even ESPN. Maybe you see the next 25 years being the Era of Bitcoin and its digital technology, taking the baton from the Internet and going to the next level?
The only problem is you need some funding for your Bitcoin innovation to take hold. Here are six things you can do to get that ball of creativity and entrepreneurship rolling.
Bootstrapping is literally pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and funding the project with your own funds, or through your sphere of influence. The founders of Pizza Hut borrowed $600 from their mom to open their first store in Wichita in 1958. Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken was a self-made man who took a recipe and turned it into a global franchise. There are countless other examples of people who worked an extra job, saved, hustled, and talked their way into advertising, promotion or creation of their vision. You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
The problem with bootstrapping is it is usually the slowest way around the track to success, and our “microwave society” is more hare than tortoise. Another benefit of growing your Bitcoin fruit in your own backyard is no one can steal your idea because they are better funded or have a branded name or business. Slow and steady wins a lot of races, but patience is a virtue.
Also sometimes called “Start-Up Accelerators”, if you need some more speed in your game, and a boost could make all the difference, an incubator can be your ticket to ride. Companies like Seedcoin, Y Combinator (Disqus, Weebly, Reddit), and Techstars can help you in exchange for equity in your future business. Depending on the company and your needs they can help you in person or online. The upside is these companies are growing in number and funding with plenty of fresh venture capital hitting the Bitcoin investment market. A great time to make connections in this growing industry.
Check out Startcoin, the brainchild of RT’s Max Keiser (“The Keiser Report”). This is crowdfunding targeted directly at the digital currency community, so you can receive funds in Bitcoin, if you like. Get feedback on your idea from Bitcoin users even before you begin working in earnest. Be prepared to bear gifts to those who invest in you.
Also read: Wall Street Investment Firms Can’t Resist Bitcoin
Maybe you are one of the ten people left who hasn’t maxed out your credit card or that still has a 720+ FICO score. Instead of buying the latest tablet, video game player or rims for your car, maybe you can invest in a business that will change the bitcoin industry with your line of credit. Banks and credit unions won’t look kindly upon a direct bitcoin business investment, so don’t expect much help from the banking industry. The “pump and dumps” over the last 18 months have tarnished the Bitcoin name for many in the establishment. A small community bank or credit union may be more receptive, but you may need to be creative in your presentation, and avoid using the bitcoin brand up front. Like in established crowdfunding, you’ll get “the stink eye.” Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban says never take a loan out to start a business, but it is an option that might get you a few thousand fast. May be best as a last resort.
Companies like 21 Inc. know how lucrative having a venture capitalist, or a few, behind you can be. If you have a well-written business plan, a strong presentation, and a realistic plan to earn a profit within five years, this may get you more than one suitor. Investing in Bitcoin is the hip thing to do on Wall Street these days, and there are more venture capitalists in the Bitcoin space than ever before. Do some market research on potential competitors and have a few ways to generate a return, and a well-practiced presentation can really draw a crowd of investors.
Maybe you don’t need millions, and your lyrics and plan aren’t as air-tight as the big money guys would like. Angel investors can fill the gap. They are usually well-heeled individuals who just may “take a shine to you” and your vision and get you the money you need for equity, or as a write-off, of sorts. They usually do not need the amount of documentation as a venture capitalists, but they don’t put up as much capital. Roger Ver is a legendary angel investor who has funded dozens of startups. Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding area is a known investing hotbed that has a high population of angels to seek out.
Use this list as a reference to get your mind going in the right direction. If you are passionate, think through a realistic proposal, and can share in the profits, your idea should find the funds it needs to become a reality. If you don’t believe in your vision, no one else will. So move with a purpose and be ready to knock on every door until you find what you seek.
If you are serious, it’s a lot easier than you think to find someone who will back you up. There are plenty of people with money to invest but no vision. Fill that gap in the market today.
What new business or app would you like to see in the Bitcoin space? Share above and comment below.