At least once a month, I meet with a business owner who has an amazing business idea but they don't have the money or resources. More often, they're hoping to have a product prototyped or to buy a food truck and the big obstacle is getting the money.
What are their options? Is it simply that they need to get a loan or give up? In my experience, that's not the case. There are steps they can take toward that dream, while also verifying that it's a successful business idea.
Find a First Phase
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” - Henry David Thoreau, Walden
What is the first phase for a business owner with a dream? If you want to open a restaurant or food truck, you could look into getting a food cart, having a pop-up at another restaurant or starting a catering business. If you want to a clothing brand, what can you make yourself and sell online?
- The King of Wings restaurant in Wheat Ridge hosted a series of pop-ups in 2021 for other food trucks and food businesses to showcase their talents. After an electrical fire closed down their kitchen, they did their own pop-ups as Snipeburger, opens a new window to pay their employees and keep their offerings top of mind.
- Ben Francis, the owner of the brand Gymshark, opens a new window, started designing and sewing clothes in his parent's garage.
- Samata Health, which is an employee assistance program (EAP), started out by giving individuals the ability to use their platform to find a licensed therapist, schedule appointments and pay for those services.
Since every business idea may have a different place to start, there isn't one book that tells you how to do this. One of the best ways to find the first phase for a business dream is to share your idea with someone and get their feedback and suggestions.
Check out these books about starting a business to help get you in the right mindset:
Write a Business Plan
The Business Model Canvas is one option for getting your business idea down on a page and it's set up to work well for visual thinkers. And good news, a business plan can be as short as one page.
The Business Model Canvas is popular enough that there are live trainings and on-demand webinars available on how to fill it out. The Northwest Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has 2 on-demand webinars available on creating a business canvas, that you can access for free, opens a new window.
If you'd prefer an in-person training or you'd like to write a business plan that will help secure a loan, there are local resources who can support you in that.
Aurora South Metro Small Business Development Center's (SBDC) offers their Leading Edge Strategic Planning Series assist with creating an actionable business plan with proven market research.
- The SBDC offers many other great trainings and workshops every month throughout Colorado. You can find your local SBDC and their trainings at the main Colorado SBDC website.
- Mi Casa Women's Business Center offers two different trainings:
- Rocky Mountain Micro Finance Institute (RMMFI) also offers two great trainings for the first stage:
Looking for some individual guidance or help narrowing down the option that works best for you?
Visit our Business Help page to set up an appointment with a librarian. It's a free 30 minute appointment where we can talk about your idea, issues, questions and challenges. I'll suggest data and resources that may help you find the next step, and I've brainstormed first phase ideas with 100s of business owners.