Business ideas are a dime a dozen. The biggest divider between wantrepreneurs and entrepreneurs is the ability to execute their ideas. If you're an entrepreneur with a grand vision -- but stuck at a job you hate -- you're probably anxious to throw in your two-week notice and begin building your dream. Before you take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship, make sure you have a solid exit strategy and the necessary capital to bring your idea to life.
As you're researching how to acquire funding, consider these four routes.
1. Personal Savings: Self-funding is the best choice if you don't want to fork over equity. However, if you're planning to bootstrap and are seriously flirting with the idea of quitting your 9-5, it's vital to stash sufficient funds to cover your business and living expenses for at least six months to a year. Even when you develop that magic number, multiply it by four. During the first year of business there are always unexpected variables that have the potential to eat up your savings.
2. Moonlighting: You can get a part-time job to cover your expenses and other resources you need for your idea. If you do it this way, you'll be able to accumulate enough money in your savings to self-fund your idea, without sacrificing your current lifestyle.
3. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is the optimal choice for garnering community support and building brand awareness for your product. With popular crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.com, your seed money is just a click away.
4. Investors: Whether you're looking for Angels or Venture Capitalists (VCs), be prepared to give away a portion of your business. If you're wondering where to find investors, MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School's online MBA program, used CrunchBase's Investor Leaderboard data to create a visualization of current VC hotspots in the U.S. Caution: Before accepting an investment, be absolutely clear on the terms. Some investors choose to be silent partners, while others want a more involved role.
Don't be a wantrepreneur. There are a plethora of options available to get you on the right path to executing your grand vision.