IV. Ingenious Funding ideas for Financing Your Start Up
Method 4: Sell Unwanted Items
Picture you, sitting in a webbed lawn chair in your yard, while people stream in and pick through your belongings. Then they haggle with you until you mark down your two dollar and fifty cent plates to a mere buck twenty-five.
Yikes – not exactly what you had in mind when it comes to selling unwanted items, right?
The good news is that you don’t need to have am actual yard sale to unload your junk. Instead, you can use eBay.com and CraigsList.org.
Now, when I say “junk” I don’t mean that literally. No one wants to buy your broken MP3 player or your old shoes. But surely you have things lying around your house that you rarely use – and you certainly wouldn’t miss these items if you sold them.
Do you really need the fancy espresso machine that you only use once a year to impress the in-laws?
Are you seriously ever going to use that treadmill? You know, the one that has three inches of dust built up on it? The one you use as a towel rack?
How much do you really play with that PlayStation or Wii? And how much will you play it once your days and nights are consumed with launching your business?
In short, think about downsizing a bit when it comes to your possessions. Even if you love something, it can’t be that great if you use it only rarely.
The key to selling your stuff on either eBay or CraigsList is to keep in mind that no one else except you knows how wonderful this stuff is. Whether you’re selling an average wall clock or an antique vase, it’s up to you to let people know how amazing it is.
Here are four tips for posting your stuff on CraigsList and eBay…
Use compelling titles. Your title needs to do two things. First, it needs to be descriptive enough to get people to click on it. Secondly, it needs to include keywords that people might be searching for.
For example, “CD Collection” isn’t very descriptive or compelling.How about, “Amazing Justin Bieber shrine… includes CDs, autographs, and t-shirts!”
Now that’s a good title because it describes what you have.True, the title also makes us question the seller’s sanity, but that’s neither here nor there.
Take lots of good pictures. A picture really is worth 1000 words, so take pics of your items from every possible angle. You may even take a video. Either way, the point is to show your buyers exactly what they’re getting, flaws and all. Your pics and videos should be a good substitute for holding the item in one’s hands.
Get descriptive. Take a look at eBay, and you’ll see some items that should be popular and sell well, yet they have very few or no bids. Often the reason for this is because the seller offered little description of the product.
Your prospective buyers want to know everything about the product, including both the good and bad points. They want to know how old it is, how much it’s been used, if it has any flaws if you’ve ever had any problems with it, how big it is, how much it weighs, etc.
Prospective buyers also want to know everything about the payment and shipping terms. In particular, they want to know how much shipping is, and how fast you’ll ship the item out.
Be honest. Pretend that you’re selling your item to a dear sweet old grandmother. You’d tell her absolutely everything she needs to know about the item, right? Same applies to selling online. Be honest by sharing the flaws and all. Not only does this build trust and get people bidding up your site, but it also results in good feedback for you.
Okay, so you’ve cleared out your house, garage, and attic, but you still need some funds.
Method 5: Get a Business Partner
I know, you’re probably a bit of a lone wolf. You want to do this business your way. You’d rather have full control over all the decisions and the direction of your business.
Hey, if you really feel that way, then maybe getting a business partner isn’t the best idea for you. I mean are you a total control freak? Does your significant other complain that everything is your way or the highway?
If you’re not bordering on the obsessive with regards to control, then getting a business partner is something to seriously consider. And that’s not just because of the money. If you find someone who’s also smart and experienced, then you get the added benefit of having someone to bounce ideas off of, help you make the best decisions, and even help you with some of the work.
So, what you need to do first is decide what type of business partner you’re looking for. Ask yourself:
Are you mainly looking for someone who can contribute financially?
Are you looking for someone who has experience in your specific industry?
Are you looking for someone who has resources in your industry? This includes resources such as connections with other business owners, mailing lists, social media contacts, lead-generation systems, connections with suppliers and so on.
Again, the idea is to figure out how much you want this other person involved in the actual day-to-day operations.
Once you know what it is exactly that you want in a business partner, then you can start looking for this person. Here’s how…
Approach people in the industry whom you already know and admire. This is one of the best ways to find a business partner, because a person is more likely to say “yes” since they already know you. And since you’ve already developed a relationship, then your business relationship is built on respect and trust.
You’ll also find that this is a very common way to build a successful business. Just think of some of the big success stories you know where two or more people who already knew each other built a business together. Think of…
Larry Page and Sergey Brin knew each other before they decided to start Google together.
Simon Hodgkinson and Jeremy Gislason worked together & had a lot of mutual respect for each other before they joined forces to create MemberSpeed Inc & the SuccessHive.com.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen knew each other before founding Microsoft.
… And the list goes on. But the point is, plenty of friends or even acquaintances have gone on to build great companies together.
Ask for referrals. If you know people in the industry, but these people don’t want to join your business OR they’re not otherwise suitable as a business partner, then you might ask them to introduce you to their friends.
Befriend prospective business partners. In other words, start networking, start getting your name out, and start becoming visible in the niche or industry that you intend to work in. This includes becoming a contributing member of forums and other communities where leaders are already active, commenting on blogs belonging to prospective business partners, and attending events such as trade shows and industry conferences. Once you start raising your visibility and getting some name recognition, then you can start up private dialogues with industry leaders and business people.
Use social media. In particular, you can use LinkedIn to network with other professionals in your industry. You’ll also want to check out Facebook, especially the relevant Pages and Groups in your industry.
If you’re new to your industry and don’t know much about its leaders and business people, then be sure to do your due diligence before you propose any business ideas to anyone. This means thoroughly researching the individual and their companies online. You want to make sure that the person is reliable, trustworthy and professional.
Secondly, remember that even if you’re asking a friend to join you in a business venture, you need to tell them what’s in it for them. In other words, what benefits do they receive in exchange for the money, time and other resources that they contribute to the business?
The best way to demonstrate these benefits to another business person is to show him or her your market research. Show that there’s a demonstrated need and desire for your product or service, show that the market is already spending money, and show your prospective partner your profit projections.
Is having a business partner not really your thing? Then you may want to consider some of the upcoming options.