My wife needs financial help to restart her handmade soap business, hopefully a grant. We have the building, need to upgrade computer and software, get raw materials, build a web presence. Asked by Scott Coe on LinkedIn.
MVH: My first question: do people and stores want to buy her soaps? If so, can she hand-make some samples? Could she use the samples to make some sales, collect some deposits, then use that money to buy more raw materials and make the soap that was ordered? If she prices properly, she should have enough gross profit to buy the next batch of ingredients and make more soap.
This is customer financing and it’s not that unusual. It requires having buyers who believe in your products. But people may be more willing to do this than to loan or give her money.
This is pure bootstrapping, and you don’t want to do this if you can raise capital in any other way.
You didn’t say how much you need to raise, and that makes a big difference. But if you can’t even afford some raw materials, it seems premature to worry about upgrading your computer and software. Use pencil and paper. Spend no overhead before its time!
Websites can be put up very inexpensively–free here on WordPress, plus hosting for less than $100 per year. It just takes time and gumption. Or spend a few hundred on a virtual assistant to do the initial set up. Most internet and web things are time-intensive, not money-intensive, but hiring a dollop of skill helps a lot.
The more capital you raise, the faster you can grow.
The more you can demonstrate demand, the easier it is to attract capital.
So hit the pavement and make sales.
I’ve never seen anybody get enough money from a grant to launch a viable business. Just enough to go broke.
The likely sources of financing for this venture:
— Your own savings
— 2nd mortgage on your house
— Family, even though it’s very risky even asking them
— A bank loan with a personal guarantee
— A private backer who strongly believes in her skills and concept
A product like this might be a candidate for crowd funding. Google this.