I was nervous.
I stepped up to the podium to speak in front of hundreds of spectators. I adjusted my tie and looked over to the panel of judges, their pen and paper ready to listen to my business pitch. I couldn’t help but think about how much went into preparing for this pitch competition for the San Diego Entrepreneur day. It all boiled down to the 5 minute pitch I was about to give.
When I started putting my business idea together, I had advice from several people that all sounded the same. “You need financing,” they would say. It certainly seemed like they were right. Some of the most successful tech startup companies around would start by getting hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars from angel investors and venture capitalists.
I heard it so much, I was convinced that the only way to propel my business forward was to get a large investment, or a large loan, to get myself off the ground.
Which is why I spent almost an entire month planning and preparing for this competition, so that I could stand at the podium, sweating bullets in my suit, to get my idea to win first place.
So you could imagine how deflated I felt when the top three winners were announced, and I was not among them.
I walked back to my car, tie undone and my hands in my suit pockets, feeling that all my efforts to prepare were wasted. And in a way, they were. I spent a great deal of resources, time and money to make it into the top ten of this competition. And looking back on it, doing so did not help push my company in the right direction to become profitable.
I went back to the drawing board and started to think about what I needed to do to make myself successful in business and threw out the idea of asking people for money.
What I have come to realize is this:
If you want to start a company, you don’t need a great deal of money. You just need an idea, a passion for what you want to do, and a simple process to get started.
My process is blogging. I rely on my ability as a writer and utilize the free social media networks to bring traffic to what I write. It’s a start, its small, and it may not bring me a lot of money in the present moment. But that’s all you need.
You don’t need a million dollars to start a business. All you need is a million dollar idea and a will to start doing the basics. It’s a long road, but sooner or later that million dollar idea will turn into money.