Entrepreneurs often have a tough time finding someone to fund their venture; many fail to do so but go ahead with the launch anyway, and then they run out of cash. Finding a reliable source of start-up capital is likely to be fundamental to your business’s success. If you can fund it yourself, that’s terrific. If a partner is able to provide funding, then that can work, too.
At the start of my career, I made a conscious effort not to bring on any financial partners, as I wanted to hold all the equity in my businesses. My friends and I worked hard to keep our businesses going using only the cash they generated. For our first business, Student magazine, we did all we could to sell advertising to pay the bills. When we started Virgin Records, we handed out leaflets to promote our shops.
This meant that our expansion was slightly slower than we would have liked, but it also meant that I could reward my colleagues with equity in the company. I was free to steer the business in any direction I wanted. This gave me freedom to move on opportunities quickly and also to make tough decisions without delay or distraction.
Remember, a partner with money is very useful, but a partner who will also provide you and your team with the space, time and freedom needed to build the business is a true friend – and that friendship will stand the test of time.