Some time ago, a client contacted me to say that he wanted to start a small business venture but had no cash at all. He was so excited with the prospect of the proposed business that he insisted on telling me all about it. He had every reason to be excited because it seemed that there was no way that he could fail to make a success of it.
However, he wanted me to help him with the financial aspects, such as how could he possibly get a loan and how he had such a poor credit rating that no one would give him a loan. So why was he in such desperate straits? I asked. Well he explained how he overlooked his telephone bill, and the red reminder so they were going to disconnect it. Then his vehicle failed a roadworthy test and his final loan repayment demand ran out over a month ago. His wife is demanding housekeeping money and his bank has just bounced a payment for his electricity bill.
Not a good starting point to launch a business I had to explain. However, he went into some more detail about his proposed new business. He actually had people lined up who wanted what he was offering. The only problem with that was that what he was offering was in my own stockroom, and would I supply three units to him so he can get started? Well no, how will I know whether I'll ever get paid along with all the others he owes money to?
Not to worry he explains, the business is assured and I would really be backing a one-horse race with odds of 4 to 1. Now I don't gamble, but if ever there was such a thing as a one-horse race at those odds I would be sorely tempted - wouldn't you be?
Now how on earth can I help this poor guy? Is he beyond any help at all? Surely there must be a solution somewhere without any risk to me?
Then it dawned upon me. Several years ago I had found myself in a similar predicament. I had just lost a well paid job and needed some start-up cash really bad. I had no savings because I was young and believed in the mistaken philosophy of "easy-come-easy-go". I remembered what an old timer had once told me, "when the going gets really tough, sell your piano".
Well, at that time I did not have a piano. In fact I have never owned a piano, but I did have one of those early-style word processors. I advertised the word-processor in a local newspaper and sold it to the first caller.
That simple transaction gave me the cash I needed to make a start in a business of my own and that business became so big I could hardly cope with the number of orders. I had complaints about slow service because there were just too many orders to fulfill. Before I knew it I got a call from the Bank to tell me I had achieved a seven figure turnover, and did I want to meet an investment advisor. I had to explain that I had no time even to attend to the orders let alone spare time to meet an advisor.
To cut a long story short, I told my errant client to sell his piano. He had no piano, so I asked him what other items he had of any value in his home. He explained that he had nothing of any value but his wife had an old Singer Sewing Machine that she never uses. I suggested that he should get her permission to sell it, and that's what he did. He placed a small-ad locally and got a good price for it in cash. That enabled him to start the business he believed could be a winner.
Although he started out with a cash problem, and a pile of debts. The problem once resolved actually made him wealthy within just two years. The last time I heard from him was when I received a photograph of him enjoying a luxury holiday on a beautiful sandy beach with his wife and two lovely children
If you really have faith in a business, you don't need any starting cash for a one horse race - you'll find it anyway - right under your nose.
You can read other real-life stories on my website, just click on the link "Case Histories".