Judging from the endless stream of articles and blog posts about how to get start-up funding, you’d think that start-up funding was the most pressing issue small start-ups face. But is it? According to a 2005 study (a few years old, true, but the most recent I’ve found looking at this exact question), Access to Capital by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, about 80% of start-ups are financed with personal savings. Venture capital was used by only 2% of start-ups—but is written about endlessly in all sorts of business media.

The way I see it, funding isn’t the most pressing issue for the vast majority of start-ups in the real world—refining their business idea is. Frankly, if funding were readily available for most of the start-up ideas I’ve heard over the years (and I’ve heard some doozies), an awful lot of money would be down the drain! If you’re like most new entrepreneurs, you likely need to do a bunch more research and planning to make sure your idea targets a profitable market, and that you’ve done sufficient financial planning to maximize your chances of turning a profit. Focus on the business fundamentals first! Later, when you’re confident you’ve done a thorough job of planning, then you can worry about raising any necessary start-up money.

For help in refining your business idea and business planning, check out local business incubators, women’s business centers, SCORE or an SBDC (Small Business Development Center).

Here are a couple great articles on starting off on a shoestring:

Great Companies Started for $1,000 or Less

Bootstrapping Your Startup

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