Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde

Last weekend, I caught Bonnie and Clyde on TV. It was great to be able to sit down and watch the film in its entirety - the last time I tried to watch it, my cats were being jackasses and accidentally knocked the cable connector out of the wall just moments before our bank-robbing heroes were gunned down.

It's interesting to think about how the state of affairs has come pretty much full circle, and how today's economic climate and hatred of the money system bears a striking similarity to that of the bank-robbing Depression days. In the 1930's, criminals like the Barrow Gang and John Dillinger garnered a certain amount of fame as folk heroes. In the struggling economy, the populace liked to hear stories of rebels sticking it to The Man by robbing the evil lenders who were first robbing decent, hard-working people out of their homes and businesses in the form of foreclosures. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

As we have been approaching this venture, the biggest hurdle has been the financing. Of course, that is true for any small business owner, regardless of the state of the economy. The money is always and will always be the most daunting aspect, but it is especially true in times of recession.

And even though we are told that we should see improvement in 2010, banks continue to be very tight with their lending. We have been told by several banks that they had completely stopped lending to ventures in the hospitality industry. Others refuse to even consider a loan application unless the applicant is able to put up hard collateral, which is not an option. We cannot afford to buy a $300,000 house in order to qualify for a $150,000 business loan. So what alternatives exist for people like us? Regular people, who don't come from old money, who have an idea and are willing to work hard to make it a reality? (NOTE: I am not implying here that we plan to rob any banks. Bank-robbing is not a behavior that we at the Ankerhaus condone or endorse).

Experts say that many small business owners and start-ups are turning to (and finding success in) alternate and less-traditional methods of fundraising. Articles from (another article found here) and Small Business Notes advocate these innovative options, which include turning more heavily to family and friends as business investors.

This method appeals to us greatly - not just because it may help to get this venture off the ground, but because it ties in to one of the guiding principals behind this business. There is something very special and enticing about the idea of a handful of dedicated individuals making this dream a reality. Of the idea that our friends and family will entrust their hard-earned dollars to us in an effort to help make our dreams come true. And in return, we are empowered by the fact that the people we care about will be the ones who reap the benefits of their investment, rather than a faceless corporate entity solely concerned with a bottom line and profit margin. We want this to benefit the people like us - the people who were willing to take a chance and have some faith.

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