These are interesting times for small business. Conventional wisdom states that business begins at the bank, with a loan application and subsequent handshake. We attempted applications and prepared to shake hands, but we were met time and again with the same responses that entrepreneurs across the nation are receiving from commercial lenders:
"We're not lending to startups at this time".
"We're only considering applications from a select few types of business".
"We're not doing any business lending to nonestablished clients at this point".
Or of course,
"Essentially, you'll need to put up your first born to get a loan right now."
No, that's not a joke. Those are the actual words we were told, straight from the mouth of a representative from Fortune Bank.
This introduction could easily turn into a rail against the current state of commercial small business lending, but it wont - instead, I'm going to let it serve as a firm foundation upon which we've laid out our method for raising this beer-soaked barn. It's the reason we're doing things the way we're doing them - to prove that banks sealing their vaults shut does not mean that entrepreneurship and innovation need to stop. To prove that hard work mixed with a strong idea can still be a recipe for success, even if the conventional starting blocks have to be re-engineered a bit.
Which brings us to the fundraising. The current incarnation of the Ankerhaus Pub business plan calls for an initial capital fund of $160,000. This amount will get things off the ground and keep the lights on while the cash flow stabilizes over the first few months of operation. The banks aren't lending, and so we choose a different method to put our seed money together - through many smaller private investors. Investors who might not have ever considered that they might become investors. A crowd notably devoid of monocles or top hats, who drive their own (non-limousine) cars and go to work at real jobs every morning.
People like us.
As of the writing of this post, the Ankerhaus Pub has secured its first anchor investments, from real people like you and like us, totalling $20,000. We're going to make it to opening day, and we're going to do it by inches. Let the banks keep their miles. If you're reading this post, then know that I'm writing it directly to you - as you click to it from your job, from your laptop in front of the TV, from your iPhone that's vastly cooler than my overrated LG Dare.
You can be an investor. You can be a part of this venture, and give us the green light to work our fingers, toes, and tap-handles to the bone earning you a solid return on your investment. No monocles or monograms needed.
Let's make this thing work, just you, us, and a mess of people just like us. Get in touch. Let us send you a copy of the plan. Take a look and figure out if you can make room to be a part of this thing. I'll be honest with you - you can. It doesn't take a millionaire, just a lot of real people working together and pooling their resources not only in the name of making a handsome return, but also in the name of proving that hard work and a smart plan can still add up to be What it Takes.
June 30, 2010 - $20,000 of $160,000 raised.