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How I funded my Steampunk Café

    • 101 posts
    June 29, 2012 5:11 AM EDT

    Back in 2008, I began trying to start my own business, one which would eventually evolve into the Steampunk Café that opened to the public this most recent June 2nd. First, my partners and I went to a bank and asked for 150,000 dollars. This didn't work, so we tried for free grants. There weren't any. We cried to Uncle Sam,"Gimme some money!" and he said, " #%^* off!"

    How can a business get off the ground if banks won't give huge, indiscriminate loans to any schmuck off the street, and the US government isn't any better? We needed expert help, so we hired unsecured loan brokers. Get 75,000, no effort involved. They promised the world and Produced nothing. No wonder we're in a recession. Where's all the money at?

    We buckled down and wrote a business plan. Not good enough. We wrote another, and another. Not good enough. We hired a business plan writer. Didn't get any loans. Four years had passed taking business classes and writing business plans.. During those four years, we'd been buying the cafe a little bit at a time, and well, eventually, we had all the money we needed to at least get the doors open.

    We just paid our first month's bills with enough left to pay what could've been a monthly loan payment, though we didn't take salaries. That was without anybody's help. I wonder if they wonder how well we could be doing had they given us a chance. Anyway, good luck trying to get that miracle funding, but odds are, you'll end up doing all the funding yourself. Even a five thousand dollar line of credit was asking too much in our case, and wealthy investors weren't banging down our door. Still, nothing drives an ego to success like a bunch of naysayers, and the same can apply to you. If you really want to start your own business, you'll have to save, and save, and save, and maybe years later, do it all yourself. Nobody else gives a damn.

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    Making limitless possibilities much more limited.

    • 101 posts
    June 30, 2012 6:12 PM EDT

    When the cafe opened on June 2nd, I had twelve cents left in my bank (thought I had thirty five cents - glad I didn't try and spend a quarter), 100 in the cash register, 7,000 in back electricity debt, because there were so many delays from getting a location to getting all the town approvals. We literally started with nothing. None of us, by this point, had anything to lose. We were all un or under employed to the extent that gambling for a brighter future seemed like a great idea. We literally threw all we had into this. Now we've paid the debt down to 2,000 as of this coming Thursday, and have increased our income from 250 a week to 300 a day. Still not enough for salaries, but right now, we've all got lifestyle safety nets that delay indefinitely the need for cafe paychecks. I'm a boomerang as they say - living with my parents. So is another. The other three get by with spousal income and-or part time jobs. Apparently, the only thing we really have is determination. We work for free because this is our one chance to really do something in life. The good thing is, even a hundred hours a week doesn't feel like work. I drink coffee and talk to people. That's why I didn't last in my last job, but it's heaven now.

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    Making limitless possibilities much more limited.

    • 927 posts
    June 29, 2012 8:11 AM EDT

    Matt,

    Congratulations on the opening of your café. I commend you on your perseverance.

    I'm sorry to hear about all the difficulties you encountered in trying to get "good help". Unfortunately, it's something I hear way too often.

    From our observation and experience, we've determined that one of the keys to success in acquiring capital for an early stage business- is/are the founder(s). It's not their resume (that you read in a business plan) but more about who they are, how they conduct themselves, the language they use and the passion/ commitment they exhibit - that attracts the capital.  Therefore, we think it is extremely difficult for a someone to raise capital as a "third party".

    Again, congratulations on what you have accomplished and all the best in the future.

     

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