October 5, 2011
I joined a free webinar for small business owners today, called “Sources of finance for business growth.” The webinar promised to cover topics such as business partners, government grants, business loans, and angel investors. I was especially looking forward to finding out about government grants and loans.
It was a short webinar, only 45 minutes in length. The presenter, Andrew Patricio, used a webcam to allow the participants to watch him during the presentation. Beside the screen showing the presenter on camera was another screen that showed the powerpoint. By using a wide range of tools, the presenter was able to keep me engaged throughout the webinar.
This is far better than simply listening to the webinar. I have sat through a few webinars but never one that included the video of the presenter. And the webinars that I have participated in, that included audio only, were ones that I had to pay a small fee to join. This webinar, offered by BizLaunch, was free.
I was impressed by the presenter’s ability to keep on topic. He didn’t sidetrack into any commercials about other services that we may be interested in. He simply provided us with exactly what the description had detailed. And he offered us an extensive list of websites that we could research for further information.
I was disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of information about government grants and loans. Andrew did provide a couple of websites, some for Canadian businesses and some for American businesses. I was grateful for his consideration that some of his participants were in Canada. His main point about government grants was that they are few and far between. He explained that we all know someone who was able to get free money from the government for business ventures. But those people were rare, and the criteria for the money very strict. His advice: go for it if you really feel your service or product is unique, but be prepared for a lot of work and disappointment.
Instead, Andrew provided me with a lot of information on a term I had never heard of before: angel investors. Angel investors are those people who have money to invest, and who want to invest in small business ventures. They are typically older, wealthy individuals. Not only do they provide capital for entrepreneurs, but they also provide mentoring as they typically want to be involved to some capacity.
Although the term was new to me, it certainly is not new to the world. There are a number of websites devoted to bringing angel investors together with entrepreneurs. My to-do list now includes researching these websites to see if my product will fit within anybody’s interest. I am quite excited about the possibility of finding someone willing to believe in my idea and willing to take a chance with me.
The one piece of advice from Andrew that I am concentrating on now is “do not grow your business too quickly.” He explained that the stress of running a business is already very high. The stress of running a fast-growing business is even greater. I do know that when I played simulation games, such as DinoPark, and tried to expand too quickly, I often went bankrupt. Fortunately, since it was simply a computer game, I didn’t lose anything important. When Andrew shared his viewpoint on fast-growing businesses, I was reminded of my DinoPark games. Those types of computer games are good training for future entrepreneurial ventures.
As you can see by the extensive list of websites below, all provided by Andrew, his webinar was stocked full of valuable information. It was definitely an hour well spent.
For information about upcoming business webinars offered by BizLaunch, go to: http://www.bizlaunch.ca/
For information about funding sources for small business owners and entrepreneurs, research the following links:
AngelList at http://angel.co/
Fund & Follow Creativity at http://www.kickstarter.com/
National Angel Capital Organization at http://www.angelinvestor.ca/