5 Business Capital Categories to Remember
Finding business capital isn’t just about loans and angel investors. Remembering to think about your other types of capital can help you solve problems and identify new opportunities.
If you want to start a business you are going to need some type of capital. Without it you won’t have something to sell to your clients or resources to take care of your business’s administrative requirements.
But what does this capital look like? Money is an obvious, and important, type of capital but it isn’t the only one. For the purposes of this post, I have five categories of business capital for you to consider — money, things you already have, time, personal abilities, and, good will. Each of these bring something a little different to the table and your individual mix will (or should) effect your business plans and how the different capitals work together. Identifying what makes up your mix of capitals think about how they can help you meet your goals, differentiate you from your competition, and find new ways to innovate.
Here is a brief summary of the business capital categories:
Money is hugely important for starting and running a business. I can’t tell you how much you will need or where you will get it, but you will need it to pay people (including the business owners) and buy things that your business needs. As far as where the money comes from, ultimately you want to to come from selling your business’s product or services to your clients. Some businesses can be started on a shoestring budget and self-fund within a fairly short period of time, other businesses may need more funding and may take a lot longer to recoup the investment – when you plan be realistic about where your business falls on this continuum.
2. Things you already have
I almost labeled this one personal belongings. This group is for items that you already have, that you can use for your business. This is largely about using resources you already own or rent to meet your needs instead of buying new items. This particular category is very specific to your personal circumstances and sometimes you might not recognize how something might be used until you need it.
As a business owner, your time is right up there with money on things your business will need, especially if you are short on money. While time may seem free to you, you should still be careful to use it wisely.
4. Personal abilities and interests
Personal abilities include your talents and things that you know how to do. For a lot of small business owners, personal abilities and interests are part of why you are in business or what you are selling, but they can also help you come up with new ideas or help you decide what you can reasonably do yourself.
5. Good will
Good will, or social capital, is huge. It is also difficult to quantify and easy to squander. Good will is basically your accumulated positive social capital. This includes your and your business’s reputations. A result of good will can be people being willing to do things like provide referrals or grant favors. It is important to not take these things for granted and to show appropriate gratitude for them. So remember to say thank you, to be respectful of referrals and generally do your best to treat others well. One word of caution, be careful to not let yourself be taken advantage of when you are trying to build good will.
Now that you are thinking about the different types of capital out there start a list of things that you have in each category. When you are making plans and deciding how to run things in your business, remember these categories and use them to help you find solutions or new ways to innovate.