The Chicken or the Egg-- for Startups.

The background:

We had participant, Kylie, in our Rapid Round this Tuesday. She is looking to start a not-for-profit day care.

The paperwork is in progress. They have a vacant building that is a former day care. It all seems great!

The problem:

1. They don't have finances to rent the building.

2. They can't get clients without a building.

3. The landlord won't rent to them without proof of revenue (clients).

It's the classic chicken or egg problem. No building if you don't have revenue. No revenue if you don't have a building in which to do business.

The solution:

  • Compress the timeline. You need to get the chicken and the egg simultaneously. It's only possible in a compressed timeline.
  • Create a calendar with time blocks with every task you need to get this done.
  • Calculate the number of clients you need to pay all bills. Make that your target.
  • Find clients by telling them you are opening on a certain date, say August 15, shortly before school opens. And tell them where it will be.
  • Get commitments from them and hopefully deposits.
  • Tell the landlord that you are moving in on August 1, or sooner. 
  • Also tell the landlord you will get back to him on July 15 with your client list and projected revenue. This tells him you have a plan.
  • Tell him not to rent it to anyone else because you have that plan and are working on getting it implemented. 
  • Ask him to give you first right of refusal if someone else is interested in renting it.
  • Do heavy marketing, especially in parishes. If you can talk to people after Mass, do it. Market everywhere in the local area. Apartment complexes. Grocery stores. etc.

We had some great discussions. Kylie said afterward that "the biggest takeaway for me was about how to approach the landlord and also to give myself a compressed timeline."

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