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Jobsian way to start with zero-capital

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Zen of StartupHere is an often heard refrain from would be entrepreneurs: "I will start something if I get VC backing."

If you are one of them then you better start looking for a job and forget becoming an entrepreneur until, until you change that view.

For instance read this episode from Steve Jobs' early Apple days:

Jobs and Wozniak had impressed Paul Terrel, the owner of Byte Shop who offered to buy 50 Apple I pieces at $500 apiece. The condition was Apple I should be fully built and plug-n-play ready.

Of course, Jobs did not have the money to start building the machines. So he loaned $5000 from his friend. Most importantly, he approached an electronic parts supplier and asked for a credit line based on the order. The supplier called Paul to confirm the order. When Paul confirmed, the supplier -- Haltek Supply -- offered a 30 day credit. Jobs and Woz delivered their first order.

Much of what you read about Jobs will have dramatised this episode. But there is a fundamental practice which most entrepreneurs follow: raise money using your order book. These days there are lending agencies to whom you can pledge your invoices and borrow money. The agency collect the money in turn from your clients. Ask around and you will get more such tips.

Our own business legend, N R Narayana Murthy too says something similar when he exhorts startups to ensure they ask their customers to help them with monthly cashflow to the business.

 

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