I was walking to the taxi rank today and I had a moment of inspiration, well lets assume this idea is inspired. I have for the last month or so been trying to pen down this blue-print that we will take to potential investors. Although I have written quite a bit, it is not enough to take further, yet. Yes, I have procrastinated more on writing this document than ever before.
During that same time period, I redesigned and launch two websites (YG&B and HALF). Inasmuch as I was feeling guilty of doing do so, I realised something about the nature of how I work, ipso facto, how 2LMN operates with respect to the Growth projects:
Instead of waiting for someone or thing to solve a problem we have identified we would rather provide (as in build) the solution to that problem.
That might seem egotistical, but it is exactly that — 75, Studio83, Gusto all these projects fit a defined need that we wanted to exist but didn't at the time. With that same narrative, I started thinking:
Why wait for some external entity to vet our ideas and thus allow us to grow them? Why don't we fund our own ideas?
Is this even possible? I think it is. I know there is a Crowdfunding initiative locally. Alas, where we differ with them is that, we would be looking to fund specific ideas — our own ideas and we would make the decisions ourselves instead of waiting for approval from somebody else.
So, let me break down this idea into mathematics. Mathematics never lies, right? The big question is how much would you invest? I am not talking about asking a Venture Capital firm, I am asking you the ordinary web surfer. Lets take a round figure like say R500. If we take the conservative approach:
- if we have 1000 people willing to contribute R500 every month we would get
- 1 million rands in 2 months;
- 3 million in 6 months;
- 6 million in 12 months;
- and so on and so on
So, you might ask what do I get in return — well assuming when you get preview to the ideas we have lined up and the growth strategy you would know what are the possible ROI's (returns on investment). The key part of this, is that whomever contributes will have a stake and influence on the projects that their capital is invested in. Over and above that is, we are not going to be starting from zero — we already have some of these projects of the ground and they have their own niché market that can be grown to realise whatever we set as the objectives for it.
But, being that this is mathematics — it is not so much about getting 1000 people, it is about getting enough capital to invest into implementing and growing these ideas. As anybody who has run their own business would know that time and effort is easily afforded any idea that is worth that time and effort.
What I do like about this idea is that we are literally putting our money where our mouth is and it has the idea of a "collective good". I will say though, I don't know if it is possible or not — but that is not what I am focused on, I do believe it is feasible and most importantly it is a quicker strategy to take and implement.
I could easily start with family members whom I think are already supportive of what I am trying to do; then follow that up with close friends, of which I asked this afternoon about the idea — they mostly agreed with it. The idea of social networks could also be applied, where once we realise that we need more capital, family and friends could vet for somebody else to become a shareholder and investor.
What are your thoughts? I will return to this idea to explore it more and update if it has worked and where it has failed: each one, teach one, right?
Come to think of it — just the knowledge of knowing that this is an idea I will pursue has made my mind at ease to re-write that original business plan. This idea has given me the sense of confidence to complete writing that other document.