The word capital in business is normally synonymous with funding however that's actually only one of the many different types of capital that are needed to grow a successful business.
In this article we look at the three types of capital entrepreneurs and startups must look at for a to be successful.
1. Knowledge Capital
Depth of Knowledge & Breadth of Knowledge
One of the things I learned very early in sales and business was to have depth and breadth of knowledge.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that on one hand, an entrepreneur needs to be the subject matter expert for his or her field. Anything that requires their expertise they have the ability to go layers deep into that topic. On the other hand, there are times your business does not require you to always be in subject matter expert mode to close and grow opportunities.
Because business happens on so many levels it is important that entrepreneurs have the ability to have conversations on a broad cross-section of topics. These conversations can range from everything that's in the PESTLE to something as simple to what's happening in communities or sports.
Where can one acquire this knowledge?
At present, there is no shortage of resources when it comes to information. Becoming an expert in your field is going to cost you both money and time but making the investment will yield great returns.
Here are some platforms to support your knowledge expansion.
LinkedIn Learning (Free)
HubSpot Academy (Free)
Coursera (Free & Paid)
2. Human Capital
We often consider the term entrepreneur to be that lone wolf type of role when in reality it does not have to be that way. Also, if we are honest with ourselves, as entrepreneurs, you know all too well that you are not good at trying to do everything.
Many of us try to grow our businesses alone, while this is possible, it’s also not the most efficient and practical way for you to be using your time as the lead person in your business when there are other people that can do certain tasks faster and at a higher quality than you can.
Solopreneur - One who organizes manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise without the help of a partner. - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Building a team or looking for persons to outsource or partner with has the ability to grow your business much faster than going it alone. Unless you intend to live in the world of a “Soloprepeurship” forever, it’s important to understand that all successful businesses (large or small) have a team supporting it.
It’s a common saying that “Your Network is Your Net Worth” and by now many of us will know that there is some truth behind that phrase. As entrepreneurs, we have to keep strategically positioning ourselves to be around or making contact with the right people that can either be part of our team or can be part of value chain offering to your customers.
Here are some platforms and strategies that will support that growth of your team:
Using LinkedIn to find people with similar skills or interests
Joining LinkedIn Groups
Joing Facebook Groups
Create an apprenticeship programme for your startup
3. Financial Capital
This one is always the toughest for some entrepreneurs/startups because it's a big driver in the growth of the company. Money raised either through sales or venture capital funding must be aligned to some sort of growth strategy.
If you are bootstrapping and funding your business organically through sales make sure you have a strategy or plan in place for your business. Note, it's recommend that you consider looking at your business model before looking your business plan as one feeds into the other.
Planning for 2021 Webinar: 9 Elements Of The Business Model Canvas
For those of us seeking venture capital funding, looking at that business model canvas suggest earlier will be necessary but keep in mind that your pitch deck is super important. Two things that your potential investors will be looking at in your pitch are your expertise (knowledge capital) and approach to execution which will require some sort of team or network (human capital).
Business growth all comes down to strategy and while there are many different formulas, sometimes looking at the basic and simple things help create the right framework or foundation for your success. Knowledge, people and funding are three important contents for building the right foundation.