For Pre-Funded Companies

For renewable energy start-ups with no funding (yet), who are trying to bootstrap their venture from their savings account, home equity loan or paycheck from a second job, here are some things that can get you on the right track and get your story out to potential customers and investors. These are the basics.

  • Develop a current Business Plan that describes your technology, how it’s protected, what problem it solves, evidence the technology is viable (Proof of Concept), for whom, what competitors exist, how you plan to market it and make money (Proof of Demand) and a balance sheet. Many plans are lengthy, but shorter plans still need these ingredients.
  • Focus on demonstrating both “Proof Concept” and “Proof of Demand”, as finances allow.
  • Create an Executive Summary from the master Business Plan -- no more than 2 pages.
  • Seek advice from experts who are willing to give probono advice about a) if your business is viable, b) what things to spend your time on, defer, or skip and c) help with networking connections, including investors and potential Advisors. A good source for this is the management at C4Cube.
  • Form an Advisory Panel of experts across key fields such as finance, science or engineering in relevant technology, marketing and management. Advisors will be drawn from your network, non-paid, committed to your venture, forthcoming in their advice and meet as needed, but at least quarterly.
  • Search out energy partner opportunities. Ultimately wind and solar energy generation firms will need storage so partnering with a battery company makes sense. Similarly, for energy products or components made of plastic, there are two plastics experts right in Reno. You get the idea of collaboration.
  • Develop a preliminary competitive audit. By searching key words, get a good idea what other companies are already out there, locally, nationally and globally. Look beyond direct competitors to those with similar offerings a prospective customer may feel is attractive.  
  • Develop a preliminary website that looks professional, with no errors, with fewer pages and employs “templates” for cost savings. Brochures and business cards should be integrated -- sharing language and style -- with the website.
  • Develop initial outbound marketing communications strategy using your existing email database and leads from y our website for starters.
  • Compensate hired partners or suppliers “creatively,” such as with blends of stock and pay, partial deferrals etc.

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