The city of Austin sponsors a Professional Development Center through its Small Business Development Program with expert and inexpensive training for area small businesses. In fact, they regularly host workshops that are very helpful for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
One of the workshops I heard is considered particularly useful is one that concerns how to obtain financing. They go through the various options companies can explore in order to secure the funds needed to start, build, and operate their business. This topic is particularly relevant now because the banks are so slow at offering traditional financing – and that is putting it mildly. I think the chance of getting business financing today is about as likely as a snow storm in July. But with global warming – who knows!
Anyway, one of the things emphasized in this particular workshop is how to impress investors – because that’s about the only way a business is going to get any green. This requires not only basic finance understanding, but also knowing what investors are concerned with. Aside from the usual business plan stuff, there is also the matter of appearances.
The irony is that in order to get money you have to practically have money — or at least look like you do. That’s because no investor wants to take a chance with what they perceive to be a loser. One of the ways to make the process easier on the appearances front is to host meetings in a nicely appointed conference room.
Austin appears to be the most progressive of the Texas cities. But it is also getting filled up with lots of Angelenos who are fed up with California real estate prices. So it is no surprise that how a business looks is even more important in that region than ever. But with conference rooms for as little as $35 an hour – any business can look good enough to invest in!