Small Fries

You have to build your experience before you can build your budget.

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Question: I want to open my own restaurant, but without any experience or capital, I'm having trouble finding a bank to lend me the money I need to build out the space and buy equipment. Any ideas? 

Answer: No different from any other first-time entrepreneur, you need to walk before you can run. In your case, that might mean catering before opening your own bistro. Not only will this provide you with much-needed capital, it'll also give you a track record of profitability, a customer following and the chance to get a leg up on the competition. And who knows? One of these custom projects might turn out to be the next big thing for you and your business.  Back when we started our internet marketing company, NetCreations, my partner and I developed a software application to help a client send out an e-mail newsletter, which led to an e-mail marketing service that ultimately grew into a 50-million-name database. But don't shelve the custom projects just yet, warns financial consultant David White. There's nothing wrong with bringing in some extra cash flow while you scale your business to new heights.

—By Rosalind Resnick, who is founder and CEO of Axxess Business Consulting, a New York City consulting firm that advises startups and small businesses, and author of Getting Rich Without Going Broke: How to Use Luck, Logic and Leverage to Build Your Own Successful Business. Reach her at rosalind@abcbizhelp.com or through her website, abcbizhelp.com.

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