I've been walking around with an idea to start a new business, for about six months now. I've done some basic market research and have spoken with a few similar businesses in the country. I think there'd be high demand in my area.
How the heck do I go from "I have a great idea and I have an LLC" to "welcome to the grand opening of my business with all of these shiny new supplies that cost me in excess of $100k (etc)."?
Friends and family say the next step is finding an investor. Yeah that's great, BUT YOU CAN'T LOOK UP "POTENTIAL INVESTOR" IN THE PHONE BOOK! Where do you find these people?! Do you create some sort of glorious pamphlet with your concept, research, and what you're looking for for investment? Do you casually leave them in upscale steakhouses and hotels and hope for the best?!
Is this basic knowledge my parents forgot to teach me? Help!
First I think you need to have some money of your own that you are willing to throw down to show you are putting your own purse in the mix. Second instead of investors why not look for partners? That is what investors are anyway. If you sought out like minded colleagues you have already worked with and know you are cohesive with that not only provides a smooth start with a share of the initial funding but spreads around the responsibility while giving you others to brainstorm with and learn from.
Good advice from JulesA. You have options, but everything depends on what kind of business you plan to do, where you will open it, and how you plan to run it. Have you written a business plan? The marketing and financials are the most important components, and you should have these in place before you can logically make the decision to proceed with the business or not. If you don't know where you're going to get the money that you need to float the business for the first 6 months to a year then you are not ready.
Don't just do basic market research. Write a formal business plan. It doesn't have to be an elaborate one but it serves as your guide for every decision that you will make about the business. If you apply for a loan from a bank, or credit union even if through the SBA they will want to see that business plan. Network with other providers, think about partnerships, and also look into writing for grants.
I didn't have any investors. I started up mostly with cash from my own savings. I also applied to my bank and my credit union for a line of credit--- which wasn't as tough as I thought it might be. The space that I leased is not in a prime location but it is close enough in the way that people can easily find me. It is nice and roomy and the contractor did the buildout for a reasonable fee. The landlord even threw in some extras for free. I did not buy a lot of expensive furniture and equipment. I don't like cheap things so I did invest in decent quality furniture, and I personally did the decor so that the place looks professional and good. A couple pieces of equipment are leased at very affordable rates...which, for me, made more sense than spending tens of thousands of dollars on buying them upfront. Later when I make more money I may reconsider buying, although there are certain tax advantages to leasing. All I'm saying is you don't have to spend $100,000k+ to set up a spot and hang your shingle.