A startup is hard and expensive. You can be out $100,000+ just to get going. And if you have to take on investors, you’ve already lost a chunk of the company before you’ve even opened the doors.
Find an easier way.
What to do: Take your startup and chop out 90% of the features. Find the one thing that people will pay for. Find the simplest way to sell it. Shave a year off your launch time. Grow from there.
Great example: Start a food truck instead of a restaurant. You’ll be in business, selling product and bringing in cash with a fraction of the investment. You’ll also jettison most of the big risk (long-term leases, furniture, build-out). And when your concept is proven, when your customers love you, when you have cash and a track record … then you upgrade to a real store.
Jeremiah Allen had much of what he needed to open a hot dog restaurant: experience in the industry, an MBA and a passion for hot dogs. What he lacked was the money to build one. But rather than give up the dream, he made a plan to work up to it — one that would take advantage of Austin’s affinity for food trailers while bypassing the daunting challenge of raising investment capital for an unproven concept.
“I’ll just buy a trailer and do it that way,” Allen recalled thinking.
Thus was born Man Bites Dog, a 2-year-old food trailer in South Austin featuring local favorites such as the Buffalo Hottie and the Danger Dog, an all-beef frank wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and topped with queso fresco, jalapeños and danger sauce.
Today, that trailer has led Allen back to his goal as he plans to open a 1,500-square-foot, full-service restaurant with an expanded menu at North Loop Plaza on Burnet Road. Allen plans to keep the trailer.