Raising the capital to start up a business is not an easy job, how much you need depends on which type of business you are going to start. If you’re starting up a business which needs lots of equipment, office or industrial space, as well as manpower you may need to seek out funding just to get up and running. Here are some tips on how to accomplish that.
Build a Website Showcasing your Product/Service
If you want to attract investors, they are going to want to know what your business is before they will even take a meeting with you. A good way to approach people is to send them the link to your website, you don’t have to put your full business plan online (in fact I probably wouldn’t!) but you can give an overview of the product or service, what you believe the target market is, and what you have discovered from any market research you may have done. To do this as leanly as possible, make sure you are taking advantage of promotional pricing. For example, there is a domain name promotion that will net you some excellent savings on your hosting and domain name.
Your Best Investor: You
There are many ways that you personally can raise capital to start a business. You can draw upon your personal savings or savings from your partner’s income, including salaries and commissions. While you are still working at a job and building your business plan it’s a great idea to start putting money aside using and Automatic Savings Plan or ASP. That way when you are ready to start on your business full time you will have a bit of a nest egg saved up.
You could also cash in some investments and pensions, but be careful that you aren’t putting absolutely everything you’ve got on an untested idea. Depending on your business, you can lower startup costs by leasing necessary equipment instead of buying it outright. There are also credit cards and taking out a home equity loan, but again use these with caution. If you do not know that you will be able to pay the money back then you should probably not do it.
If you are comfortable with taking on partners, equity investment is also a good way to raise money. Just be aware that an equity investor becomes involved with the business making decisions and operations, so it needs to be somebody that you are comfortable working with. Because they get a larger return on investment if the business does well, they have a vested interest in seeing it do so but you will not have sole control of your company. If you are more of a ‘lone wolf’ type, then this sort of arrangement may not work for you.
Small Business Loans
Depending on where you live, there are likely a variety of small business loans available from banks or government institutions. If you are part of a minority group, you may qualify for loan programs that other businesses would not. For these types of loans the application process is typically arduous, sometimes even more so than applying for a mortgage. They are going to want to see a business plan including how and when you project being able to repay the loan as well as solid market research. They aren’t going to just hand over a large sum of money to anybody who asks. However, as these loans are designed to give small businesses a leg up if you do end up qualifying for one they typically have much more favourable repayment terms and interest rates than say a credit card or home equity loan. But make sure you read the fine print and ask questions before you sign any contracts.
Find out your credit score
Before you start applying for loans and financing it’s definitely advisable to look into your credit rating and make sure that you would qualify. If you already have a low credit score and are rejected for further requests for financing it can reflect negatively on your credit report.
If your score isn’t currently high enough, don’t give up. Credit is fixable, it may take a little while but it will be worth it to spend the time building it back up. That might mean you need to put your business plans on hold for a year or two, but if it’s something that you truly want to do then it will be worth the wait.
Develop a comprehensive business plan
As we already mentioned, any reputable lending organization will want to see a comprehensive business plan as part of a loan application from a start-up company. Make sure that your plan will offer a proper outline of short as well as long-term business objectives, they will want to see that you are planning ahead. You should not forget to offer details of research on your prospect of gaining revenues. In fact, the plan must provide information on the total amount of money you require, the tentative period when you expect to get a return on investment and so on.
Arrange the necessary paperwork
Just like applying for a home loan or other personal credit, you also need relevant financial documents or papers when you apply for this type of funding. You should plan to acquire relevant copies of last tax returns, three or four months of financial statements from banks as well as a relevant copy of the business license. Depending on the business you are trying to start, there may be additional requirements as well. You will likely be working with a loan officer who can advise you on what information you will need to provide, as well as who can help you out if your loan is initially rejected.
Starting a business can be a huge undertaking, but if it’s something that you feel called to do you will find a way to make it happen! Financing is often the biggest hurdle, but by following the steps above you can make the process a little smoother.