Contributed by the Founder of Start Up Academy and signed up Startacus member Safi Anick
"Great ideas and powerful implementation plans are just some common forms of amazingness that comes with the label of ‘entrepreneur’. But like acquiring most things in life, starting a new business requires a hefty stack of cold, hard cash. Once upon a time, one would have to await a calling from a interested investor; however this approach often brought dead ends and disappointing results.
However, enter 2014; the ‘year of the entrepreneur’ according to the Start Up Academy. And so it should be just that, support for small businesses and start ups has never been stronger. Everyone from Disney to David Cameron has acknowledged that small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy. By investing in small businesses, we help strengthen our economy by creating jobs while also supporting other companies through purchasing products and forming partnerships.
However, it’s not that simple. Sorting out through all those available funding options can be hurdle in itself. How do you determine which funding stream is the most lucrative for you? What is the best funding option for your business? However, fear not, the Academy is here to help! Here are a few tips to help you locate the best finance deal for your business idea.
Enter a competition!
Encouraging innovation through financial reward has become one of the rewarding ways to fund your start-up. Take Djulieta for example, she received a £1,000 grant through entering the Shell Live Wire pitching competition earlier this year. The competition not only gave her a grant but also got her business some cheeky PR. Start-ups and Startacus also provide some awesome contests and competitions. To improve your odds of success in these contest, find ways to make your project stand out in the crowd. You’ll either have to present your idea in person or pitch it through an essay, so the idea itself has to be as original as possible.
Take a Loan
Sometimes finding cold hard cash lying in the bank is easier said than found, but that shouldn’t let progress be staggered. There are a variety of lending options available, including seed capital loans. This can be easier than trying to secure a bank loan, especially since restrictions have tightened.
The governments Start Up Loan scheme is another reliable option if your seeking for small business loans. Ensure you have a business plan, cash flow and references in check before you pitch away for funding. Putting together the funding to get your business off the ground doesn’t have to be complicated. By creating a good business plan and honing your pitch until it wows anyone who hears it, you’ll increase your odds of getting the financing you need to put your idea in motion.
Find a Grant
Nothing beats a grant when it comes to locating finance. Free money, to put towards your start-up, bosh, done! Money is provided to you, free of charge that you can put toward your start-up. Understandably, locating and landing these grants are extremely difficult, but you’ll definitely never land a grant if you don’t try. Your local council may be giving away innovation grants or running enterprise awards. Unltd and The big Lottery fund are also on hand to help should your business have social rewards.
Grants are available based on the themes of your business, as well as your demographics. Grants are available for business owners and individuals. But be warned, in order to apply you’ll have to exercise your typing fingers, most grant programs require extensive proposals where you detail every aspect of your organization. No pain! No Gain!
CrowdFund Your Idea
Sites like Crowdcube provide a generous platform to fund your idea. Crowd funding has had a global boom in the past year. Getting your business attention from the public alongside investors has never been more rewarding. But all of this popularity guarantees one thing; competition. Your business must gain attention of the masses, because if it goes unfunded it may just be a long holiday for you and your business.
To become a successful campaign you must have a good pitch, business plan and most of all a personality and story. Highlight your product, as well as the background and journey of the team and company. Share your passion and concept; it’s the only way to get others wanting a slice of the action.
It’s best to discuss all your options for funding with an advisor, each business is different and so requires individual support. Remember the Academy and Startacus can get you access to start-up funding, to find out how visit: funding.startupacademy.org.uk "
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