Whether just starting up or looking to grow, most businesses will at some point need to raise external funding to get themselves to the next level.
There is a variety of different sources of finance available and in many cases you may want to use more than one to raise sufficient investment. From bank funding, equity and grant to alternative lenders, such as SWIG Finance and crowdfunding, all lenders will expect your business to prove itself to be investment ready.
Not as intimidating as it sounds, some thinking and planning will get you there and not only help you raise finance but also give you confidence in your own business.
Business manager at SWIG Finance, Mark Thayre reads a lot of business plans and applications for finance. Here are his top tips to help you get investment ready:
- Financial forecasting – Obvious though it sounds, all investors will expect to see some figures and it helps if they add up. It’s important to be realistic about what your business is going to be able to achieve and linking your figures back to market data can help demonstrate your knowledge and business acumen to potential funders.
- Why are you different? – If you’re not sure yourself, you won’t convince anyone else that your business can find space in the market. Be clear about what differentiates you from the competition and how you’re going to exploit that in order to make your business a success.
- How much money? – When you’re asking other people for money, you cannot be vague about how much you want and what you plan to do with it. If it’s clear from your forecasting you need £50,000, you aren’t helping your business by borrowing double that amount.
- Selling your product or service – It’s important to demonstrate in your business plan that you have thought about how you’re going to make sales. A storeroom full of stock is of no use to your business if you haven’t thought through how you’re going to sell it. Outlining a marketing plan will show investors you know making sales is key to a successful business.
If you want to find out more about what finance options could be available to your business, you can speak to Mark Thayre at the monthly SWIG Finance drop-in session at the Pool Innovation Centre.
T: 01872 223 883 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article first appeared in the Dec/Jan issue of Business Cornwall magazine. To subscribe, click here.