Money. It’s the one thing that makes the business world go ‘round.
No matter how much passion you have, how many resources sit at your fingertips, or how much experience you have, without the financial backing to get started, you really have nothing to propel your company forward. If you’re new to the world of business, though, this can seem like the most overwhelming aspect of creating your own company. Frankly, even if you’ve been around for some years, this bit is still fairly overwhelming.
Where do you turn when you need money the most? Is there one aspect of your startup plans you can amp up to ensure you get the funding you need?
Business Funding Sources, Explained
If you’ve been here before, you already know this part. You may want to skip ahead to the next section. If you’re a first-timer, keep reading. This is really important. There are only a few ways to get money for your business (legitimately). You can look for business grants. They are out there, and they’re backed by both private organisations and the government itself.
You can also look to loans to help you get the capital you need to get your company off the ground. Additionally, it’s possible to find angel investors, or you can turn to this century’s zeitgeist – crowdfunding. Grants and loans are pretty straightforward. You’ll complete an application (some are quite a bit longer than others), you may have an interview, then the process is over. You either get the funding or you don’t.
Angel investors work a bit differently. These folks are usually investors who are interested in helping entrepreneurs get off the ground. They’re willing to throw money into your company in return for some cash. Think Dragons’ Den in real life. The catch here is that the business usually needs to be making at least some money to attract the right angel investors.
Crowdfunding is more than just a buzzword. It’s a mainstream fundraising model these days, and with sites like Kickstarter attracting new contributors almost every day, it’s becoming one of the single most popular ways for new entrepreneurs to achieve the funding necessary to go forward.
The Secret to Getting Cash
Now that you know where to look, it might help to know a bit about how to look. There is one single thing that will set you apart from every other startup looking to sponge cash to get moving. Ready? It’s a good business plan. You could have almost every other aspect of your company in order, but without that business plan in place, few people are going to want to touch your company. Wondering why? It’s simple, really. If you have a business plan in place from the outset, you’re putting everything in place at once.
You’re adding in your value proposition, marketing assumptions, operations plan, staffing plan, and a closer look at your financing. It’s a good way to let investors know just how crazy you are to undertake a venture like yours. Take a look at a quick example. Imagine that you’ve put together a business plan that is projecting 20,000 customers by year two, but your staffing plan only has two sales associates by that point in time.
Two associates to deal with 20,000 customers? That’s a business not very many people are going to be willing to sink cash into.
The beauty of a business plan, though, is that it is your sales tool, but it’s also your review tool. You can use it to take a closer look at your hopes, dreams, aspirations, and all of that stuff that creates motivational posters for offices everywhere, but it’s also a good way to look at what’s actually going to work for your business. It’s a great way to review every aspect at once and make certain you’re really ready to undertake this venture.
The Secret Ingredient
So, you need a business plan. What’s the secret ingredient? If anything, it’s enlisting the help of a professional who can guide you through the process or even help you author the plan. Even if you hire a copywriter to handle the whole thing for you, he or she is still going to need your input to get those numbers right.
The bonus, though, is that working with a professional means far less stress on your end. Beyond working with a professional, there aren’t really any secret ingredients to a solid business plan.
There are many books on the shelves of shops across the UK that will suggest there are, but often it’s just good research and an understand of how you might move forward.
Money won’t simply fall onto your lap. It’s not going to show up in the post, and it certainly won’t come from a royal Nigerian prince who just happened to email you asking for your help transferring money. It’s going to come from a source ready to look over that business plan, so what are you waiting for?