The Financial Countdown
...Launching Your Business
If you're thinking of starting up a business, it's likely you're going to need some money to get it going. Apart from all the boring bits like getting your accountant (although with us that's a grand adventure), insurance, phone, website and so on, there's a good chance you're going to need to buy some equipment or stock and have some money to ensure you can market your product or service to your key customers. We're often asked if there are grants to support start-ups like yourself, and the sad answer is not often. You 're probably going to need to find the money yourself, so it's worth considering whether you've got anything you might be able to contribute, or asking any family or friends if they would like to invest in the business. You could even offer them some shares in return and sound very grown-up and business-like at the same time.
If this isn’t an option, you've still got some avenues to explore. Depending on what your start-up is looking to do, you could raise money on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter, which is great if you have something you want to make but need to buy some equipment first. What happens is you get loads of people to buy your finished product before you have made it, and that way get the money you need up-front. You might be opening an amazing artisan bakery and asking your investors to pay a certain amount in return for your lovely bread delivered to their doorstep for the next year. Perfect!
If this doesn’t suit you, then have a think about a start-up loan. There are quite a few of these around and the good thing is they tend to be packaged up with some support and mentoring to help you on the way. On average, you'll be able to borrow between £5k and £10K at about 6%. Have a look at the Start-Up Loan company, SMARTA, Virgin StartUp or, if you're young, the Princes Trust to get a feel for what they offer and what will encourage them to lend to you. If you come across well, have a good plan and an idea that can fly, then you're making it easy for them to say yes!
The banks find it harder to say yes when you're starting up, as you don’t have a history of trading that they can look at to see how risky you are. However, once you've got going and have shown that you've done what you said you would, then sit down and talk with them about what you need to take the business to the next stage.
And remember, we're always here to help.