Everybody understands that starting up a business from scratch is not a simple process or an easy challenge to take on.
Regardless of how lofty your ambitions are or whether you’re aiming to establish yourself as a sole trader or as a the boss of a burgeoning new enterprise, finding access to initial and early-stage sources of finance is a vitally important step along the way towards sustainability and success.
Here’s a look at some of the most commonplace and most viable routes to finance currently available to startup businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them.
Young businesses and start-ups that are looking to raise funding have a dizzying array of choices nowadays. In fact, there has probably never been a bigger range of places to go for early-stage finance, from crowdfunding and angel investors through to government-backed start-up loans and P2P lenders.
But before we take a look at the options in more detail, it’s important to think about what sort of funding you’re after for your business, and what you’re prepared to offer in return. The basic division here is between equity and debt. Continue…
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If you have approached your bank and found it difficult to secure the funds your business requires, you’re in good company. Banks are declining up to 50% of loan requests from some smaller businesses.
Banks’ lending decisions have very little to do with you or the prospects of your business. And their outdated processes and high costs of capital make it difficult for them to lend to smaller businesses.
Business owners are also being frustrated by the inability of banks to provide flexible forms of credit to businesses. This is highlighted by the fact that the availability of business overdrafts, long a favorite tool for businesses to smooth cash flow, has shrunk by more than 30%.
So where else can you get funding for your business?
When it comes to selling a business, the most important question you need to ask is – how much is it worth?
There is no single formula that can be used to precisely value every private business. The seller will want to drive the price up, and potential buyers will want the opposite.
Although there are relatively easy ways to value certain parts of the business – such as stock, fixed assets (land, machinery, equipment etc.), there will very probably be a sizeable intangible element to the value of a business.
The Albion Growth Report – a study of 1,000 SMEs which aims to explore the factors that help businesses grow and the issues that hold them back – has found that the popularity of bank loans and business overdrafts is declining.
Instead, business owners appear to be turning to equity finance and other long-term financing options in place of the traditional bank sources.
One of the biggest challenges start-ups and fledgling businesses face is securing the funding they need to realise their potential.
A majority of business owners feel that finding finance is difficult in the current climate, and in particular, that banks are reluctant to provide business loans at competitive rates.
So to help you maximise your chances of getting that all-important business loan, we asked Rishi Khosla, the CEO and co-founder of OakNorth Bank – a bank that specialises in lending to entrepreneurs and growth businesses – to share his valuable insight and personal experiences with ByteStart readers;
Dealing with late payment can be tricky for small and medium sized businesses. Handle it wrong and a customer could be lost, ignore the issue and it can stifle business growth, have a huge impact on cash flow and even cause a company to go bust.
Staggering figures published in a government paper in May, revealed that small businesses spend around 130 hours a year chasing late payments, equating to an average cost of £1,500 per business.
The problem is endemic with two thirds of SMEs suffering according to research by the IOD, but follow this 12-Step plan and you’ll be able to minimise the damage late payment causes.
If you need more finance to grow your business, there are a number of options which you might wish to consider. You could turn to your own personal savings, ask family members for help, get a bank loan, issue shares, or speak to some business angels or venture capitalists.
Or you could consider peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.
P2P lending is fast becoming the norm for businesses needing finance to get an idea off the ground or raise the capital necessary to expand and take projects to the next level.
But whilst it’s become a more common financial avenue for SMEs to pursue, it’s still not as well-known as it could be. According to a 2014 Nesta Report, only 44% of UK small businesses have heard of P2P lending.
So what exactly is peer-to-peer lending and how can small and growing businesses use it to finance growth?
When people talk about ‘gearing’ in a business, they are usually referring to one of two types;
- Financial gearing
- Operational gearing
Here’s a guide to what gearing is, and how you can use it to increase the returns your business makes;
Borrowing money from a bank to finance your business is a lot harder than getting a loan to buy a new car or to improve your home.
Banks have a number of tough rules that you need to know before you approach them for a business loan, and these rules have become even more stringent as a result of the credit crunch.
Business owners that are exploring some of the newer business funding options, commonly referred to as ‘Alternative Finance’, can sometimes struggle to distinguish between ‘crowdlending’ and ‘crowdfunding’, not least because they sound remarkably similar.
Both describe ways of raising business finance, but there are huge differences between the two which need to be clearly understood to avoid any tears at a later stage.
So how do crowdlending and crowdfunding differ, and what opportunities do they offer start-ups and small businesses? Continue…
Starting up and sustaining a company is a tough challenge for even the most gifted of entrepreneurs or the brains behind the business world’s biggest and best ideas. Within that context, the margins for error tend to be slim, particularly when it comes to financial matters and the business of balancing your books.
Here are some of the best options potentially available to you if your company is facing a financial squeeze and is running out of cash, along with some ideas on how to approach the turnaround process.
When you are starting a new business, you will most likely need to produce a cashflow forecast.
If you’re looking to raise money, from either a bank loan or outside investors, a cash flow will be one of the financial forecasts that you will need to produce for prospective lenders and investors.
As your business grows, a cash flow forecast becomes an increasingly important tool to help you manage the business and to avoid any sudden cash flow problems.
We all therefore appreciate the importance of a cash flow forecast, but are there any trade secrets to doing it better?
Here are some top tips to help you produce a better, more accurate cash flow forecast first time, and how you can use it to give your business a commercial advantage.
Although it does not necessarily herald the end of a small business, decline into insolvency can bring significant changes in company structure, operations and management style.
It’s worth checking your company for characteristic signs that, if spotted and acted upon early enough, could help you to steer the business away from danger.
Here are 8 early warning signs that indicate your small business could be heading for financial trouble, and the actions you can take to overcome them. Continue…
Looking for an investor to help fund your business? You’d better make sure they’re an angel, not a dragon!
Most businesses require outside investment at some point in their development. Whether you are a new business needing a cash injection to get started, or an established company looking to launch a new product or move into new markets, attracting investment will be essential to your venture’s success.
With late payment problems a constant burden for small business owners, we look at the most common delaying tactics used by customers, and how you can overcome these late payment excuses.
If there’s one piece of advice to hold above all others while running your business, it’s this: cash is king.
It doesn’t matter how much you are selling or the size of your profit, if your business doesn’t have enough cash to pay staff and suppliers you are in big trouble.
Even successful and profitable businesses can be struck by cash flow problems because as they grow, more working capital is tied up in the business.
Without proper cash flow planning good businesses can suddenly find they don’t have enough money to buy resources to fulfil the orders coming in.
Cash is the lifeblood of any business. And in the first few years of your start-up, the ability to get cash into your bank account faster than it goes out again will be one of the main measures of whether it is a viable business.
Every year, many small businesses fail, simply because they run out of cash. Even profitable businesses can be brought down by cash flow problems caused by slow-paying customers.
Without clear credit control procedures to ensure your customers pay you promptly, your business won’t be able to grow and could jeopardise your ability to pay your own bills in a timely manner. That’s the start of a slippery slope that can end in the destruction of years of hard work.
Don’t let your business die this way. Here’s how to build good credit control procedures into your operations from day one, with ByteStart’s seven ways to make sure your customers pay you on time, every time. Continue…
While “entrepreneur” may occasionally be a euphemism for “out of work”, there are more and more individuals working in earnest to start a business of their own. Indeed, statistics show no fewer than 400 million such individuals globally, with over 2 million in the UK and 20 million in the US.
Sadly, many of these ventures will never get off the ground at all. Of those that do, the majority will fail. Of those who submit business plans to venture capital investors, less than one percent will get the funding they seek.
Those elite few who do raise finance have to give away large portions of their company and control in return. Worse still, many business founders who do receive venture capital money get fired within a year of the investment.
Despite the challenge of raising money, and the serious potential downsides, there is a widespread notion that if you are an entrepreneur looking to build a successful, growing business, you need to write a business plan and raise a few million pounds. But this vision is essentially wrong.
Despite the challenge of raising money, and the serious potential downsides, there is a widespread notion that if you are an entrepreneur looking to build a high potential business, you need to write a business plan and raise a few million pounds. But this vision is essentially wrong. Because, if you are smart you can get your customers to fund your business.