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 And their outdated processes and high costs of capital make it difficult for them to lend to smaller businesses.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;
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…
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.
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.
To raise money to grow your business, you have to convince likely lenders that your idea is profitable, or at least has the potential to be.
Here, we take a look at two the two key elements that should drive your search for funding;
- The different types of finance available
- What lenders and investors look for in businesses
This guide helps you to understand more about the main types of business finance available, and also highlights what investors and lenders look for in a business before they lend it money.
So you want to sell your business? The place where you’ve spent more time than with your family; invested money which you’ve sometimes had to borrow in order to expand or buy new equipment; given your heart and torn out your guts; worked anywhere from 60 – 80 hours a week, maybe more; tackled a recession and seen a chink of light at the other end.
Now think of decorating a room. Any professional will tell you it’s 80% preparation and 20% finish. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but the planning is all important when it comes to selling. Continue…
Angel investors can be a lifesaver for a small enterprise – not only can they supply capital investment, but they often have years of valuable experience to offer a fledgling business.
As viewers of Dragons’ Den will know, securing angel investment is no easy task. Although much of the BBC show is put on for our entertainment, many of the business owners who appear on the show make the same fundamental mistakes.
Here are five things you must consider if you are seeking investment from a business angel; Continue…
Although it may not reflect ‘real life’, the BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme has done a good job in highlighting the role that angel investors play in the business world.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the ongoing economic downturn has actually resulted in an increase in business angel activity. As the returns from more traditional means of investing dwindles, some investors are more prepared to invest in riskier propositions rather than watching their capital increase by 2% per annum elsewhere. Continue…
The Government launched the EFG scheme to encourage lenders to provide further funding to smaller businesses following the credit crisis. In this article, we look at the how the scheme operates in practice, and how small firms can benefit.
Many businesses will need to raise funds at some time – either at the start-up stage, or to finance expansion. With ‘traditional’ credit still in short supply and the possibility of a ‘triple dip recession’ in 2013, here is an overview of the various options open to small businesses looking to raise funds.
Raising business finance is difficult at the best of times but in today’s age of austerity banks, business angels and governments are tightening their belts, cutting off the supply of cash which is leaving start-ups and growing businesses who need seed finance thirsty for money. As a result venture capital is being democratised.
When you are starting a new business you have a million and one things to think about. As a new business owner, many of the issues you will need to tackle, will be completely unfamiliar to you.
With so much to do, you will need to learn quickly. If the financial side of the business isn’t your strong point, here are 10 tips from ByteStart to help you stay on top of your business finance.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Dragons’ Den – and find me anyone in business who hasn’t watched at least one episode – you’ve seen some venture capitalists in action.