It is important to think about the finance your business will need in order for you to make sure it not only survives the potentially difficult first few months, but also that you have the best possible chance to grow in the future.
The following questions are a useful starting point when you are looking to access finance for business:-
- How much finance is required? It is only when you have sat down and listed all the things you would want to get your business off the ground that will get an idea of the potential costs. It is useful also to have some ‘contingency’ i.e. in case additional costs are incurred that you hadn’t thought of. If you are looking to raise finance for business development the same rule applies. Look at the project you are looking to raise finance for and list every cost involved.
- Where can I go to access funding? This really depends on the amount of funding needed. For example, if your venture needs less than £10,000 and you are in the early stages of business devlopment then a good place to start would be the Government Start-Up Loan Scheme. If you need more than £10,000 it may be a combination of potential lenders. It helps, however, if you have some money to put into the business yourself (or perhaps some backing from friends and/ or family).
- How long will the funds be needed? If you take on a loan from The Start Up Loan Scheme you can repay this over 1 to 5 years. For larger projects it may be possible to repay loans over 10 or more years. It very much depends on both the amount of the loan and what the monies were needed for.
- What if things change and I need additional finance? As long as you can demonstrate that you are running the business well, you may be able to access further finance to assist your growth plans. This is why it is important to have a good business plan in the first place and also to monitor how well you are doing compared against your plan.
- How can I make my finances better? This can be difficult to answer, but there are some common sense principles that cover most types of business. For example, keep on top of your credit control (make sure your customers pay you promptly); try to keep stock levels as low as possible (but making sure you don’t run out of stock!!); keep up-to-date with the latest opportunities (for example when local councils may be inviting companies to tender for work).
If your business is looking for debt finance then a well-written business plan is definitely a must. This will demonstrate how your business will be able to meet the interest charges and repay the capital element of any loans.
Whether you are looking for finance to start or grow an existing business, The Women's Organisation are experts in helping businesses to develop a business plan and access finance. For advice around the best financial options for you and guidance to build a robust business plan contact our team on 0151 706 8111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Global Entrepreneurship Week we are running a special finance advice clinic where businesses who are looking to grow can meet with our finance expert to look at raising finance. Appointments can be booked for Monday 16th November by contacting our team. More details about this here. If you need help more urgently though, don't hesitate to get in touch and we will look at how we can accomodate you.
by Business Growth Adviser John Jones