As a start-up business, the chances are you’ll need some money behind you to begin with. This may be to buy equipment you need. Or to make sure you’ve got enough to pay your salary until your invoices start getting paid. There are many different ways of raising finances including loans from family and friends, crowdfunding to Self Employed Grants.
You might have already planned ahead and saved the money you need (this is known as ‘bootstrapping’) or be in the fortunate position to either already have more or less everything you need. If not, you’ll need to raise some finances. Once upon a time, the only way to do this was to go to the bank. This is obviously still an option, but today there are a number of other ways which might appeal to you.
Family and friends
For lots of people, the easiest way to get the money they need to start their business is to ask family or friends to help them out. Whether you’re asking for £1,000 or £100,000 (if you’re lucky enough to know someone with that much to spare!) it is best to treat the transaction as a business agreement. You should really be putting everything in writing and, if needed, getting legal advice. That way, everyone knows where they are and it will hopefully stop there being any problems later on.
When financing your business this way make sure you give whoever is lending you the money a clear picture of what you’ve got planned and when you think you’ll be able to pay them back. They’ll also need to know if they have any financial liabilities.
This is an alternative way of raising funds with lots of people (like a big crowd) coming together to each invest a small amount in your business. There are three different ways of raising money this way:
Here everyone donates money without wanting anything in return. They’re doing it because they believe in what you’re doing and want to do their bit to help.
Here people get shares or part of your business when they invest in your business.
People invest with the hope to receive their money back with interest as they’ve helped you grow.
A start-up loan
You could be eligible for a start-up loan as the government is trying to boost the UK economy by helping people like you get their business off the ground.
They are doing this through their Start Up Loans scheme. You can apply for up to £25,000 (the average is £6,000) with the money having to be paid back within 5 years at an annual interest rate of 6%.
Alternatively, you could try for a loan from Sir Richard Branson through Virgin StartUp. This is getting new businesses off the ground with loans of around £5,000 that have to be paid back at an interest rate of 6.17%, within three to five years.
Self Employed Grants
You can apply for a Self Employed Grant through national and local organisations. They have been given their money through the government which has put funds towards Self Employed Grants and starting new enterprises. It will be up to whoever you apply through to decide if you get the Self Employed Grant or not.
Think Dragon’s Den but hopefully friendlier! Here someone invests in your business for shares of it. They will get involved in making sure they get their money back with interest. They’ll do this by using their business knowledge and experience to support you and help ensure you’re a success. With this kind of investment, the Angel Investor will own part of your company – how much is something you’ll have to agree between yourselves.