When starting up a business it can be easy to underestimate how much cash you will need to cover your start-up costs and see you through the first few months of trading until the business is generating sufficient cash through trading to cover expenditure.
Once you have worked out your start-up costs and prepared a business plan and cash-flow forecast you will know exactly how much funding you are going to require. If you don’t have your own funds to invest you will need to consider other sources of finance. This could be Equity Finance – investment; Debt Finance – loans/overdrafts; Grants
Here are a few for you to consider:
Family and Friends
They may well be willing to help lend money to a new business starting up. This can be particularly good if they don’t want any interest repaid on the loan that they make to you. However, your relationship could be strained if you are unable to give them a return on the loan they gave you, so it's wise to ensure that they are fully aware of the risks.
Most banks offer a selection of finance options for businesses looking to start-up. It's always a good idea to start by speaking to the bank that you have a personal account with to understand what they can offer you, what the interest rate and repayment term will be. It is common for a bank to want to see that you are also putting in some of your own funds into the business.
Businesses up to 24 months old can apply for a Government-backed personal Start- Up Loan of up to £25,000. As with all loan applications, you will be credit checked. The loan can be used for most start-up costs but cannot be used for training or debt repayment.
There are over 500 Credit Unions operating in the UK and many of these offer business loans at low interest rates.
Local Authorities (Councils)
Occasionally Local Authorities may be able to offer financial support to business start-ups, including grants and loans. However, it is worth pointing out that grants are rare and those that are available do have strict eligibility criteria and are often aimed at certain business stages or sectors so may only be able to be used for specific purposes. Contact the Economic Development or Business Services department of your Local Council to see if they have any schemes that might be applicable to you.
Crowdfunding has become more widespread and popular and is a way of financing that enables others to invest a small amount of money in a business. If a business is looking for investment it is usually matched with potential investors online via crowdfunding platforms.
Business angels are private investors who want to look at ways of investing their money into new start-up businesses usually in return for shares or a stake in your business. They typically invest between £10,000 and £100,000.
Asset Finance & Leasing
Being able to finance a piece of equipment or a vehicle for your business through regular monthly payments may be an alternative to funding the initial costs outright. This can help you with cash flow at the start and also comes with tax benefits.
Responsible Finance Providers
These types of organisations specialise in lending affordable finance to those who are unable to be supported through mainstream lenders such as banks.
Enterprise agencies are independent business support organisations which as well as providing business advisory services can often have access to or be able to direct you to local sources of funding. The National Enterprise Network is a network of independent local enterprise agencies in England.