There’s really very little more demotivating than having a biblically-brilliant business idea, only to have your dreams crushed by a declined funding application. The trouble is, so many would-be start-ups interpret these kinds of initial set-backs as proof their whole concept is flawed. Which it might be, but at the same time it might simply be a case of having gone about the funding process entirely wrong.
Take it from the experts when it’s said that if you haven’t ticked each of the following boxes, what’s really standing in the way of your start-up’s success could in fact be you:
Every Funding Option Considered
Contrary to popular belief, it’s almost impossible to run out of potential avenues to explore when it comes to funding. Loan application turned down? Try somewhere else. Crowdfunding efforts failed? Refine your pitch and try again. And let’s not forget the spectacular array of sponsorship deals, grants, incubators and venture capital options available for exploration. If you haven’t literally tried them all...which of course you haven’t…you’re giving up too soon.
Knowing Exactly How Much You Need
Pulling a figure out of thin air really isn’t the way to go when it comes to deciding how much you need. Instead, you need to be comprehensively realistic and be ready to justify exactly why you need the sum you request. Ask for too much and it becomes tricky to secure the funding – ask for too little and you run the risk of running out at a critical stage.
Master Your Figures
Also of critical importance is being able to confidently and completely present potential investors with the kind of financial information that resonates with them. Having figures that are unrealistic or don’t make sense is bad enough – it’s even worse if it becomes apparent that you don’t know what you’re talking about and cannot answer their financial questions. This means doing a serious amount of research and ensuring your figures are all in order, not to mention learning each and every one of them by heart.
Produce an Irresistible Business Plan
Your business plan represents your pitch, your chance to explain your business in full and the document used to convince investors you’re the real deal. As such, the fact that you technically have as long as you like to work on it ahead of time is nothing but a blessing. There’s really no excuse at all for turning up with a business plan that’s either incomplete or unconvincing. And of course, you should know and understand every single word of it and be ready to answer questions on any and every aspect of your business idea.
Plan Ahead and Take Your Time
Last up, the one thing you can say for sure about business fundraising is that it is not a rapid or easy process. It’s going to take some time and there will be complications along the way, so the earlier you get started, the better. Working to secure funding can be a full-time job in its own right and most certainly cannot be rushed. Be realistic, ensure you have the necessary manpower, put the time to one side and be ready to exercise plenty of patience…you’ll need it!