Ever since I had my daughter, years ago, I’ve looked for ways to create a business that allows me to spend as much time with her as possible.
So, I started small – with a business that didn’t require too much in terms of startup funds. I considered bigger and better ideas as time went on – but my biggest issue was this: How would I find the funds to turn my ideas into realities?
As it turns out, it’s not necessarily as difficult as I initially thought. If you have good business sense, or an impressive idea, finding startup funds is not as difficult as many of us make it out to be.
So, I want to share 5 top ways to fund your business for growth. Whether you’ve got a mind to start a new business, or want to take your existing business to new heights, these tips are for you.
1. Angel investors
Angel investors are arguably one of the best ways to go if you need a big investment. The typical angel investment is $25,000 to $100,000 a company, but can go higher. Angel investors are usually entrepreneurs themselves, who look for opportunities to invest their money – and, of course, make some more.
Another upside of angel investors is they can also offer you invaluable advice and help grow your business. On the other hand, it also brings a big downside: namely, if you’re using angel investors to fund your business, then they will also require a stake in your business. This means you won’t be the sole decision maker.
2. Invest and make money
If you don’t need a big investment and you have some capital, you can raise the money yourself. This way, you retain complete ownership of your business and you won’t have to pay anyone back. The downside is, it might take a while to get you the money you need – and there’s also the possibility that you might lose some of it.
If you take this route, make sure you’ve got enough money put aside. Then, consider what you want to invest in and how (e.g., will you use someone to do if for you, or will you do it yourself? What should you invest in?). Most importantly, educate yourself – keep up with news, read materials that help you understand how to invest your money, and keep a very close eye on all your investments.
3. Get a business grant
The big benefit of grants is that you’ll retain ownership of your business. But, there are also downsides. For starters, not everyone can qualify to get a grant. Not to mention, they usually give away smaller sums. So, if you need a big investment, this isn’t the best route.
Another issue with grants is that it can be a very long, paperwork-heavy process. On the other hand, you do retain 100% ownership, the money doesn’t have to be repaid and in some cases you are assigned a coach to help you scale.
4. Get a business loan
A business loan, like with grants, allows you to retain complete ownership of your business. Plus, you might qualify for a bigger sum – particularly if you’ve already started the business and it’s gained traction.
Like with everything else, though, there are downsides. The biggest one is quite simple: you need to pay all that money back – and with an interest rate that is likely to keep you up at night. If you don’t pay back your instalments on time, you might lose important assets you own.
Crowdfunding has been a hot topic in recent years. There are two main types of crowdfunding: rewards-based and equity crowdfunding. Rewards-based crowdfunding is when you offer different investment options and for every payment from a backer, they get a reward of some kind.
Equity crowdfunding though, is pretty much a classic business investment. For every investment, you’ll need to give away equity. If you choose the go this route, you could potentially make the full amount you need, however much that may be. Plus, you don’t need to pay anyone back – just make sure that you give them what you promised.
How do you decide which funding option is best for you? Before you make a decision ask yourself: “Am I willing to give away equity in order to raise the funds I need? The answer to this question will guide your approach.
Also, how much money do you need? If you need a huge sum, there are only a few methods that will get you all that: angel investors, crowdfunding (and venture capital – which isn’t suitable for all businesses). It’s not an easy decision; but, answering these 2 questions will help you get much closer to the right answer and the cash you need.
This article has been edited.
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business. Connect with @lilachbullock on Twitter.