I plan to start a business. What are the key financial considerations?
Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding financially, but it can also be fraught with danger. Many businesses do not create any income for several months after they start, and a large proportion also underestimate how long it will take them to turn a profit. Before you commit, you should research your market to ensure your customers will really be willing to pay a high enough price for your service or product. Make sure you think of all of the costs you’ll need to start the business, and be realistic about how much money you will need to live before and after you become profitable. Always err on the side of caution.
My business is up and running. What should I be thinking about?
Make sure you closely manage your cash, and your profit and loss. Cash flow is the net amount of money moving in and out of the business. Check that you are making enough money to reinvest in the business, and that you could withstand late paying customers.
My business needs an injection of cash. What are the options?
The most suitable finance option for your business depends on many things. These include how much funding you need, your current or potential revenue, whether you’re willing to offer personal or business assets as security, and whether or not you’re willing to sell shares in your business. The choice of finance options available to small companies is now a far greater one than just the principal clearing banks. For more information to help you find out how to access affordable and appropriate finance go to www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/finance/ or www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk
Options for raising finance include:
- Thames Valley Berkshire Funding Escalator - Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has committed £7.3 million of capital to create a funding escalator of loans and equity across four funding initiatives managed by The FSE Group. If you are an ambitious SME based in Berkshire with the potential to deliver high growth and employment opportunities, you may be eligible to apply.
- A loan or debt from your bank or peer-to-peer lending provider
- Equity (investment finance) from private investors, crowd funding providers, venture capital funds etc. Equity investment involves selling shares in your business. The investor will take a share of any profits or losses you make. Private investors may choose to invest in your company through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). Both encourage investment in high-risk companies by offering tax relief to investors. Latest Information (March17) can be found here.
- Government backed funding and grants including Start Up Loans and Innovate UK Funding Awards
- Government Support for R&D – this provides the latest intelligence on key R&D schemes in the UK, including patent box and tax credits.
In almost all cases where you seek outside funding you will need a written business plan. You can find advice on writing a business plan and a free template here. A good place to start when thinking about your plans for growth is to attend one of our open workshops, in particular the Business Model Canvas strategy workshop. We run these regularly and they are free to attend. Check the dates for the next workshop and other events here.
Can I get some extra funding advice?
If you meet the High Growth service criteria detailed here, the Growth Hub may be able to provide you with some advice about your options, put you in touch with funding partners, or help your business to become “investor ready".