ENTREPRENEURSHIP / FEB. 15, 2014
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Funding Your Start-up: It's Easier Than You Think!

Starting a business is often a good solution to get out of poverty. Of course, before investing your time and energy, and last money you have into an own business, it's necessary to research the market you are about to enter and to answer the question of whether your product or service is likely to sell. This is a long process and rushing through the initial stages of forming a business can have long-term consequences.

Financing a start-up often is one of the hardest challenges faced by entrepreneurs. Because only a few people trust new business ideas, the number of investors you can attract to starting a business is always limited.

On the bright side, there are a number of institutionalised opportunities to get free money for funding a start-up. Both the UK government and a number of private organisations, including financial institutions, have schemes designed to support entrepreneurship in the country - a recognition of the importance of having new companies starting here and there for the economy to blossom.

It's even more encouraging for those who are on their way to start a business that there are organisations which help by word rather than money in that they give expert advice on a number of issues such as employee training, getting investments, expanding overseas, bringing new technologies into a traditional workplace, or complying with various general or industry regulations.

Government schemes

The finance finder tool of the Gov.uk website currently lists more than 700 schemes that provide some kind of support to those who are about to start out or expand their business operations. The schemes can be either national or regional. Acorn Business Centre, for example, gives advice on any aspects of business start-up and expansion such as support, assistance, training, premises, and consultancy. Barking Enterprise Centre (https://www.gov.uk/barking-enterprise-centre) is a region-focused organisation as it provides free support and help in accessing finance and low-cost flexible workspace for new businesses in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Building Improvement Grant is an example of an organisation that gives out free money in form of grants to new or existing companies in Knowsley given they work with building , construction, or security-related improvement schemes.

Private financing

Start-ups can also benefit from regular or soft loans. Soft loans are a type of financial assistance that have a lot softer terms and conditions for the borrower. These can include a very low to no interest at all, or zero banking costs for a certain period of time. There would be some conditions to meet, however, in order to qualify for a soft loan. HSBC UK offers a 18 months free banking to everyone who starts a business with it and a 6 months-long one for those who are switching banks. HSBC can also give qualified advice to UK businesses who decide to go overseas thanks to their extensive business and finance expertise accumulated through years of work in many countries across the world.

It is recommended that entrepreneurs explore all available options with private loan providers before opting for any of them because of how troublesome and time-consuming bank switching can be. A good place to look for all available options based on your business's location, life stage (start up, growing, established, or succession planning), the amount and type of finance is BetterBusinessFinance.co.uk. The company was founded in 2011 by Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander to provide impartial information and advice for entrepreneurs to develop or grow. In addition to offering companies customised financing solutions, the company has lots of articles on their website that help entrepreneurs make better and more informed decisions.

Selling shares

If for whatever reason you did not succeed in attracting money from public and private sources of funding, you can consider selling shares. Here again are a few options to choose from. The first thing to look at in our age of rapidly advancing technology is crowd-funding - taking small amounts of money from a large group of people in exchange for a proportionate share in business usually through the means of the Internet.

If this is not enough or unacceptable for some reasons, start-ups can try to work with business angels - wealthy individuals who are seeking to diversify their investment portfolio and give out money to support what to them is an interesting and fresh business idea.

Finally, if your business has a real potential to grow quickly and turn into a profitable enterprise in a short period of time, there is a chance you will get support from venture capitalists.

Usually, the better your business idea, the higher chances you will manage to get all sort of support for it. So, before starting out and looking for money, it's necessary that you test your idea. Research and interviewing people already in business will answer most of your questions and help you prepare for a real world business. Once you are ready, take your chance and go for either or all types of support available.

 

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