– Richard Voisey, Nwes Business Consultant
Norwich City F.C recently announced grand plans to enforce their desire to self-finance operations now and in the future.
Rather than purely buying success in the transfer market, they have decided to invest in improving the conveyor belt of home grown talent through an unsecured bond scheme targeted at the fanbase in the hope of providing between 3.5m and 5m to develop the Academy facilities. A minimum investment of £500 will offer interest payments and the potential carrot of a bonus if promotion is gained.
That got me thinking about other finance options for small start-up businesses or maybe those in the early days of trading who are looking to expand or further developing their offer. I have listed potential routes that could be worth exploring:
The obvious one is personal savings. The first thing to do is produce a personal survival budget which will annualise the income and expenditure for the household which will then help you to identify how much disposable income is available. Thorough researching and the production of a detailed list of start-up costs or development costs and allowing for contingency of unforeseen or escalating costs will be vital.
Friends or Relatives
Friends or relatives could provide the investment, the key is to ensure that a formal loan agreement is produced and signed. The conditions might include simple repayments, interest and/or a percentage of profits. Funders should only invest if they are able to survive should the business fail to repay the loan.
Banks offer a variety of business financial solutions. There are websites that compare providers such as Know Your Money. Be aware that the sites will not feature all the institutions and are paid on referrals. Overdrafts can be provided although these should only be used for short term working capital requirements.
Start Up Loans
Government-backed Start Up Loans offers finance and free business support including access to a mentor. It provides a great alternative for individuals looking for business loans to fund their start-up. The scheme helps to start or develop a business that has been trading for less than 24 months. Loans are repayable over one to five years, and the interest rate is currently fixed at 6%. Loans of up to £25,000 are available, and the average loan amount is £6,000. Applicants for a Start Up Loan must be at least 18 years old and resident in the UK, with the legal right to remain in the UK for the term of the loan. Applicants must not have been, or currently be, declared bankrupt and/or have any outstanding Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs). Mentoring and support are provided to successful applicants. Nwes will assist through free courses and 1-2-1 advisor support to develop a vital professional business plan which accompanies the loan application.
There are several credit cards focused on business owners which include incentives to join or switch. Like overdrafts, these should only be used for short term borrowings.
Private equity maybe an option where private investors invest in return for a share of ownership. TV’s Dragon’s den is a well-known example. The cash could be provided by a Capital Ventures firm or through private investors who are known as Business angels. The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association publishes a list of member firms. The UK Business Angels Association matches business angels with small firms requiring equity finance.
Crowdfunding is a popular method of financing that enables many people to invest a very small amount of money in a business. A business seeking investment is usually matched with potential investors online via specialist crowdfunding platforms such as Crowdcube and Kickstarter. To view more information about crowdfunding, take a look at The UK Crowdfunding Association.
The Government provides a database to help search funding opportunities. It is also worth searching your County Council and Local Authority website for business support opportunities. Some economic development departments (or equivalent) in local authorities may offer financial support to new and existing firms, including grants and loans.
Credit unions are co-operatives that are owned and controlled by their members. Members must share a common aim, such as wanting to benefit their local community, working in the same industry or attending the same church. The members of a credit union pool their savings to provide each other with credit that is charged at a low interest rate. There are more than 500 credit unions in the UK, with an annual turnover of over £182 million. They distribute their profits to members in the form of dividends.