So you’ve developed your product and done your market research. Business is good, but you’ve got big plans and need to secure investment to ensure your company’s growth. It can be difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to finding willing investors, which is why we’ve come up with this guide to help you get started.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common sources of investment for product-based businesses.
Angel investors are private individuals who invest into businesses. Angel investing is a type of equity finance, and it’s potentially one of the biggest sources of investment in start-up and early stage businesses of all kinds.
Because of the private nature of the investments, it’s difficult to pinpoint exact numbers, but it’s estimated that around £1.5 billion is invested annually by angel investors. There are pitch days and events, usually held by syndicate groups and aimed at specific industries or locations.
Angel investors want to see evidence that they can recoup their investment in a reasonable amount of time. While the product you’re marketing is important, what they really want to see is a clear plan for growth, good market research and evidence that your business is scalable.
For more information on angel investment, go to the UK Business Angels Association.
Venture capital funds invest in start-ups and companies who are in the early stages of development. It is best for those businesses who can clearly demonstrate very strong potential for growth. It works by the venture capital fund purchasing minority equity stakes in the business. Companies that receive venture capital investment usually also receive business expertise from their investors to support their growth.
The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) is the industry body for the UK private equity and venture capital industry. Take a look at their manufacturing case studies to see some examples of product-based businesses that have received venture capital funding.
Crowdfunding is a way to connect small businesses with a large number of minority investors, to raise the funding they need quickly. Instead of seeking large amounts of money from one individual or company, or a small syndicate of people, you seek small amounts of money from a larger number of people.
There are three different types of crowdfunding, but equity crowdfunding is one good way for product-based businesses to raise funds for growth. One of the largest UK equity crowdfunding platforms is Crowdcube.
To learn more about crowdfunding, visit UKCFA.
Depending on your location, industry and business model, you may be eligible for one of these small business grants and finance schemes.
There are hundreds of potential grants and schemes available, and each of them will have their own eligibility requirements and criteria. They can be very competitive, so make sure you’re fully aware of what you need to apply.
Make sure you read the requirements fully and speak to the awarding body to understand how to maximise your chances of receiving funding. In some cases, the grants will only match your own investment amount.
For a comprehensive guide on grants for UK small businesses, visit Startups.
Know your numbers
Whichever option you choose to raise funding for your product-based business, make sure you know your numbers. From current turnover to projected revenue, you’ll need to be able to explain why your business is a safe bet for investors.