If you’re taking the plunge and starting a new business this year, you’ve likely got a lot on your plate already. Making a new business work requires a lot of your time, even more of your patience and a little bit of luck along the way.
If, for whatever reason, you’re coming up short when it comes to the traditional methods of gaining access to capital funding, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many new businesses get turned down for bank loans if they aren’t able to prove their financial viability, for not being in business long enough or for not having a large enough annual turnover.
You could have a great credit score and an even better business idea but still hit a wall with the banks. Exploring alternative ways to access startup funds is another way to help you get the financial assistance you need to get started.
1. Peer to Peer Lending
P2P websites are online marketplaces that bring lenders and borrowers together in a neutral space, without either having to deal with a middle man. IF-ISAs, or innovative finance individual savings accounts, allow keen lenders to invest in specific products, like small businesses, without being taxed on the interest earned. This is primarily because of the personal savings allowance related to all ISAs, which allows basic rate taxpayers to earn up to £1,000 of tax-free interest each tax year.
If you’re looking to finance your small business, IF-ISAs are a great place to start.
Crowdfunding has been popular since the turn of the century, with many success stories coming from online. If you’re able to craft a decent pitch, a crowdfunding platform may provide quick funding from a host of donors from all over the world.
Better yet, successful crowdfunding campaigns often catch the attention of venture capitalists, which could open up even more doors for your business. Fundingcircle and Kickstarter are great choices to consider if you’re a first-time crowdfunder. As of the end of 2019, more than 4.6 billion U.S. dollars had been pledged towards the Kickstarter projects on the platform.
3. Angel investing
An angel investor is a wealthy individual who provides a capital loan for new businesses. Typically this is in exchange for some sort of convertible debt or ownership equity, depending on the deal’s terms. Angel investors usually swoop in when few others are willing to put money on the line for an idea, so historically these individuals are typically less risk-averse than other investors.
Before searching for a broader network of angel investors, ask family and friends if they know of anyone within your circle who might have the means and be willing to take a look at your proposal. You may end up with a better deal that way.
5. Small business grants
Some governments do occasionally offer grants for new businesses, especially if they meet certain criteria or they operate in line with initiatives that the council is actively promoting. It doesn’t hurt to do some research and see if there are any local grants you can apply for.
Most grants payout relatively small yearly amounts, often as a way to help small businesses maintain a cash flow, which can come in very handy during the quieter months. Keep in mind that this process may require crossing a fair amount of red tape. However, this will likely be worth it if you gain access to funds in the end.
5. Venture capital
Venture capital is a specific type of financing provided by firms who manage a collective investment pool from various sources. They tend to invest in new companies with high growth potential or those that indicate relatively good growth over a short timespan. A venture capitalist usually asks for an equity stake in return for the funding, and funds can be allocated at various stages during the course of a business cycle.
Subscribe for entrepreneurial & small business advice
Subscribe to our newsletter for advice and insights on starting, managing and growing a small business in the UK.
As you’ve now seen, gaining access to finances for your new business does not have to include the help of banks. P2P lending, crowdfunding, angel investing, venture capitalism and even government grants can get you what you need and help you turn your professional goals into a reality this year.