Raising capital for a startup is an important step but a difficult one too. You have an excellent business idea, you see it taking shape, but you lack sufficient funding – this is the stage where most entrepreneurs struggle for ideas.
As any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, raising funds, and raising funds from the right source, are two different things. Your source of funding could have a huge impact on your business profitability, with far reaching consequences.
Of course, the right source of investment for Entrepreneur A may not be the right source for Entrepreneur B – you’ve got to cycle through ideas and analyse based on your requirement before making a decision. Here are 7 quick ideas to help you get started:
Look In Your Own Pockets First
You can’t expect other investors to fund your startup if you haven’t invested in the idea yourself. Initial self-funding shows the founder’s confidence in his/her business idea and makes it easy to secure additional funding from other investors.
Choose Co-Founders Wisely
Choosing a co-founder is an extremely important step in your entrepreneurial journey. Whether you choose someone with similar skills and expertise as you or look to diversify your board by adding individuals with complementary capabilities, it is important that your founding team is experienced in the core business functions and can bring in funds. Your co-founders’ vision should also align with yours and their contribution should extend to much more than just capital.
Say ‘Yes’ To Bootstrapping
Bootstrapping, pay as you go, and lean management are important terms that startups must look to implement early on. Often, bootstrapping is the key to startup firms receiving good market validation, which helps them secure better funding. Here are some essential bootstrapping tips:
- Delay capital purchases
- Share offices and services
- Don’t hire (Use interns and freelancers if required)
- Smart scheduling and teleconferencing to reduce travel costs
- Look for cost-effective suppliers and negotiate
Look For Strategic Investors Initially
Strategic investors are those who expect to gain more from your business success than just financial returns. These could be suppliers, distributors and even clients who benefit from your solutions and are willing to foot your bill in improving your proposition to them. Example: a technology firm’s client will fund their R&D in order to benefit from a refined product at low costs. Here the technology firm receives funding for research and development while the client receives an improved product.
Business Plan Competitions and Federal Grants
A number of financial institutions and business schools now offer business plan competitions where a founder brings in the idea, collaborates, competes and pitches for funding. A number of entrepreneurs have managed to secure funding by winning such competitions, or at the very minimum improved their business idea and pitch working with institutions, professionals and students at these events. A number of federal grants and small-business funding schemes are also available nowadays, which could provide easy loans with low interest rates.
Crowdfunding has helped a number of cash-strapped businesses take off. Usually more suited to businesses in consumer space, crowdfunding is a great validation of your business idea and your marketing skills. If consumers are willing to fund your idea, your chances of securing a funding from venture capitalists will increase considerably.
Contact Venture Capitalists
Venture Capitalists offer more than just funding. They can bring in valuable experience and oversight along with management, operations and marketing expertise to help your startup take off. Some VCs also help with office space and other basic requirements a business may have. The only downside could be that these services come at a cost and there’s a possibility that your venture capitalist’s long-term strategic vision may not align with yours.
If you’d like to know more about starting a new business and securing funding for your startup in the UAE, get in touch with us at email@example.com