Funding Ready or Not…
You have a passion. Your family loves your idea. You are ready to sign on the dotted line and sing on Idols!!!! But do you really have a good product or is your family being nice and supportive rather than truthful.
Now you have heard there is money or funding. Off you go to seek this money. Like Idols, you get disappointed and disheartened. Nobody shares your passion.
Before seeking funding, from government grants or banks or other institutions, you have to be ready.
Here is a checklist to get you started:
1 Complete a Business Plan
Please complete your own Business Plan, get advise from professionals, get a checklist of information that needs to be included. If you Business Plan is not authentic, then your business will never be authentic.. YOU need to understand what your business does, what heights you want to get your business. Get information from accountants, marketers, your staff, your clients – but build your own plan
2 Market Research
In order for you to gain credibility, you need to understand who your client is, what market are you entering or growing in. Often this research costs money – but you will gain huge respect and authenticity if you understand your market. Every business has their unique clientele – a demographic area you want to gain. Understand your client – live the life of your client – that is the true way of identifying what your clients needs are
3 Financial Models
The more detail you have the better. Past, present and future. Include every aspects of finance. Projected costs, acquisitions, sales and revenues, profit margins, growth rate and when will your business be profitable. Profitability is so important for investors, they need to know when they will start making money or when you will employ more staff.
4 One, Two and Five year Plans
This area is usually the area that is ignored. It is usually the area that is in the mind of the Business Owner – they know where they want to be – but how does anyone else know, unless you tell them. This is your STAYING POWER. Will you be here in 5 years, 10 years time? How many staff will you grow by? Have you become the expertise in your field?
5 Potential Customers
Who is your ideal client? Who are you currently selling too? When you close your eyes at night – can you live the life of your client, Do you really understand who they are? In every business there are clients that make you targets every month, repeat business, making lower profit. Then in a tiered format, you have the next level of client. They pay more money, but need your products and service less often. The profit margin is slightly higher. Finally at the top of the tier is the ultimate client – the person who comes once in a lifetime. They spend a fortune, huge profit margins.. and will spread the word about your business to everyone.
6 Skills and experience
This is often the area where the owner points at the staff, but this is actually the area of for the owner. What skills and experience do you as owner hold? How will you make YOUR business a success? Why YOU?? So part of the answer to this question is, what skills do you have and what experience do you accredit yourself. Dont be too critical – but be realistic
7 Existing Investment
Your funders will want to know how much have you invested in your business. If you have not invested financially in your business, why would anyone else. This is your “skin in the game”. You have to remain authentic, and you have to believe in what you do. This could also include financial assistance from your friends and family
8 A Brand
If you have a logo, business name, identity, visuals – signage, stationery, marketing – this is your first step to owning a brand. What does your brand stand for? Does it have a brand story? What differentiates your brand from a competitor? Your brand forms part of a marketing strategy to gain clients – the colour, style, etc is important as there is a psychology working in the background. All these elements will determine your marketing strategy
9 A Goal
If you gained finance/ funding/ grant – what would your plan be. Even before the funding, how can you grow with additional funding. Would you want to grow? Is this a pie in the sky dream or is it a reality to succeed. You need a PLAN. You need to work out where you want your business to grow too and how.
10 A payoff
Now if you got this amazing growth spurt, when could you be profitable? Can you pay it back? This is the reality – the pay back time – when, how much for how long.
Hope this helps everyone stepping up to apply for finance and funding
Shout if you need help – firstname.lastname@example.org