There are plenty of people out there who have the ambition, drive and idea to be a success in business, but it is surprising how many fall at the first hurdle because they don’t know how to present themselves.
Money is tighter than ever, which has seen many entrepreneurs applying for grants and funding competitions, in order to obtain the funds they need to make their business a reality. The Formations Company has just announced the winner of the 2017 Entrepreneur Awards so here is some top advice for those looking to appeal for business funding.
Love and Protect Your Idea
If you’re putting the time and effort into making your business happen, then it is likely you already have the passion it takes. But if not, it may be worth reassessing your situation. Your business idea should be central to your life, and you should love it dearly – if you don’t, you won’t have the drive to keep it going. Meanwhile, you should help your business by protecting it. It can be crushing to come across a competitor who has come up with a similar idea or name to you, so even if you’re not ready to officially go into business, you can establish a dormant company that will be there for you when you have everything you need to get started.
It can be difficult to come up with an entirely new and unique business idea, but there are many things you can do to make yourself individual. A recent winner of The Formations Company Entrepreneur Award, Terence Chung, distinguished himself this way with an innovative recycling company that turned expired produce like fruit and coffee into cosmetics and toiletries. He impressed the judges not only with his interesting and viable plan, but because of the obvious forethought and environmental consciousness that went into it.
Don’t Be Generic
Now you have a unique business idea, you need to make sure you present it in a similar fashion. An outstanding business can fly under the radar if it doesn’t come across well on paper, so make sure you follow every criteria and instruction you have been given, and refrain from copying and pasting from any previous applications. If the content didn’t work for you the first time around, it probably just wasn’t up to scratch.
Know Your Business, Market and Audience
Doing your homework before writing your application is absolutely essential – your entire plan depends on it. These details are what give your plan credibility, and investors the information they need to make an informed decision on whether or not your business is a viable investment, so don’t blow your chances by not having the basics covered.
Know Your Numbers
Viewers of The Apprentice or Dragon’s Den will know the chagrin investors express when applicants don’t know their figures. Start-up businesses are pricy to get off the ground, and if an investor is going to put money into your business, they need to know what they are set to get out of the deal – remember, it’s business, not charity. Your figures needn’t be dead on, but realistic projections are important, and if you need help going over your numbers before putting your application together then by all means seek out the many free resources available, as it could be the making or breaking of your enterprise.
A once-over is not enough. If your business plan is as important to you as it should be, you will not be satisfied with your application until it has been pored over. Draft it several times; leave it a day or two and come back to it with a fresh perspective; pass it round a few friends or colleagues for their opinions. Make sure no spelling or grammar mistakes slip through the net, that you have followed the instructions set by the investors or funding programme and that any supporting information required has been enclosed.
Good luck with your pitch!
About the Author:
Piers Chead is the founder and CEO of The Formations Company and has over 2 decades of experience in the emerging technology arena. In starting his own business, it was Piers’ vision to simplify the start up experience and he has put together a team of spirited individuals who share his passion for empowering entrepreneurs. Piers accompanied senior members of staff at Barclays Business in the judging of The Formations Company Entrepreneur Award, in which the winner scooped a £1000 business grant, free company formation from The Formations Company as well as an exclusive mentorship programme from Barclays.