When you make a decision to start working for yourself, it can often be difficult to find the finances to get you off the ground and this can sometimes even prevent you from following your dream. No matter what kind of business you are in, you will need some finances to get you started. If you are an artist, you’ll need materials, if you decide to write a novel, you’ll need the cash to cover the cost of living. With any business, you’ll need a website, business cards and other materials to help with marketing.
Funding and Grants
There are a lot of different types of grants and funding available for start-up businesses, including those specific for websites and other materials. An organisation like Business Gateway will be able to advise you on what is available for starting your business. Many grants are only available to businesses which have just started up, so get in quickly if you want to get some cash!
If you have an idea and need the funding to get it from paper to product, you may want to speak to investors. You will need to have a good business plan in place before they will even look at your proposal, so be prepared to conduct thorough research into your competitors and where you see your business in the future.
It can be risky to take out a loan when you first start your business, but if you are certain there is a demand for your product or service, it may be worthwhile. As long as you can afford to make the payments and won’t put yourself into a difficult situation, you may want to try this type of finance. You will need to work out your income though, as the bank or lending agent will want to be sure that you can afford to pay it back.
If you are offering a service, you should ask for a deposit upfront. This is good practice even if you don’t need the finances, as you can never be sure that clients will pay. In my experience, I’ve known many freelancers who haven’t taken a deposit, have completed the work, only to receive no payment. Without a deposit you have nothing to fall back on and there is nothing more soul destroying than chasing payments. A good idea is to ask for half upfront and the rest when you complete the job. If you need materials to do the job, make sure you take this into account when pricing it up.
Friends and Family
It may be a more viable option to ask friends and family to support you with a loan to help get your business off the ground. You should choose wisely though, don’t ask someone who doesn’t have the cash, otherwise you are putting them in an awkward position. Only do this if you can eventually pay it back as you don’t want to wreck your personal relationships.