When you start a business, there’ll usually be period when you’re investing lots of time, effort and money before you start making a profit. It’s important to research your market to make sure your customers will really pay for your product or service before you do this.
Once you’re confident that they will, you should explore different sources of funding to help with the costs of starting up your business.
If you need some initial funding to test and develop your business idea, you might be able to get help from a government-backed support scheme.
Search for business finance using the finance finder tool to see which schemes you may be eligible for.
Get a bank loan
Once you can show that there’s a market for your idea, one option for funding your start-up costs is getting a bank loan. You’ll need to be able to:
- give the bank realistic cash flow forecasts
- prove that you’ll be able to pay back the loan with interest
Watch a video on forecasting business finances, including sales, profit and loss, and cash flow.
The bank might require you to provide security against your loan, like your house or car, in case you don’t repay. You should think carefully about how much risk you’re willing to take on before you get a loan or give any personal guarantees.
Find business finance in your area using the British Bankers’ Association’s finance finder tool, including business angels, regional funds, government schemes and banks.
If you need more investment, you might be able to raise money to fund your growth plan by selling shares in your business. You can do this by getting friends and family to invest. However, if this isn’t enough you can look for sources of ‘equity funding’, including:
- ‘business angels’ (wealthy individuals who invest in start-up businesses)
- ‘venture capital’ from companies who invest large sums of money in businesses that they think will grow quickly (known as ‘private equity’ companies)
- ‘crowdfunding’ (where a large group of people invest money in a business idea, usually via the internet)
- alternative sources of funding like ‘peer-to-peer lending’
Any outside investors will own the company jointly with you and the other founders. They have a say in the running of the company, and are entitled to get a share of the profits, known as ‘dividends’.
You should get legal advice before selling shares in your business.
Find a solicitor on the Law Society website.
Search for equity funding
Find out about equity funding and venture capital, and search for sources of funding from the:
- British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA)
- UK Business Angels Association
- Next Generation Finance Consortium (NGFC)
You can also sign up for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme - your investors will get certain tax reliefs, making your company more attractive to investment.
Get help and support with business finance on the Better Business Finance website.