Startup Funding: A Primer for Potential Investors & Entrepreneurs
The internet is changing the way businesses seek for funding, with specialized websites replacing traditional banks as the go-to addresses for ambitious entrepreneurs in search of financial support.
Good business ideas attract the attention of investors, and that doesn’t mean you should get your best suit and an assortment of neckties into the briefcase and start touring the country – these days you can hunt for financing without ever leaving your office, if you know how to find your way around the world.
Everything you need is readily available online, it’s just a matter of filtering out the noise and dialing up the right combination of initiative and preparedness. There are a lot of conflicting claims out there and sorting through them all demands a lot of attention and some education. Knowing what to look for is a good start, and we hope this short overview of online funding opportunities will get you up to speed and help you recognize the most desirable options:
Contacts are worth more than gold in the digital economy, and getting in touch with venture capitalists, angel investors and other potentially valuable acquaintances is a very good idea. Those people are professionally interested in discovering future stars and might be willing to listen to your pitch if you can manage to reach them and present your business plan. It might take some time to get familiar with this territory and learn how to recognize legitimate businessmen, but this effort will be well justified in the end if you are able to secure a financing round.
Instead of looking for a deep-pocketed investor capable of covering the entire project, many businesses are opting to decentralize the process and collaborate with a large group of small-time contributors. While it would be extremely laborious to communicate with thousands of potential investors individually, this can be done much faster through one of specialized websites like CrowdFundMe or IndieGoGo that exist for this very purpose and already have a sizable following. If your idea looks promising and doesn’t require a huge budget, you could quickly gather enough supporters to start working on the realization of the project. Once the idea pays off, early supporters get back some kind of compensation, either equity or the finished product in most cases.
In most countries, governments try to stimulate small and medium businesses through a variety of programs designed to help them survive during the most sensitive period of growth. This often includes benefits like tax exemptions, free use of facilities and other forms of non-monetary support, but in some cases direct funding could be available as well. Local and regional governments could also be worth checking out, since it’s common for such organizations to support grassroots business initiatives – and the level of competition could be more forgiving than on the national level. All similar programs are announced on the official websites of the institutions involved and savvy business owners should make it a habit to periodically visit those portals and scouts any info about new calls for applications.
Depending on the kind of work you are doing, you might be eligible for a grant from one of numerous international organizations that have almost unlimited access to funding sources. If you can become a part of an international network and receive guidance and financing from an umbrella donor, you could raise the quality of your products to an advanced level much faster, although potentially with some limitations. It is prudent to analyze the requirements to qualify for funding, so that you know in advance whether a certain type of collaboration is compatible with your business objectives. All relevant documents are easily available on the net, allowing interested companies to study the conditions and decide which foundation to approach with the project proposal.
Side business opportunities
If nobody is willing to give you any money, you may turn around and earn it on your own. There are a lot of opportunities to make money online without dedicating too many hours to this task, which opens possibilities for funding one business through another. According to trusted investors, you can start trading currencies even with a minimal starting capital at hand, and if you play your cards right you could stand to collect a lot of profit before long. Redirecting this cash into your primary business will enable you to execute your annual business plan without borrowing or giving up shares of your company, which might make a huge difference if your idea turns out to be a smashing success and begins bringing back significant revenues few years down the line.