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I have found a niche gap in an existing market, which is currently experiencing a decline world wide. The business idea is an international business opportunity and has never been done before. How do I get funding for this project?

Finding funding for a niche in the market place.

Entrepreneur

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The hardest thing to do is to make your concept attractive to funders. The business idea might be excellent but if it isn’t attractive enough, funders won’t want to invest. If you have to raise more money than you have, you need to write a detailed business plan, find potential investors and do a lot more work.

If you’re looking for professional investment, you almost certainly won’t get that in three weeks (although there are some rare exceptions). You can still get your business going with the money you can get quickly so that you look that much more attractive to investors.

Your options

Banks offer traditional forms of funding such as overdrafts and loans. Other options include angel investors and venture capitalists who fund business privately. You may also be able to benefit from government loans.

Putting aside the cost of borrowing money, the complexity of lending arrangements and the inflexibility of banks and major lenders, the fact is that it’s almost impossible to get a business loan.

The credit squeeze is not a problem unique to South Africa. Research shows that as few as 3% of applicants worldwide are successful at securing a business loan. Funding institutions are inundated with applications. What makes your business a better bet than thousands of others?

Do you have a good credit record? Is your business plan appealing to an investor? Banks are risk averse, so they are unlikely to finance a start-up without collateral. They are far more likely to provide expansion capital for a business that has a healthy track record.

Banks do however provide credit cards, overdrafts and home loan advances which can give you access to finance. If you’re considering private equity or venture capital, you must have a solid business case and a venture that is in line the organisation’s investment strategy.

You will be required to demonstrate an ability to service the loan and associated fees and interest without subjecting your cash flow to undue stress.

Government funding

Government funds are available through a variety of channels, all of which have to deliver on the mandate to advance black economic empowerment, women in business and job creation. How are you able to fulfil on these objectives?

Do not make the mistake of expecting to be given cash. You will need to have a comprehensive business plan that is in line with the institution’s criteria.

Do it yourself

If you are unable to secure finance, you’ll have bootstrap and use your own resources. You may also be able to borrow money from friends and family. Be warned though – this option is only suitable for non-capital intensive businesses.

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Funding

What do I need to do in order to get a successful crowd funding campaign?

Advice on getting the gold you need for your crowd funding campaign.

Ambassador Tal Edgars

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I recently read through crowd funding and though this might be of benefit to me. What do I need to do in order to get a successful crowd funding campaign?

70 percent of most crowd funding campaigns never reach their funding laid out plan. If you only reach a portion of your desired pledge amount all donated funds are then returned to investors once your campaign date is up. Do your homework and make your campaign count.

To get the best out of your campaign, I would strongly advise you do the following:

  1. Lay out your plan way in advance
  2. Keep a proper and well-articulated business plan
  3. Create a compelling story.
  4. Use the social media and start a social media campaign
  5. Frequently promote your fundraiser, connect and interact
  6. Dish out rewards and incentives
  7. To go viral, go for educative, informative and entertaining videos
  8. Be more than unique and creative as more exposure will translate to more potential pledges
  9. Choose the right crowd funding site for you.
  10. Know and understand your end target audience

 

 

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Funding

Where can I turn when banks are not helping?

Getting bank finance for my restaurant is almost impossible.

David Lewis

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Getting bank finance for my restaurant is almost impossible.  How else can I access the funding that I need?

Most small businesses will experience a cash flow challenge at some point during the next 12 months and raising capital from traditional banks is becoming a real challenge. Conservative lending policies and onerous application processes mean that finance applications can take up to twelve weeks or longer.

Banks require significant securities, which many business owners are unable to meet. In short, banks are making it very tough for small businesses.

The business cash advance

For businesses that accept credit or debit cards as a form of payment for their goods and services (termed merchants), the business cash advance is now available as alternative source of funding.

In simple terms, a business cash advance offers the merchant an upfront advance to buy a discounted amount of future business turnover.  For example, you may be advanced R80,000 for R100,000 of future turnover, so the fees can be easily calculated as R20,000.

The payback is an agreed percentage of your turnover, paid daily until the full amount is paid across.  Payback increases and drops with your business turnover and the smaller daily payments are often easier than monthly fixed instalments.

Quicker turn-around and more accessible

Comparing it to a bank loan, the business cash advance is more accessible, operates over a shorter term and requires no personal security.  It is also much faster, typically available within two weeks.

The advance amount is based on historical credit and debit card sales and pay overs are daily.   The costs are fully transparent and there are no penalties for late payments or extended payback.    However, accessibility, flexibility and convenience come at higher cost than traditional bank lending products.

As with any financial product, it is important that the benefits gained from using the money are more than the costs, so it is important to have a good purpose for the funding and carefully consider the available options.

Over the last three years, the business cash advance has becoming more main-stream and this funding is used by business with a relatively high card turnover, such as restaurants, retailers, beauty salons, supermarkets, convenience stores etc.

What to use the advance for

The advance is typically used for a business opportunity, such as expansion, new stock, new equipment, marketing etc.  Alternatively, it also offers through a difficult trading period or to cover an unexpected expense such as equipment failure when the money is needed quickly.

Small businesses are a vital part of the South African economy, contributing over 65% of South Africa’s employment and over 50% of GDP – accessing funding is imperative for these businesses to survive and grow.

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Funding

Am I stupid to turn down a VC investor?

Bootstrapping your business initially will pay dividends down the line.

Michelle Goodman

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I’ve started my own business two years ago and I’ve recently been approached by venture capitalist investors. While I could really use the funding, I’m reluctant to give away a large portion of my business at this early stage. What should I do? 

While it’s exciting to be approached by investors at any stage in your business, in the early years it might be better for the business to keep it small, keep your overheads low and bootstrap your venture as much as you can. This not only allows you to build a viable business and product offering at your own speed, it means you can to do without creating a huge amount of debt.

By building a sound and profitable business model from the outset, you will attract more attractive funding offers down the line.

Read the full article here.

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