Here she shares her top tips for getting investors on board.
Get a business plan together
A good business plan is essential. Without one people aren’t even going to look at you. You need to make sure you have done your research properly so when you get grilled you aren’t going to lose people’s confidence. It doesn’t have to be long, it just has to contain the key factors.
Use business angels
Business angels invest capital in new businesses and can also give a huge amount of advice. We were introduced to ours through an angel network called Beer and Partners and secured £200,000. At the beginning we didn’t feel worthy of their help, but it’s amazing how many people are prepared to give advice and invest their money in your business.
Be realistic about how much of a stake you want to give away
If it’s too low you’re not going to win confidence in your investors. Obviously you want to give away as little of your business as possible so decide the maximum and the minimum first and stay within that.
Get a good business manager
It’s important to have a good business manager at your bank to get advice from. After building up a relationship with ours we managed to secure £250,000 under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme. The very fact the bank was prepared to give us this amount of money meant other investors had more confidence in us.
You are going to get knocked back lots of times. It’s not a quick process. We emailed a lot of people, and I think it paid off to keep revising the proposal to make it look more professional until it got somewhere.
Get an accountant on board
Be sure to get professional advice, even if this means spending money. No matter how excited you are about your business, the investors are going to be even more concerned because it’s their money at stake.