After ideation comes the hard work – getting capital to launch that business idea.
You must have heard motivational speakers repeatedly saying, “all you need is an idea”. Ermm, it doesn’t always work like that in real life – you are going to need a lot more than an idea. Of course, it’s the best place to start. However, there are a couple of other things you’d need, and you can check them out here. But one of the critical things you need is capital.
So, how do you get that capital that will take your business from an idea in your head to reality – a successful business?
Raising Capital for Your Business: A Case Study
There are a couple of ways you can raise capital for your business. For Bimbo, CEO of Criz Interiors, she started her business with funds from NYSC.
“After NYSC, I used my savings to buy some bedspreads in different sizes and took to Lagos to sell”, Bimbo revealed.
As the business continued to grow came the need to expand. “There was a point I was thinking of buying in bulk and doing photoshoot for my beddings, so I needed more capital”, she continued. Family members came through for her. Though it was not enough, it helped her business grow to an extent.
Today, Criz Beddings has metamorphosed into Criz Interiors, and the business is doing really well. It’s one of the most preferred brands for everything beddings and interior designs on Instagram.
Major Take away from the Case Study
A lot of people wait for that big stark of money before they start a business. But as you must have seen from the story above, sometimes that small money you have saved is enough to start your business. That is if you save, though.
Similarly, it’s a good thing that we humans don’t just fall from heaven. We all come from a family. And because of the bond we share with the people we call family, they can’t look the other way when we are in need, especially when it has to do with doing something that will bring returns in the long run.
Just so we are clear though, your family members don’t owe you anything. Don’t go about saying you read somewhere that “family members must give you capital for your business”. Absolutely no one said that. The point, however, is that you can reach out to family members for assistance, albeit with low expectations. Because at the end of the day, everyone has a “cross” they are bearing.
So, that gives us two places you can get capital for your business – personal savings and family.
Are there other ways of raising capital for your business?
Other Ways to Raise Capital for a Business Idea
1. Business Grants
Do you know that the government give grants to support businesses? Especially small businesses.
Those who understand how economics works will attest that small and medium businesses (MSMEs) are the backbone of the economy. In its 2017 briefing note, Microsave said, “MSMEs are the backbone of the economy of a country in terms of sustainable growth, employment generation, increasing trade, development of entrepreneurial skills and contribution to export earnings.”
In July 2020, The Guardian reported that “MSMEs contribute well over 65 per cent of employment and roughly 48 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) in high-income countries, while in low-income countries; they contribute about 30 per cent of employment and up to 15 per cent of GDP.”
You see? Your small business is essential to the government, which explains why they would support you with grants.
The Nigerian government has different grant schemes for small businesses. Some of them include; YouWin Connect Nigeria, Africa’s Young Entrepreneur Empowerment Nigeria (AYEEN), Lagos State Entrepreneurs Trust Fund, and Bank of Industry (BOI).
Aside from the government, private individuals and organizations also give grants to support businesses as part of their corporate social responsibilities. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is probably the most popular here. Others include; USADF grant, Shell Livewire, GroFin and so on.
Be on the lookout for a comprehensive guide on the different grant schemes in Nigeria and how to apply. But in the meantime, see if you are eligible for MSME survival fund.
2. Bank Loans
It’s okay to take loans. In fact, some people have argued that taking loans is the best way to grow a business. This is probably because it makes you work hard, knowing you have some money to refund.
And guess what? Just like the government need your small business to succeed for the economy to grow, banks also need you to take those loans so their business can grow as well. So, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Nonetheless, no bank will give you money if you don’t have a good credit score. Therefore, put your account in order and clear all outstanding debts before applying for business loans from banks.
Other things to note to stand a chance of getting loans from banks include registering with the CAC, opening a corporate account and having a standard business plan.
Do you need a guide on applying for small business loans? Indicate in the comments.
Most Nigerians will frown at this; I know my people. “A whole me I will now be begging strangers to give money to start a business. God forbid!” Yes, that’s what a typical Nigerian would say to this, including you.
Have you heard of Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a company that is dedicated to helping people launch their business ideas through crowdfunding.
With a platform like this, “begging strangers for money” should not be “shameful”. Simply visit the Kickstarter website and provide all the required information about this business idea. Do that, and absolute strangers who connect with your idea will start sending in funds.
The downside of platforms like this is they may not be the best for those who are into service provision. Most of the businesses that have made a significant success from Kickstarter are those with web-based products.
Nevertheless, whatever your idea is, make sure you clearly explain it in your pitch, so anyone who sees it gets a clear picture of what you are trying to do. Focus enough attention on the benefits of your business to those who would fund it and then to the end-user.
4. Angel Investors
Angel Investors come in different forms and shapes. While some help startups with capital in exchange for owner equity, others invest through an investment pool. Making them another fantastic way to get capital for your business.
Usually, Angel Investors prefer working anonymously via the internet. Little wonder they invest heavily in tech-related businesses.
But how do you meet Angel Investors and get them to invest in your business?
You see, Angel Investors won’t walk into your room to set up a meeting with you? It’s not their kind of thing. If you are serious about meeting investors, you have to step out.
Attend conferences and seminars, especially the ones in your industry. Angel Investors usually make themselves accessible at events like this.
You can also look for them on the internet. Google is your friend. However, this may not be as effective as meeting them in person.
After meeting, you are going to need a highly impressive business pitch. These guys are approached every day for capital but trust me; they don’t just throw money at everyone that comes to them. Your business pitch has to be convincing.
But do you know what a business pitch is and how to write one? Do you need a guide on writing a business pitch? Leave a comment.
The last and actually the least, you can raise capital for your business through contests. This is the least of them all because you honestly can’t bank on this. You don’t want to have a business idea lying around just because you are hoping to win some contests. Not the brightest of ideas. Of course, you should enter such contests, but not as your only hope.
Each of the aforementioned options should be carefully considered. A plan that works for one budding tycoon may not work for another. For instance, if you have a great bank manager you implicitly trust, along with a robust line of credit, a bank loan makes sense for you.
On the other hand, if you have a supportive network of family and friends that are financially secure and willing to back your idea with funds, then by all means, go get that bag.
You may have to combine funding options to get the best rate, but only you will know for sure. The most important thing is to find a funding option that you feel comfortable with and confident about, so you can focus on turning your business idea into a successful reality.