Aside from a great idea or a fantastic product, all start-ups need thing something that can be very tricky to come by: money. You're going to need capital to support yourself while you put in the hours, as well as money to buy equipment, software and materials... or, if you're doing really well, you might even need cash to pay your first employee! But, banks are notoriously hard to borrow from unless you have an excellent credit score and a stellar business plan. So, where are you going to get the funds you need? Here are some of your options:
One option (and one that most people don't even consider when they're launching a business) is to fund your start-up yourself. If you have an idea in your head, take the time to gather some savings, or see if you have enough in various accounts to scrape together what you need right now. After all, why would an investor support your business if you haven't risked your own money first? That said, don't feel bad if self-funding isn't an option for you, and certainly don't be deterred from persevering with your plans.
If you need funds to test your initial idea or develop it further, it's possible you might qualify for a government-backed support scheme. Start Up Loans is an organisation funded by the government and provides loans, business support and mentoring. It's also worth checking out this list compiled by the UK government as it details lots of different types of assistance that you might be eligible for.
The internet isn't just a place for memes and online shopping. Use it to your advantage by seeing if you can crowd fund your business idea, asking like-minded people who believe in your start-up to donate a small amount of money. Some people have managed to raise literally millions of pounds in this way, and as a bonus, you'll get a sense for whether there's actually demand for your product or not.
It can be really hard to persuade outside investors to support your start-up, but it's worth trying. You'll have to be prepared to give up a share in your business (though their experience and know-how might be a good trade off) and they'll expect you to present a very strong business plan. But, if you think you have what it takes to recreate an episode of Dragon's Den, consider this option!
Cheap logbook loans
If the idea of asking for investment or crowdfunding feels too uncomfortable, why not take out a loan? Skip the bank application and consider cheap logbook loans instead. All you need to do is apply online, borrow an amount of money (your loan plus interest) and use your car as security against the loan. Best of all, you can keep the car for the duration of the loan (essential for those meetings you'll be buzzing off to!) and repay it back early without any penalty fees or catches.