Applying for funding can be a stressful process. The ability to understand the wonderful world of funders is a huge part of business acumen. It is also a highly competitive process which can cause a high level of stress. However, Maureen Bailey believes that getting the basics right will allow funds to flow into your business, without taking out a large loan.
Maureen Bailey is the founder and CEO of Inner Strength Network and with 25 years’ experience under her belt. She continues to enjoy supporting women in business through her training and advice service askmaureen.com.
She shares the importance of getting the basics right to enable funding to flow into your business, especially for those businesses who want to develop a charity arm to support their community. She believes funding will come to you if you make smart choices.
Here are her 5 top tips relating to obtaining funding from a not-for-profit perspective. For example, you may run a fashion show but want to develop a charity arm to help deprived children to learn about fashion; or you may be a trainer but have the vision to train women in third world countries. Whatever the vision here is some top tips to get started.
Get the right people on your Board
Funders like to see you have a good board which should consist of good expertise in your area of finance and business. It is important that they understand your vision and are willing to support it as a critical friend during the process. Funders need to see how often you meet and how much thought has gone into various development streams of your business. Funders often want to know about individuals on the board such as what they do for a living and how they can move the business forward. Funders like to see competence and character on your board
Pick the right funder for your vision
Over 60% of funding applications fail because of you applied to the wrong funder in the first place. There is no point in choosing a funder who only deals with charities if you are a Community Interest Company or sole trader. Only seek funders relevant for your industry, then you will be more likely to obtain successful funds.
How well are you networking to fund your business?
Funders speak to other funders and more importantly, they want to know who they will be funding. They want to know they can trust you and that you will deliver what you said you would. Networking is vital and going to events will be beneficial to you and your funders; Go to events where funders are to understand their needs as well as yours. Be prepared to do an elevator pitch at any time to show how much you need to be funded. Your pitch can get you through the door and your character will keep your business going.
Build on your small business successes to bring in more funds
Do a small project like a pilot which shows funders how profitable your idea is. Funders will invest in good projects but it’s your job to convince them. Short term wins will give you long term investments.
Fill out the funding application correctly
It’s a known fact that 64% of funding bids are unsuccessful because the proposal was not financially viable. State clearly what you need and avoid being greedy. Funders know when you are trying to pull the wool over their eyes.