Many entrepreneurs are wary of selling equity to outside investors. Whether its at the early stage where the main source of funding is likely to be Angel investors or later when VCT and Private Equity investors may be the sources.
The concern is of course about control, and how it will change the business. Will the new investors meddle? Of course get the right investor and what to some feels like meddling will in fact be a truly positive value added contribution to the business. The right investor, or their appointed non-executive director, can bring additional experience, knowledge and contacts to the company.
But before you get to raising equity its worth challenging whether or not you really need it. And sometimes you just need some good housekeeping to reduce your cash needs. How about these simple thoughts:-
Your supplier base may be able to part fund your growth. Maybe not through direct investment, but they may be able to go for extended credit, or perhaps the will be prepared to support you through marketing costs.
Change your working capital profile
Could you do business in a different way? How about charging for some or all of your work up front? Could you introduce deposits or progress fees? Better still could you get your customers to pay up front and move to a subscription basis?
Narrow your aiming point
Sometimes the big cash requirement is because businesses aim to make a big step forward, or to tackle a lot of new things at once. Could you scale that down to the true priorities, grow the business and then if you need to raise equity later it will be at a time when you’re profitable and so you’ll be able to raise capital at a higher valuation?