Once you have decided to seek equity finance, you will need a comprehensive business plan incorporating a detailed marketing plan and realistic financial projections.
You may find it helpful initially to hold discussions with your business adviser and to research potential investors.
Consider the following issues:
- how much funding you need and what the funding is for
- how much control you're hoping to retain and the skills the business needs
- how long you need the funds for
Any potential investor will be looking for a number of core issues in your business plan:
- what your funding needs are
- whether your plans for the business are realistic
- whether your venture is appropriate for external investment
Your business plan should seek to address these issues and you should tailor the information you provide to each investor you're approaching.
The plan should include a series of detailed financial forecasts, what you intend to do with the funding, how you'll repay the investor, your management's level of expertise and what the investor can expect in return - see tailor your business plan to secure funding and write a business plan: step-by-step.
Approaching investors and networking
Approach shortlisted investors directly through an introduction or contact, or through their association or network. Remember that many private investors are interested in specific industry sectors or geographical regions, so ensure your shortlist only includes suitable candidates.
Networking is an important way of finding investors, so go to events organised by your chamber of commerce in order to introduce yourself to people and get your business known to potential investors - see Northern Ireland business networks.
It is also possible suitable candidates can be found through recommendations from the industry you operate in or its associated network.
For further information see secure equity investment: six top tips.