You may have seen it play out on the popular television show Shark Tank – an eager entrepreneur with a novel idea secures funding to bring their dream and business to reality.
While it makes for great television, it usually doesn’t play out that way for most aspiring entrepreneurs, most of whom may have a better chance of encountering a real shark in New England than pitching before one.
So if you’re a budding entrepreneur with a great idea, how can get the funding you need to reach your dream?
To answer that question, we spoke with Avidia’s Vice President and cash flow expert, Ron Fraser. In addition to helping entrepreneurs and business owners get the funding they need to grow, Ron is the Chair of The Venture Forum, a non-profit organization that provides resources and education to help entrepreneurs – at every stage – succeed.
Start building a team of advisors early
When speaking with entrepreneurs, Ron recommends that they try to start early in the process and assemble a team of experts. “Whether you are new at running a business or have one that needs a re-start, it’s important that you have a banker, insurance agent, lawyer, and accountant working with you early on,” said Fraser. For example, a CPA can help you prepare financial projections and an attorney can help you establish a structure for your business.
As part of the funding process, lenders and investors will look at your collateral, your character, and your credit. “Your bank or any investors will want to see what you have for collateral, such as real estate, receivables, or other business assets.”
Also important as part of the funding process is your character. Are you a seasoned business owner? “When working with my clients, I always ask some key questions, including:
Where have you been? What is your work experience and resume like?
Where are you now?
What are your dreams?
If I know these things, I will know what they’re about and will work with them to plan where they can go.”
In addition to being able to answer these questions, entrepreneurs also need to create a business plan as well as financial projections.
Understanding funding options
The importance of having a sound business plan and accurate projections cannot be underestimated especially since it can help with one of the biggest contributors of failure among business owners – running out of money. “When they need money, many business owners will turn to more expensive loans and lenders to keep their dream alive.”
There are, however, a range of other funding options, including money raised from family and friends, as well as angel investors and venture capital firms that may be willing to invest. Bank loans may be available, too. Avidia, for example, offers Small Business Administration (SBA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans to help fund the right venture.
“As a community bank, Avidia wants entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed, so I will often consult with business owners to help understand their needs and advise them about their options.”
The Venture Forum
Fraser’s passion for helping local businesses is why he became involved with The Venture Form. “The Venture Forum is run by volunteers, who like me, are passionate about helping others achieve their dreams.” Entrepreneurs, at every stage, can come to meetings to get valuable insights and to network with professionals who can help them with a wide range of needs. There’s even a Venture Forum, which is a pitch contest similar to Shark Tank that allows entrepreneurs to make pitches. For more information on The Venture Forum, including upcoming events, visit theventureform.org.
To learn more about Avidia’s commitment to small business lending, contact Ron at (774) 760-1212 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.