A 2017 Barclays study revealed that startups applying for funding would receive £1m less if there was at least one female founder.
With this barrier in mind, it’s key that female entrepreneurs ensure they have the know-how to get the best start in their solo business career. Women looking to start a business should not have to face such obstacles, but the reality is you may have to. The following is some financial advice key to those looking to start their own business this year.
Making Tax Digital
In April 2019, Making Tax Digital comes into place, meaning you need to ensure you have online copies of all of your financial records. The easiest way to tackle this is through online accountancy software and there is a huge range available. Regardless of what you’re buying, saving or earning, you must keep up-to-date records from the moment you’re starting your business. This will help if you ever come under scrutiny and you are asked to produce historical records. It’s best practice to get into this habit right from the start so you will be safe in the years to come. This will also help with your cashflow management.
Keeping up-to-date and accurate records can help you spot problems before they are beyond fixing. When you’re starting a new business, the most important thing to scrutinise and focus on is your own cashflow. This can include items like accurate and timely invoices, using cash forecasting and keeping your personal and business accounts totally separate.
Importantly, you should not feel afraid to chase late payments. You don’t expect to pay for your weekly food shop a month late, so your goods and services, no matter how new or small, shouldn’t be any different.
Aside from the typical routes to funding a business, crowdfunding is relatively new and not often considered by those looking for investment. Crowdfunding involves a lot of work and if you don’t have a new product or service, it may ultimately lead to nowhere, but it can pay off if done correctly. Official Kickstarter statistics state that less than 40 per cent of approved campaigns actually get the funding they require, it’s a tough landscape to tackle. If you are considering this, review the platform, ensure you have marketed your product or service to the fullest, and don’t be disheartened if it does not perform as well as you had hoped.
Make the most of female help
Due to the gender gap in entrepreneurship, there are organisations and people that are open to helping other women achieve their business goals. We Are The City is obviously a great hub for content aimed at business-minded women, as well as UK initiatives such as Prowess or Forward Ladies. There is nothing wrong with seeking help in the early days, especially from those used to working with other like-minded ambitious women.
Check for local assistance
Your city or town very well may have funding available for those starting a business in the area. Grants could be accessible which could allow you to purchase new office equipment or go towards employing local people. Couple this with working with local universities and you may be able to get assistance from a budding undergraduate as well as funding from the university itself. Be sure to research and check with your local business growth organisations to see how they can assist you to ensure you make the most of your local opportunity.
About the author
Mariah Tompkins is the founder of Midlands-based WKM Accountancy Services which has been helping businesses for over 10 years. Mariah helps entrepreneurs, and businesses of all size, plan their finances alongside other business consultancy requirements.