Top tips for putting together a successful funding pitch

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Many aspiring entrepreneurs have great business ideas but struggle to get these off the ground due to the financial costs associated with starting a business.

That is why an increasing number of people are entering award competitions or applying for grants to secure that vital initial funding. With The Formations Company recently announcing the winner of its 2017 Entrepreneur Award, here are some top tips for putting a successful funding pitch together and how to make yours stand out.

Believe in your idea and protect it

Competition for grants can be very tough, with many fellow entrepreneurs battling it out over the same limited funds. It is therefore vital that you are applying for the right reasons and have a passion for your idea – if you don’t, judges will be able to tell from your application and it is likely that they wont back you if you don’t back yourself. If you are passionate about your idea, it is important that you also protect it. There is nothing worse than having the perfect business name in your head, to then find out that someone else has taken it! The Formations Company can help with this, ensuring you secure your company name and establish a dormant company to protect you from this.

Be unique

Your business idea may not be a unique one as such, but there are ways that through your business plan and application that can make you stand out over other candidates. This was the case for the recent winner of the Formations Company Entrepreneur Award, Terence Chung. Terence’s winning business idea sees surplus waste produce including fruit and coffee turned into cosmetics and toiletry products. The business idea stood out due to being innovative and environmentally conscious, impressing judges with his eye for issues facing both business and the planet, including sustainability and use of finite resources.

Don’t be generic

Now that you have a unique business concept, it’s time to also not be generic with your application, especially when you often only get one chance at applying. Much like a CV, tailor your application to the exact specifications the grant application requests, and do not duplicate material from previous applications. It is likely that if you haven’t been successful in previous applications, using the same material may also lead to disappointment in future funding pitches.

Know your business, market and audience

In other words, do your homework! It is essential for you to know your business idea inside out. If you don’t know, neither will those reviewing your application and this will decrease your chances of securing funding. Ensure you concentrate on who your business will be targeted at, what your USP is and why it deserves the funding over others.

 Know your numbers

Although bolstered for dramatic effect on television reality shows such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice, knowing your numbers is crucial. As a start-up, those reviewing your funding application will not expect perfected projections or exact figures, however, they will expect you to think ahead, which shows your commitment to your idea – after all, you are attempting to persuade them to inject money into your business. If numbers aren’t your forte or if you’re inexperienced don’t worry, many funding grants often also come with comprehensive business packages that help for these aspects of your business idea.

Check, check and check again

Again, much like a CV, your application is a reflection upon your business idea and even further, on you. Be meticulous before submitting your funding pitch, making sure you proof-read to check for any minor spelling and grammar issues. However, more importantly, ensure you are following application and submission guidelines, including remembering to attach any requested supporting information.

Best of luck!

About the author:

Piers Chead is the founder and CEO of The Formations Company and has over two decades of experience in the emerging technology arena. In starting his own business, it was Piers’ vision to simplify the start up experience and he has put together a team of spirited individuals who share his passion for empowering entrepreneurs.

Piers accompanied senior members of staff at Barclays Business in the judging of The Formations Company Entrepreneur Award, in which the winner scooped a £1000 business grant, free company formation from The Formations Company as well as an exclusive mentorship programme from Barclays.

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