How to fund your start-up business

Having a business idea is one thing, but finding funding to help you launch it can seem like an impossible task. But it doesn’t have to be.

  • Your experience of funding your athletic career is a highly valuable starting point when launching a start-up business
  • We’ve detailed three important factors to consider as you go in search of revenue streams
  • Learn more about how to finance and sustain your business with the Athlete365 Business Accelerator

Use what you already have

One of the first steps in getting your start-up business up and running is to find funding – and you’ll quickly discover that funding your start-up is just like funding your athletic career.

Often, much of the initial investment is from family or others who believe in you. Very few entrepreneurs begin with high-value investors. So, make use of your network. As an athlete, you will have a wide and existing network of people to help identify potential partners, even if you don’t realise it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or look for committed partners to work with you.

Knowing your options

Funding can come from a number of different places, and financial decisions often depend on personal situations and personalities. If you have the energy and patience, growing a company organically from sales can be extremely rewarding and possibly more profitable as you retain more control and equity. Taking on debt typically requires collateral for security and comes with fixed-interest payments that may be difficult to pay during slow periods of the business.

Securing outside financing, especially from venture capitalists, may help a company grow faster through increased resources or through competitor acquisition, but is risky in that investors are looking for a high return in a short time.

Accelerating your financial understanding

Even for experienced businesspeople, it can be a lot to get your head around, which is why there is a whole module dedicated to exploring these different options further in the Athlete365 Business Accelerator online course.

To get you started, here are three vital things to consider when it comes to funding your business.

1. Seek investors
It is useful to know how to identify and approach investors – and the first step is to learn as much about them as possible. What type of investments have they previously made? What can they bring to the table other than money? Randomly approaching investors without understanding their background and investment criteria is a waste of time for both of you.

When pitching to an investor the presentation is key, so take the time to practise and perfect the content and delivery. You should be able to explain the project and the return on investment, along with growth and exit strategies, in less than five minutes. This is often referred to as an ‘elevator pitch’, based on the idea of selling your idea to someone in the time it takes to complete a journey in a lift with them.

2. Problem solve
Money does not solve all problems, though. There is always a new obstacle or something that needs fixing in a start-up business. Entrepreneurs are continual problem-solvers, from simple printer issues to major legal challenges.

But this is something you, as athletes, will be able to relate to. If you’ve ever been injured or experienced a slump, you’ll know how frustrating it is wanting to improve but being held back by physical or mental challenges.

Staying positive and tackling each issue as it arises, and with equal intensity, is important. Learning from previous mistakes and failures is also vital.

3.Pace yourself
Finally, approach entrepreneurship like training. Don’t go crazy in the beginning; pay attention to nutrition and sleep. Think in four to eight-year plans – this will help to avoid burnout in the first one or two years. As in your athletic career, there will be highs and lows – but the rewards are worth it.

Ready to take your first steps in the business world? The Athlete365 Business Accelerator takes you from idea to fully developed business plan in a series of step-by-step online modules and gives you the opportunity to receive mentoring and attend workshops delivered by business experts. Click here to start the course and dive deeper into the world of business.