So you’ve got a ground-breaking business idea and you want to make it a reality. Great news, you’ve come to the right place. You now need two key things to get off the ground; visibility and funding. Thankfully we can lend a hand with both. We’ve put a few of our own sparkly marketing techniques alongside some essential funding tips for startups from Innovate UK. Follow this killer guide and you’ll be on the right path.
Explore All Opportunities
So this is intimidating. You’re looking for funding – huge! It’s important not to be swallowed up by the gravity of what you’re doing. Approach it with a clear head and explore all options. Don’t just jump at the first chance that comes your way.
Conrad Ford, CEO of Funding Options explains: “There are dozens of ways to finance your business, depending on your stage, sector or location.”
Your choice is going to be a crucial one so plan it out thoroughly. There are plenty of grants, loans, investors and crowdfunding opportunities out there. Never overlook the help of friends and family either. Auntie Ethel could be the board member you’ve been waiting for – just don’t lose her retirement fund.
It’s also worth considering investors who offer more than just their bank card. Knowledge and the ability to open doors can be far more beneficial than just cash.
Ask for the Right Amount
This is important. You need to be realistic about the amount you’re seeking. The key is to find the right balance. Too little and investors will get a little twitchy about the money running out. Too much and you’ll deter smaller, more attainable investors.
You should approach this in the right way. Look at the milestones you want to achieve. Work out an actionable plan on how to get there and ultimately how much money you’ll need. This will also help to validate your pitch for potential investors.
Know Your Numbers
Hold on there, don’t get carried away because you’re entering a global market worth billions. Companies keep telling us they’re the next Uber. Which is great, we love your optimism. It’s just not a realistic projection. You need to look further than the market size – look for the percentage you’ll hold. Just please make it a down-to-earth figure.
Kelsey Lynn-Skinner, Director Technology Ventures at Imperial Innovations shares her insight: “Investors want a big market combined with a realistic, detail-oriented go-to-market approach”.
Do your research. We use these three words so often, we might as well trademark them. We couldn’t possibly emphasise it more. As a startup, there’s nothing more important than knowing what you’re getting into. Not being able to recount important information is a sure-fire way of putting investors off.
Make Your Pitch Awesome
You’re not going to get people to put their money where their mouth is if your pitch isn’t exceptional. First impressions are crucial. You need to tell the story from start to finish, covering all key aspects.
If your figures aren’t spot on, your research is flimsy and your presentation’s weak – you’re not going to be successful. Any doubt or lack of trust from the investor and it’s game over.
Allow Enough Time to Raise Money
You’re going to be seriously fortunate if you get funding after your first attempt. Expect a long and sometimes turbulent time getting an investor on board. You need to be sure your business can survive in the period before funding.
The process can take at least a few months though it’s best to prepare for more. The main reason for startup failure is a lack of money, so don’t get caught out. This period could really be make or break. Basically, order the tins of baked beans now because you’re going to be eating like a student again.
So now you’ve got some stellar tips on securing funding from Innovate UK. It’s time to focus on getting eyes on your brand. Here’s how to maximise reach.
Optimise Your Site
Those scary three words were bound to pop up; search engine optimisation. We get it, it’s daunting and sends a pang of anxiety through the veins of startups. If you don’t come from a tech background, this can seem like an entirely new language to learn. Trust us, it’s not – you’ve got nothing to fear. The truth is, Google likes things in a certain way.
Optimising your site will make it more user friendly and you’ll see a jump in rankings too. After all, 75% of web traffic starts at search engines – don’t be the brand that gets left behind.
How do I actually optimise my site? Good question. There are hundreds of books out there on the topic but most are incredibly dull and filled with terrible stock photos. You know the ones with fake smiles and unnatural handshakes. But you need none of these.
To optimise your site correctly, you just need to understand and implement best practices. We’re talking about snappy titles, enticing meta-descriptions, informative alt-tags and careful use of keywords. SEO is a mindset which will become habitual in time. If you’re still struggling or want more detail you’re in luck – we offer a full range of SEO services.
Get on Social Media
Social media is the perfect way of reaching new audiences. It gives you the ability to talk to a captive audience and approach new users with ease. The truth is though, social media usage from a brand’s perspective is far from a walk in the park.
First thing’s first, you need to know your audience and pick the right platform. There’s no point in talking to teenagers about the latest music app using LinkedIn. You need to understand who you’re marketing to and how to speak to them. A great way to do this is to find a company that gets it right and analyse their approach. Just remember, it’s important to keep adding regular content to your site so you have something to talk about.
Whilst we’re on the topic of social media, we just want to say – don’t spend all your time self-promoting. Don’t be that guy! No one likes it, it’s boring and you’ll lose respect. Talk about content, be insightful, humorous and interesting. And one more thing, share the love! How do you expect to build a community without first engaging with others? Just be sure to remain on-brand.
If you’re marketing to millennials on social media, be aware it’s an entirely different ball game.
Can Someone Help Me Market My Brand?
See what we did there? We built it up for a stylish call-to-action. Of course we’re going to share a link to our Digital Marketing services and tell you how we can help you get eyes on your site. If you’re producing content, your closing few lines should ask readers to click-through and take a look at what you’re offering. If you don’t do this, you’re wasting a perfectly good opportunity to convert a reader to a customer.
If you’re struggling for ideas on how to maximise your brand’s visibility, take a look at the full spectrum of Digital Marketing services we offer. We can help you with search engine optimisation, content production, social media, paid media and much more.
Additionally, if you enjoyed the Innovate UK essential tips video above, you can find more on their YouTube page. Just don’t forget to subscribe to their YouTube channel.