Looking for Funding in all the Right Places
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For existing business owners and prospective entrepreneurs who have a great business idea worth chasing, finding seed and early stage funding may be a difficult task. Companies that seek small business capital may choose bank loans or even use their own personal savings if the startup costs are not too high. For most companies, regardless of size, venture capital funding may serve as the best choice. However, the issue of who venture capitalists are needs to be addressed before digging any deeper.

Venture capitalists
Venture capitalists are a group of investors with plenty of funds at their disposal since they use other people’s wealth for each business deal. Mostly known for their investments in later-stage companies, many venture capitalists also provide early-stage funding as well. In exchange for their invested capital, VC’s often expect a percentage stake in a company, a well-respected board seat, and a large share of future company profits.

VC strategy
Venture capitalists are actively searching for new investment deals. Often times, they base their decisions to invest by looking at a company’s overall success and prospective profitability. Since VC’s have gloriously emerged from the Silicon Valley, they have mostly been known for their investments in software and biotech companies. However, venture capitalist firms can be found in just about every available industry.

VC risk of investment and level of involvement
Like angel investors, venture capitalists put their money at risk for every investment made. To compensate for such possible losses, they believe they deserve a large ROI return. By partnering with venture capitalists, an entrepreneur gives them the possibility of influencing their business; if things are running smoothly and the company is generating expected profits, then venture capitalists will probably not interfere with day-to-day operations. However, should things not develop the way they were originally expected, the entrepreneur can count on the VC to take over company operations to prevent its possible failure.

VC application process
There are thousands of companies that actively seek funding, but of all the applications, only a few are chosen by venture capitalists. This process is extremely competitive since VC’s put other people’s money in jeopardy. In order to be accepted, the entrepreneur must carefully research everything about the market and their competitors. They are then encouraged to document such findings in their business plan. If a prospective entrepreneur manages to impress the venture capitalists, then an in-person meeting will most likely ensue. The entrepreneur should also present financial figures to the prospective VC firm, specifying what the startup costs will be, the possibility of obtaining necessary capital at a later time of development, and what type of profits should be expected. It is important that the entrepreneur try to provide timeframes and specify how long they think it will take until the company becomes profitable.

The meeting
After a meeting is secured with a VC firm, the new business owner should concentrate their efforts on a professional presentation. This is crucial for the funding decision and in forming long-term partnerships. The meeting is the barrier which separates the entrepreneur from a signed contract. Access to these funds will be vital to the new company; therefore, the verbal presentation should be as detailed as possible. They must be clear about their values, background, and company goals. An explanation of why the VC firm should invest in a company and how and when that investment will pay off are also crucial to address. Once the speech or pitch is perfected, only time will tell if the VC firm is interested enough in investing.

It takes more than just a great business idea to make a new company successful. Funding is needed to market the idea and sustain the business. By successfully determining if and how an idea can be applied into practice and its market potential, the entrepreneur will have less of a chance of failing. Venture capitalists provide a great way for new entrepreneurs to obtain the needed startup capital and properly market their ideas to make their companies successful.

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