During the lifetime of any business, raising funds will be necessary. It’s also one of the toughest decisions an entrepreneur can face. The ideal scenario, to paraphrase Dire Straits, is ‘money for nothing’. The reality is that this is a moment when control and ownership seem to slip away.

Traditionally, a meeting with the bank manager and a quick decision on whether to lend the business money is the answer.

If there are sufficient assets – business or personal – to use for security, a loan is the most comfortable route of financing. But banks aren’t just about loans; all offer a range of commercial finance solutions.

Invoice discounting, factoring and other variants may suit your business needs, and none impact on ownership or control of the business. Entrepreneurs retain their shareholding and make the decisions; all banks ultimately want is their money repaid, on time.

The first stop in funding must always be local, national and EU grants. Even with bank borrowing, researching grants is essential. The aura surrounding them can make them seem out of reach, but they are there to encourage entrepreneurial spirit. They aren’t only for tech, medical or social businesses; there is a wide range available.

But it’s a competitive world. You must proactively seek them out to ensure you receive your cut of the pie.

Alternative lenders such as Flender, GRID and Linked Finance are also options to enable entrepreneurs borrow without relinquishing any shareholding.

After that avenue is exhausted, look to angel investors or venture capitalists. They can fund your business based on either a form of loan (redeemable shares)where repayments are set and structured. Nobody takes your shares away or dictates a business plan; you keep control. However, not all Venture Capitalists will want to go this route so check early in the conversations.

These are just a few tips for funding your business without losing control. Avenues are ready to explore and at Big Red Cloud, our software solutions provide you with the confidence that your business is providing up-to-date information in an accurate and timely manner.