Angel Investors: Saviors or Sinners
All businesses start with “the big idea”. The person with the idea often times does not have all of the start up capital that they need to turn this multi-million dollar idea into a reality. The first place that many business owners start to seek funding is from friends and family. This first level of funding is sometimes known as “FFF,” or Friends, Family, and Fools. Jokes aside, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this as a place to start.
Funding that you receive from friends and family does have its drawbacks. If the business should fold and you cannot payback these people back you risk losing those relationships. Also, this type of funding is usually limited. Where do you go next?
Many people might say that the next step is to go to the bank. This is a wise choice, but banks are typically going to want to see two years worth of financial statements at a minimum. This is often difficult for a start-up company to provide; hence the phrase “start-up”. Also, if the owner or owners have less than perfect personal credit, it will make this even more difficult.
So what does that business owner now do? There is no substitute for building the separate credit of the business. You can see results within three to four months. You can build upon those results to seek larger sources of funding. The business owners that I assist have seen great results using this process. They have gone on to acquire large credit lines, equipment leases, and vehicle financing. While a business owner is building the credit of that business, they often require an infusion of capital between the initial family and friends investment and the bank investment. That is where an angel investor would come in.
An angel investor is a person who invests in start up businesses. They are taking on a very high risk investment; most new businesses fail within two years. As a result, the investor is looking for an ownership percentage in exchange for the money invested. This is not to say that this investor will always have some ownership interest in the business. Approximately 90% of time, once the loan is paid back, the ownership interest is returned to the owner. While temporarily sacrificing a percentage of ownership may not appeal to some, it may be the road to success.
When a business owner decides to seek an investment from angel investor they must prepare a business plan. The plan presents the potential angel investor with something that outlines several different facets of the business with everything from financial projections to management profiles. A business plan is something that any business will need in order to seek substantial funding. An angel investor will invest anywhere from $25,000 to $3,000,000. As you can see, there is a very wide spectrum. There many factor which will influence the investment amount.
I titled this article by asking whether an angel investor is a savior or a sinner. Ultimately they can be both: They are asking for a stake in your business; however they are offering a way for your business to succeed. The most important thing to remember is that an angel investor can be the solution to the problem of intermediate funding allowing for the dream to become a reality.
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