Sometimes new businesses can find wealthy benefactors who are willing to invest their capital in the business in return for compensation. These individuals are called “business angels.” This name comes from the fact that they step in to an investment situation when no one else will. Often small businesses have difficulty acquiring money for their starting costs. Large investment corporations and traditional lenders are often unwilling to take on the risk associated with beginning a small business. Business angels provide for this need. To the new business owner, they truly are angels, because they save the day in a desperate investment situation.
Typically, business angels will invest in businesses that need an amount that falls within £10,000 and £250,000. The average investment an angel investor makes initially is usually around £75,000. They will choose to invest in businesses with excellent business plans and the potential for a high return on investment. Business angels are picky when choosing businesses to invest in because of the high risk they take with the investment.
Why would a business angel be willing to invest in a high-risk new business endeavour? They are looking for financial gain at the end of the business relationship. Business angels receive a percentage of the equity of the business in return for their investment. This type of finance means that the business angel has a share of the ownership of the business. Sometimes they will retain some control over the way the business is run.
How will the money invested by a business angel be repaid? Often it is repaid through dividend payments when the business starts to receive income. Typically, the percentage the business angel receives is more than a traditional loan or other form of financing due to the high amount of risk involved. However, this high percentage is usually acceptable to the business owner because of the lack of other willing investors.
Business angels will want to have an exit strategy, should the business fail. When a new business approaches a business angel with a proposition and a request for financing, this exit strategy needs to be clearly presented. One example of an exit strategy would be a trade sale. The investor is repaid through the profit from the sale. Another way that a new business can give a potential business angel an exit strategy is to outline the procedures of a shareholder buyout. The business angel is looking to see that the business has a way to repay the investment, even if the business does not succeed.
Business angels often contribute more than just finances to a new business. They offer their advice and experience as well. While many new business owners may not like giving control of much of their business over to a business angel, the experience and expertise gained is extremely valuable to the new business entrepreneur. The business angel has accumulated wealth, and therefore has proven that he is able to succeed in business. This level of understanding is invaluable to the new business owner.
Business angels expect a high rate of return on their investment. Because of this cost, most businesses seek other forms of investment and start up capital before seeking the help of business angels. If you are beginning a new business and have exhausted all of your sources of capital, then an angel investor may be your best option. You may want to approach traditional lenders, friends, and family first before turning to a business angel, since these capital options cost you much less. If, however, you are at a point when you cannot find any other source of income for your business, then the time has come to turn to the help of a business angel!
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