Financing your business
Setting up your project as a self-employed worker requires start-up capital – considerable or less considerable. How much exactly depends on your activity, the chosen legal structure and your ambitions. Here is a rundown of potential sources of funding:
- Own resources
Funding your project using your own savings and personal assets. It goes without saying that this kind of funding is the best source of funding. Yet, it's not quite common as a lot of activities demand considerable sums to get under way, to pay for logistics, staff and furniture for example.
Did you know that the Federal State and the Regions also provide support when you plan to start your own business? By way of incentives, grants and various aid schemes. To find out which grants you qualify for, take a look at the grant database of the Flanders Enterprise agency (Agentschap Ondernemen) for a full rundown of all available grants and aid schemes for the Flemish region.
- Bank loans
The principle behind a bank loan is very simple: your bank lends you the sum you need to start your business, in return you pay back the money in instalments over a set period of time, raised with a fixed or variable interest.
Speak to your bank to find the most advantageous solution for your situation.
- Outside investors zOutside investors are partners or shareholders that invest private money into your business. These may be funds in cash or in kind (plant and machinery, buildings, patents). In return, the investors get shares in your business. In practical terms, this means they have a say in the day-to-day running of your business, as they will be owning part of it.
- Business angels are a kind of patrons or backers that will put up funding for your project. They act as natural persons and inject capital into business ventures – often operating in niche markets or innovative areas. A good solution to fund your business as this gives you the added benefit of being able to draw on the expertise and experience of a seasoned backer.
- Private equity and venture capital associations specialise in large investments. They tend to prefer innovative and creative projects with a relatively high return on investment. These investors may interfere with the day-to-day management of your business.
If you are considering calling on outside investors, be sure to give some serious thought to the degree of independence you wish to retain, as you will no longer be making the decisions on your own!
Crowdfunding is a form of collective investment. The principle is straightforward: you try and raise funds among ordinary citizens who you seek to recruit largely through the social network sites. This enables any citizen to invest in your project in return for shares.