One of my most important tasks on my return to London was to try and secure speedy funding. I didn’t have much money left, having spent much of what I had on the business and then on a rather extravagent 7 weeks of travelling around Europe and Canada (securing clients and researching the holiday and wedding market, but when you are on Aussie dollars, everything feels extravagent!). And living in London is not a cheap thing to do – I needed money.
Although my client has paid, living in London, hiring a great designer and usability expert, planning PR, and paying myself enough to live and eat, is not cheap. I needed it quickly too, so trying to get Angel funding wasn’t really a solution, as it wouldn’t be ready in time, and if I was clearly desperate and panicky (which I have been), it would not be a good negotiating position to be in.
So my dear incubator friends who are helping me suggested I go for a Small Business Loans Guarantee, which is a government secured loan for small businesses. He had a good working relationship with one of the business banking managers at Barclays, so he arranged the meeting and vouched for me. I presented my proposition, and shared my plans and budget, and they bought into it.
Then began the slow process of getting it approved through the creditors of the bank. And what a terrible time to be seeking bank finance for a web start-up run by a solo woman… with the huge scandals involving bank credit risk, it was always going to be hard. And it was. Initially it was even turned down, to my utter and horrific dismay. How was I going to pay rent? How was I going to pay my suppliers? I had to start asking friends for loans, which made me sick to my stomach.
But some last minute additional work came in, and it swayed the decision-making balance in my favour, and they agreed, based on sight of contracts of the new work (easily done) and on procurement of death insurance (which makes sense – if I die, there is no company). Sweet relief flooded through my veins. I was saved.
Of course, I still need Angel funding – the amount lent to me isn’t a massive amount – but thankfully I won’t have that panicky desperate glint in my eyes that investors and men-avoiding-dating-30-year-old-women so veer away from.
I can pay rent! I can pay my team! I can buy myself a glass of congratulatory wine! I think I will now actually!