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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.


Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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