Hello Hello Hello and welcome everybody.
Remember to give us the love, you can do that even as a replay.
Now today we are talking with Graham Niven who is a funding consultant.
We’re talking about how to get funding foryour creative business.
Now I was delighted to connect with Graham because I think there’s a point in people’sbusiness where actually they need funding to be able to take that next step.
I am a big believer in all the things thatyou can do before then to grow your business and that’swhy I work with people a lot around but I don’t do the kind of business planningthat Graham does.
So I just thought he would be a great addition to the Courageous Creatives Community and help the creative services providers thatwe’re talking to.
So please do, any questions that you have please feel free to pop those in the comments and we’ll come and check on those before,you know, as we’re going through, and even after thereplay.
So first things first.
Please let everybody share this out and make sure that we can get this through to as many people as possible, and then let’s just get that going.
And now what I would like to do is hand overto Graham.
So Graham, tell us a bit about how did youend up where you are now? Like what has been your journey along thatway? Well first of all I’m by trade book keeping, I’m an accountant, I’m a Yorkshireman and I’m also son of two Scots.
I’ve got a lot going for me.
When I was at the university, they used to get more done.
You know they came and di interviews, and I thought would be quite good experience.
All the jobs I really wanted I can get.
So I almost fell into accountancy.
I qualified, I left as soon as I qualifiedwork, and done this thing for many years.
Quality control, financial director of finance, some other things in terms of the recent path I always wanted to work with myself.
I never really took instructions very well.
That doesn’t sound like your average accountant because I get a picture of your average accountant as being quite good at taking instructionsor is that a myth? You’re right.
It didn’t really work out for me.
I was working a lot of hours for the businessI was working for.
And being honest reason I work for myself is because my youngest daughterwanted to go cross country, wanted to do athletics.
And my wife has epilepsy so she couldn’t drive.
I have been toying with it for a while, ifI don’t do it now, this is the perfect time.
Yes I wanted to ensure that she could go and Iwork for myself I can do that.
And that was thirteen years ago, yeah 13 yearsago.
You know we began working every now and thenbut I’ve been working for myself.
Well I just think that’s as good reason asany to start your own business because essentially what you are after isfreedom and that’s what so many creative service providerswant is freedom because that’s such a driving force for somany creatives.
I think that’s fantastic.
And by the way for anyone who’s watching thatdoesn’t know me.
My name is Una Doyle you can see it down at the bottom here, at the bottom of the screen.
I’m a business coach and strategist for creatives, particularly creative service providers.
I work with a lot of designers, graphic orweb designers, photographers, animators, PR marketing, digital consultants, and writers as well.
And it’s very interesting.
I think sometimes I am dissuading people from they think they need finance and actuallythey don’t, they just need to get better at selling.
So I’ve come across that a few times but I do see for the bigger businesses where they need to bring on some team membersto be able to take advantage of some opportunities or they need to kindof move on but actually funding will be really good forthem.
Well before I get into the nitty gritty ofthat and so there’s so many different areas offinance, what was it that drew you to business funding? Well it wasn’t my original business, my original business was actually personaldebt.
It actually couldn’t be a more at the otherend of the spectrum.
I used to go with people, visit people all the time when we really cango into a hundred and fifty thousand pounds ofloans and credit card debt.
And I used get involved with a thing calledIVA’s.
Yes I heard a lot about those back in thewhen recession hit in 2008.
Oh yes, yes.
And it was good and I enjoyed it because Ienjoyed helping people out.
I’ll be honest, it got more difficult to makemoney.
I got a loan.
I met someone who did business funding.
And I thought, “I could do this.
It’s much more fun.
” Generally, you’re dealing with happy people and therefore now I meet people who have gotgreat ideas and want to make things who want to expand.
I make these phone call sometimes and they’relike you said – sometime they need funding, sometimes theydon’t need funding, just a good talking to.
And we talk and if they do need funding thenI’ll help them out.
So tell me, people might not be really awareof what kinds of things they could get funding for.
So what what would you say people can do withthat? How I always start is I ask, “How much do you want? What are you going to spend it on? How much money are you going to make moneygoing to make and where?” Because if you can answer those four questions,then.
The source of funding that you can becomesa lot more obvious.
Also it very much depends on your atttitudeto debt, it’s a loan against equity.
If you compare it to you borrowing money fromsomebody or going in Dragon’s Den.
There’s only really three sorts of finance:debt, equity, and grants.
Debt you have to pay back with interest.
Equity ultimately help you get your business and hopefully ultimately your business willbe sold, that you’ll make a lot of money.
And grants, you don’t pay anything back but you have to do something for it.
Be it in research and development, et cetera.
It’s a huge amount of paperwork.
I tend not to focus too much on that sidebecause it takes a long time.
Yes And I found particularly in the digital creativesector, you could waste six months.
It’s such a long time.
Absolutely, that’s so true.
So I’m not saying don’t go for it.
If you’ve got time to go for grants and itdoesn’t matter, then that’s fine.
But I wouldn’t base a business on gettinga grant, personally.
Because ultimately, have you got a business, if you need it subsidized have you got a business? Yeah I see where you’re coming from because the business model has to support and if you always need to have money fromoutside then that doesn’t very interesting, that happened in the training and coachingindustry where there were so many people and all theirclients were subsidised by the government.
And then as soon as the government subsidiesstopped there was no business because they weren’t able to attract thoseclients on their own.
And it’s interesting, I’ve never gone downthat route.
I have thought for some of the more expensiveprograms that I offer around teams and things that’s you know actuallymaybe there.
I can see there’ll be a benefit but reallyfor the one person business that is a good bulk of my clients where it’ssmall teams, just you know the owner maybe a few ownerslike in a partnership.
And I actually want them.
I’d love to have another— I want them tobe invested like people say, “Have some skin in the game.
” I want them to be invested in the resultsthat they’re getting and I can’t help thinking that if people getsomething for nothing that they don’t necessarily value it.
Our lives are so saturated with informationthat, something has to be so outstanding that peoplewill really share it.
You know what’s popped into my own mind isthe Squashy Potty.
Have you seen the video for that? Do you know what I’m talking about? Oh it’s hilarious, go and look it up.
See now I’m telling you about it I’m tellingeverybody about it.
If you haven’t seen that go and check thatout.
This is actually a health thing for anybody.
So it’s a health product.
So I don’t want to go into the details ofit on this show, just go and check it out.
The video for it is hilarious because thisis actually a bit surreal and it’s funny.
It has bits of animation, as well as actors and it’s just really funny and out there.
So they’ve taken a product that people wouldnot have talked about and they’ve turned it into something thatpeople will talk about.
But for most people, you know, say for your average creative services thatrequires naught, here is a new innovative product, that’s adifferent scenario.
I think for your average business where it’snot something that’s completely new and out of the ordinary, then you know you’vereally got to be able to stand out from the crowd.
You’ve really got to be able to reach a lotof the right people in order to have enough of those sales comingin.
So yeah I think it’s important that people, even if you’re not going for funding, don’tunderestimate it.
Actually look at the numbers.
So it’s surprising when people start lookingand they go, “Oh wow, I actually need to reach a hundredpeople to get one sale,” and they’re like, “Oh gosh I’ve only ever been reaching a hundredpeople a month or less and no wonder I’ve only been scraping by.
So yeah I think that’s an important part ofthis.
You know the thing that people seem to getmixed up between debts and equity? Yes please explain that.
If you want to get a loan from a bank likefifty thousand pounds and you’d probably save time if you borrowthat over maybe 5 years and you pay it back.
That’s something you need to think about.
On the other side you’ve got people standup and say, “I want fifty thousand pounds and I’m preparedto give away or sell 20% of the business.
” You don’t have to pay that money back.
You never have to pay that money back.
They get their money back when those sharesare sold.
Now they could sell them to you or, we callit trade sell.
Or you can sell it to a venture capital company.
But an investor will want his or her moneyback, they want their fifty thousand to grow toa hundred and fifty thousand.
But, so the benefits of that if you don’thave to pay that back.
You don’t have to pay that back.
Again, all the share on your business.
But on the other hand, if you continuouslyget it, a business angel who can add something toyour business.
Thank you for that explanation.
I think also as well as explaining the differenceactually points out some of the pros and cons as well.
So just one thing before we wrap up.
One of the things you also do is train peopleto pitch in front of business angels.
Can you talk to us a bit about what are thecommon pitfalls when people are doing this, and you know, what would be a couple of tips that they couldimplement? They typically have 5 to 6 minutes to pitch.
They seem to want to tell whoever the angelsare everything in that 5 to 6 minutes.
And I said, and I use this analogy a lot — it’slike speed dating.
You’re not trying to get married in five minutes.
You just want another date, you just wantthem to talk to you another time because five minutes is not long enough.
It’s long enough, it’s like a hook.
It’s like throwing out a hook, and you reelsomeone in.
It’s like speed dating, not everyone is goingto like you and that’s fine.
You are just trying to get some dates andsubsequently, ultimately a long term marriage or a longterm affair.
That sort of thing.
So I find that people try and track differently, and they can’t stop telling people how cleverthey are.
Angels care about what’s the problem you’resolving, what’s your solution, how are you going toget it out there.
I focus on the first 90 seconds more thanany the other four and a half minutes, I’m not saying I don’t focus on you can attract them in that first 90 seconds.
I mean, I think that’s so interesting.
I’m kind of chuckling to myself as you’resaying that because I think there is this saying with a lot of peoplewhen it comes to sales that they’re trying to, you know, in a firstconversation with somebody they’re trying to tell them everything thatthey do.
And particularly a lot of creatives that havegot multiple services in their business.
They kind of go through a menu but they don’teven know anything about the person they’re speaking to.
And actually they need to find out about whatare their needs, what are their challenges, what are theiraspirations, before they can even know these things.
Those are the same thing in that you’ve gotto look at what’s the next objective.
And the next objective is to get another meeting not to persuade them to invest with you.
And then in the subsequent meetings then you’re looking to persuade them to invest.
Yeah I think that’s a great point and thatprinciple I think can be applied in many places.
And I think for many creatives, particularlythe more innovative creative ones because you’ve got a digital, more creative and for the ones that are prolific with their ideas you’ve really got to slowdown and get into some of the detail and the specificity of what you want, whyyou want it, and what they’re going to get out of it because really that’s what they want.
They want numbers.
And that’s probably the best, that’s maybe least exciting to you is thebit that’s most exciting to them.
So I think you really need to slow down and work with somebody like Graham on thatpreparation and maybe in putting your plan together aswell.
So that then you can actually do that greatpresentation.
So fantastic, I think that’s really good advice.
So I was looking to see if we had any questions.
Nick was saying that voice was a bit choppy.
So can someone let me know, have you beenable to hear what we’ve been saying? So we have a few people watching at the moment.
Would someone be kind enough to let us know and do you have any other questions? It would also be really great to know as well.
While waiting for that to come in there’sa bit of a time delay between when people type and when they actuallyget to see it.
So the other thing that I wanted to ask youabout is so if somebody was to work with you, whatis your process sir? How how does that work, basically? I always talk to somebody for up to an hour to see whether what I do is what they need.
You want to give somebody an hour of yourtime.
They could be the best one in the world, goingback to what you said sometimes you just need to sell more.
Getting money would be the last thing theyneed, that would be disastrous.
If I would get funding for people I chargea success fee.
Now I got a question for you on that.
So if you are charging a success fee do they build that in to how much money they’reasking for? I would say the majority don’t, it’s not ahuge, success fee.
Okay It’s not going to drastically affect whatthey get.
I would say it depends on your money.
It’s like you’re paying me a fee for findingpeople.
I don’t double charge.
Because that’s already built in.
I might find an angel for somebody, then theypay me a fee.
I mean it’s taken me time to find those angelsand nurture them.
So can you tell us where people can find outmore about you and I’ll just type into the comments thereas were doing that.
I have a website, find the website and youcan see by going to the message box, but it just talks various sources of funding and what you need to do on there.
But because funding is always changing, I don’t think that we’ve updated.
Yeah that makes sense.
I think you’ve got that I like talking topeople.
I just find that people trust me more, it’sjust the information on the website, it’s a bit boring.
And also you miss things so much.
I get people, the guys were saying to me, they were asking me for a specific sort.
Only, when it came down to it, honestly itwas the worst, not the worst, it wasn’t right.
That was back long ago, I spent an hour withthem.
I’m just looking here to see to get your informationto copy into it.
It’s not coming up.
No problem with that as it will in the end.
And so just to sum up everything that we’vebeen talking about today like if you can sum everything up into onegolden little nugget what would that be? My gold nugget isn’t really about funding.
If they can tell me how they’re going to gettheir fantastic products into those markets.
Because if you can’t, it’s pointless.
It’s just going to give you a whole load ofextra pressure isn’t it? Yes I can give you money, You can spend the money back later on likeyou’ve been spending the money before.
So it’s if I was to put that another way fundingreally allows you to leverage something that’s already working.
Is that what you would say? I mean I’m not a marketing expert but trysomething that maybe you’ve wanted to try.
We wanted to get another salesman on and just been laughing about.
Yeah Yeah I’m very much focused on the fact thatthe funding is out there, there’s in the Northwest not just in the Northwestbut everywhere.
I think in the Northwest there is lots ofthem.
I know we have North American viewers as well.
I presume the principles apply everywhereeven though the funding bodies and the actual people investing will be different.
Yeah I think it’s alright to say generallythat I have some angels there down in London you know, they work there.
They ask exactly the same thing.
People want their money back.
If you think that and you can give them that.
That’s a good thing.
It isn’t instant.
But you can do it, give all their money backplus interest, plus the multiple.
And actually there was one other thing thatI was wondering which is when it comes to, you were talking about people’s personal financesbeing in order.
I presume for like any existing business thatis already up and running you’ve got a show that you’re actually payingyourself a proper salary and things because, because otherwise it’snot really sustainable, is it? That different then? Is that right? And if so, is that different with a startup? I say to people, if you’ve got nothing in but some of them would not believe me.
Unless you’ve got a rich partner.
I cannot be on the other hand, withhold all those huge funding because wantingfunding generally is funding excessive salary.
The highest I get is a little more than threegrand in a month there.
I think that probably most people can liveon that.
Well it depends on where we are.
I know it depends on whole lot of things, but if people ask me, I say yeah.
I like where I am.
There’s nothing wrong with building that up,we all do.
We all do it, we make money.
Yes absolutely yes.
Well we all have family that we want to support,those things we want to achieve and actually you know really it’s just anexchange of what we’re doing to help other people.
If at the end of the day that’s what it’sall about.
Well fantastic, Graham I think that’s beenreally interesting and I think it’s been very helpful.
I look forward to seeing what feedback weget on this as well.
So yeah thank you very much and I’ll makesure if we connect probably makes you retired and then if anyone has any questions thenyou’ll see that as well and be able to answer.
So fantastic thank very much.
Thank you very much!.