Expansion Capital checklist

Expansion Capital investors help businesses grow, in return for a stake in the business. Investors want to see strong growth rates during the period of the investment.

The journey to Expansion Capital is about proving that you can deliver sustainable growth. This checklist can help you navigate some of the common pitfalls, as well as understanding whether the process is achievable for your business – before you start.

Please note - This checklist is not part of an application process for Expansion Capital. However, we hope it gives you an idea of what’s involved and what you need to do to prepare. Investors may ask for more or less information about your business and the finance you need than what is set out below. This will change depending on individuals involved.

Stage 1: Preparing your business for Expansion Capital

Is Expansion Capital right for you?

Expansion Capital funding is most commonly used for creating new products, entering new markets, improving infrastructure and acquisitions. Does your business fit the bill? 

Is your unique selling proposition (USP) easy to explain?

And can you explain why you believe it is sustainable?

Do you understand your profitability in different product areas?

Do you understand it across different customer channels or contracts? 

Is your marketplace growing? 

Or is your share of the market growing? How are you bettering your competition? 

Can you identify where the risks in the business are? 

And do you know how you can work with an investor to minimise them?

Is your house in order? 

Are your accounts up to date? Do you understand your legal framework - including whether you are an incorporated company or a sole trader? Have you done everything you can to minimise risk in how you account for tax and liabilities?

Are you comfortable with bringing an investor into your business?

Are you comfortable knowing that your shares may be diluted over time? Are you comfortable letting an investor take an active role in your business? 

Stage 2: Planning the growth journey 

Have you modelled how much money you will need? 

Does this plan stretch over at least an 18-month period? 

Are your business plan and financial projections in place?

Can you project these three years into the future? 

Are you comfortable with the amount of money you are being offered and the shares you’re being asked to give in return?

Funds place an offer to the business, often based on a multiple of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation). This is the initial ‘buy-out’ of shares. The fund then injects more money for a specific purpose to help the business grow. Do you know the numbers and understand the journey from that point? 

Stage 3: Understanding the major players 

Have you consulted an advisor? 

Do you understand the pros and cons of doing so? 

Have you done your homework on your potential investors? 

Have they got experience in your sector? Are they the right fit for your business? 

Do you have the right people and skills in your business?

Expansion Capital funds often place a Chairperson and, if needed, help companies to source and hire Financial Director into a business. Could you benefit from adding these skill sets? 

How much money should you ask for?

Alistair Brew, Investor @ BGF, suggests that you approach the amount of money you need with this simple five-step process:

Write out your task wish-list and decide which initiatives you need to spend money on:

  • Cost each of them
  • Rank them in order of priority
  • Rank them in terms of which you can get the best returns on
  • Talk to your investor or advisor about what you can best achieve in the next 18 months

How do you make the decision to give away equity?

“Stay open minded,” Brew says. “The right partner can help a business achieve its goals faster and with less risk. Don’t listen to all the scare stories about losing control of your business before you’ve investigated for yourself.” Alistair Brew, Investor @ BGF

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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