By Adrian Kirby

Through his private equity company Ravensbourne, Adrian Kirby helps turn around the fortunes of struggling SMEs. Here he gives some dos and don’ts on how to obtain funding for your business.


Try a bank first to get a loan - it will be your best option and the most economic.

Start your pitch by getting the decision maker’s attention.

Always make your best and strongest points at the outset.

Show early on that you as a person are investable - funding is also about investing in people.

Ask yourself if the funders are interested from the start. If so, move swiftly to get an early decision in principle.

If you get an in-principle decision, move fast to close. These people work under pressure and have hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to look at every year.

Show you are passionate and committed to your cause.

Make sure you know every last detail about your business, its market and competitors.

Highlight why you are different.

Demonstrate that you can deliver, funders like people who can close.


Don't turn up poorly dressed and badly presented.

If you haven't got the funder’s attention quickly, stop and ask if there is something they don't like or haven’t understood about the business. You will know quickly.

Don't mess up the financial part of the presentation and if you are using
projected figures, disclose this at the outset.

Funders don't like surprises, especially nasty ones, so always be honest.

Don't give up if you get knocked back.

Don't try and give an answer if you just don't know. Say ‘I don't know but will find out’.

Top Tip!

Adrian Kirby heads up private equity firm Ravensbourne, which specialises in funding small and medium sized businesses. It has a track record in turning around the fortunes of companies that have found themselves in trouble due to the current economic climate or management issues.

It is also useful for start up corporations involved in the environment. Ravensbourne has a number of strategic partners in this sector and is actively seeking to expand its own operations.

If you would like to know more about Adrian Kirby, you can visit his website.