29 Jul 2015 10:42 AM

During a ‘financial talk’ I was giving to group of ambitious technology and innovation business start ups on what investors will be looking for, a thought stuck me. We regularly read about the hubs of innovation in Silicon Roundabout, Brighton, Birmingham and Croydon, but we have such promising talent much closer to home in Guildford.

I was invited to the University of Surrey’s Incubation Park as part of the ‘Investor Readiness Programme’ an initiative which is part of a series run by Set Squared, a partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. The partnership gives advice to fledging businesses on bringing their ideas to market.

Drawing on my experience of having worked with growing businesses at every step of the way from start up to exit, advising on all aspects from setting up an entity and shareholders agreements through to longer term growth strategies, I was able to share tips on what investors will be looking for. This included how to draft and present a business plan that will 'wow' them and avoiding some of the common pitfalls that businesses make when fund raising.

There was a real buzz in the room and the questions were coming thick and fast. The people I met had drive and enthusiasm, which is a great sign for the future of the business economy in the South East.

My top tip? I would always advise business owners to get professional advice, it’s a worthwhile investment, you might only get one shot at it and it pays in the long run.