Hi Ollie

First off congrats on taking the plunge and kicking off your own business.

In regards to your question, it’s hard to give nuanced advice without understanding more details e.g your goals, timeframes, resources (time/money), experience, etc. The below however are some general rules I follow in regards to funding,
– Always add 30% extra to your most well thought thru budget
– The best time to seek funding (Loan/Investment) is when you don’t need it. Your energy/confidence/ability to negotiate is completely different when you are not desperate for the funds.
– Even if you get an approval/offer you don’t need to accept it. Great to have those funds potentially waiting in the wings if needed at a later date.
– Always have someone in your team or your network that understands your industries numbers/metrics inside out. Their experience/advice is worth its weight in gold.
– There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Am I willing to take on funds in return for meeting some/all of the investors needs? e.g ROI, vision, seat on board, etc
– If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Write a business plan irrespective of fundraising. It forces you to deeply think about the details of going to market more than you may otherwise. This includes a comprehensive budget.

The last thing I would add is be careful of a “pay as you go” approach. Reason being, how long is a ball of string? Set a plan and budget and look to stick to it. Set milestones that need to be reached in order to achieve that plan. Of course things can change and a plan needs flex, but budgets rarely should. Draw some budgetary lines in the sand and get brutally honest with yourselves if and when you want to cross them. It’s not to say you can’t, it just means it should be a very conscious decision taken with caution.

Best of luck and feel free to keep reaching out as the venture progresses.