Q: I recently launched www.speakerbook.com.au, the world's first online platform to book talented guest speakers. It's causing a real stir in an industry dominated by traditional speaking bureaux. We want to grow the site fast but would like to know what support is potentially available to us. Venture capital, angel investors, accelerator programs, where would you recommend we begin?

A: Congratulations on getting started. That's often the hardest part. The type of help available to you depends on where your start-up is at.

Accelerator programs are a fantastic way to fast track your early growth and to be exposed to great mentors who have been there and done it, especially if you're still at idea stage or have an early prototype. Applications for the Sydney-based accelerator Startmate are open until November 24, so if you're interested in an accelerator program its definitely worth checking out.

Depending on how far along your business is you may be able to attract angel investment. Angels are usually individuals, or groups of individuals, who invest their own money into start-ups. There's a growing number of angels in Australia and events, like the upcoming AngelEd on November 7 in Sydney, are helping to educate those new angels on how to be better early stage investors. The easiest way to access angels, if you don't know any personally, is through angel groups like Innovation Bay or Sydney Angels. The typical angel round will be between $100,000 to $500,000 and you'd expect to give up something like 20 per cent to 30 per cent equity in your business.

Beyond angel groups there are some early stage investment funds such as SydVentures, Sydney Seed Fund and even some venture capitalists in the earlier stage space, like Blackbird Ventures. All of these groups usually look for some level of "traction" (that is, evidence that you've created something that meets a market need, that real customers are using and paying for and some proof you'll be able to grow the business rapidly using repeatable processes).

The most important thing you should focus on is making something customers genuinely need. If you do that well and you can prove that you can do it profitably in a repeatable, scalable way, you won't have to look for investors...they'll be looking for you.

Once you take funding you have someone new in your organisation who has a right to control the way you run your business. Not all investors are the same so be sure that, if you're considering investment, you look for investors who believe in your team, believe in what you're doing and who can add real value.

Also, keep in mind investors are looking for a return on their investment; they're putting money into your business with the view to being able to exit it at a significant profit at some stage down the track. By taking investment you are, either explicitly or implicitly, agreeing to heading down that path. Again, congratulations on getting started and best of luck.

Kim Heras is the founder of PushStart and co-founder of AngelEd