Getting the money you need to start a business is one of the top three most talked about topics for entrepreneurs. Although it’s more of a challenge now to get funding, it is not impossible. With a little creativity, persistence and ability to talk to people, you can accomplish what you are trying to achieve.
So, yes, the credit crunch is still an issue. Banks are still not lending like they used to. But getting a loan from a bank has always been a challenge, right? Let’s face it: you are in a competition. Those with the best ideas and the most ambition win. And let’s be frank: 99% of businesses out there were bootstrapped. This means most of the money came from the Founder, their friends and family.
One other great idea is to enter business plan competitions – these can be excellent for networking and meeting sophisticated investors. You never know where money may come from.
One of the first things to understand is that business credit is required for start-up business funding.
Start getting credit for your business. Lenders will look at this. Keep personal credit separate from your business credit. How do you do this? Open some business credit card accounts, use them for your expenses and then show that you can pay them off responsibly. Establishing business credit protects and assists you in getting more funding for your business at better rates. Also, ensure your business credit file is updated and accurate. Once you have a file that shows a good payment history, you’ll be prepared to get a bank loan.
Your Outside Funding Choices
- Angel Investors – These are groups of investors who invest in small and start-up companies and expect a return from their investment. This is where many companies start looking.
- Venture Capital – Similar to angel investors, except they look for companies that require a larger amount of investment capital and generally have already gone past the proof of concept phase. Tougher to get than Angel investment.
- Grants – Private organizations, business groups and state government institutions provide business grants for typically $5000- $50,000.
- Microloans – Very small loans often provided by non-profit community based lenders, generally up to a maximum of $35,000.
Depending on your type of business, you may go with one, two or all of these types of funding choices. A good idea is to educate yourself on all of these options to see what makes the most sense for you. Remember though, you are in competition with others who want money too. And, as we all know, it’s been tougher to get that money with investments down across the board.
The key: be persistent. Leave no stone unturned. In time, you will find the money you need. And the time you spend trying to get there will help you to be more creative and resourceful with how you finance your business.