Starting a business can be daunting and exciting at the same time. Being your own boss and building something from scratch is as entrepreneurial as it gets. One of the main ingredients you will need to get a business off the ground is sufficient capital. Traditional thought leads us to a bank for a business loan. Luckily times have changed and there are more creative ways to fund your business.
Here is a list of twelve creative ways to finance a business:
1. Your Assets
Using your assets is perhaps the easiest way to finance your new business. These assets may include personal property, cars, boats, jewelry, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. You can either use these assets as collateral to secure a loan or sell these worldly possessions to raise money. However, make sure to consult a professional, such as a financial advisor, before liquidating any of your assets. Depending on the asset, you will also need to know how it will impact your taxes.
2. Angel Investors
Angel investors are individuals with a keen interest to invest in small businesses and upcoming startups. They usually provide more favorable terms compared to other professional investors. Most angel investors are former entrepreneurs, who can offer valuable business advice alongside the capital. However, you are going to need a solid business plan to convince an angel investor to finance your startup. Read more on how to attract an angel investor.
3. Friends and Family
Asking your friends and family members to invest in your business idea is a great way to finance your startup. You can either ask them for a business loan or barter a percentage of your business. However, using friends and family as a source of business financing comes with a cost. You are most likely to ruin a good relationship if your business fails. You should, therefore, spend considerable time educating them about the risks involved in your business.
4. Credit Cards
Credit cards can effectively maintain your working capital as well as the cash flow. Several small companies use credit cards to pay for office stationery, utility bills, and travel expenses, cash back rewards, and discounts. But, credit cards are directly tied to your credit score. Falling behind on your monthly payments can seriously affect your credit score. Besides, credit cards attract high-interest rates. So, if you choose to use a credit card for procuring start-up capital, make sure you have a plan to pay it back quickly.
5. Bank Loans
A traditional bank loan is a great funding option, but only a handful of entrepreneurs can qualify for one. Getting a bank loan has become difficult lately because of the strict lending standards. But, it is a good funding option for people with a good credit score and substantial collateral. One can get a bank loan against personal property, jewelry, and other financial assets. Fixed interest rates and monthly payments make it easier to plan your business expansion with a certainty.
6. Micro Loans
Microloans are typically short-term loans with low interest rates. They are the best financing options for small business owners and entrepreneurs with low capital requirements. Usually, a microloan can range from $500 to $50,000. Fortunately, microlenders are more than willing to offer loans to those who don’t have a business credit history.
Starting a new business on a limited budget without the help of professional investors is called bootstrapping. It essentially involves doing anything and everything to provide capital for your business. It is one of the cheapest and reliable ways to ensure positive cash flow for your business. The biggest advantage of bootstrapping is that you have greater control over your business as no third party investment is required.
8. Other SBA Financing
SBA (Small Business Administration) backed loans are a reliable source to fund your business. Commercial lenders provide SBA-backed loans as Small Business Administration is not allowed to disburse funds directly. Your business has to satisfy certain terms and conditions to qualify for such loans. However, SBA loan terms and criteria are less stringent than those for other business financing options.
9. Social Lending
Social lending is a type of alternative business financing. In social lending, you can borrow money from a large number of people who have pooled their personal funds together. There are several social lending companies in America, connecting lenders, and borrowers.
10. Trade Credit
It may only be a matter of office supplies and equipment, but your business still needs supplies. You can ask your regular vendors about the possibility of a trade credit. A trade credit allows you to buy your supplies on account paying the supplier at a later date. Usually, vendors don’t extend trade credit to a business without a good credit history. But, it is quite useful for an established business with limited cash flow.
It may sound surprising, but you can use your customer’s money to finance your business. You can negotiate payment terms with your customers by asking them to make full or part of the payment in advance. You can then use this cash to fund your services. As a matter of fact, it is easier to negotiate payment terms in the industry.
12. Online Lending
Online lending has become a lifeline for small businesses. This is the quickest way to get funds for your business. Depending on the type of your loan, you can get funding in 48 hours. You can get a loan even if you have a bad credit score. However, online lending is available only for established businesses. Typically, your business needs to be at least three months old to get such a loan.