You’re ready to start your business venture, but you need cash. When you think about how you’re going to get the startup funds, your hands begin to sweat and you feel more nervous than you would before a first date.
So, what’s the best way to get money to start a business? And what’s the cheapest, most efficient way to do it?
Thankfully, these questions aren’t too tough to answer when you consider the wide array of options available to business owners like you.
Listen up. Here’s how to get money for your small business.
How to Get Money for Your Business
Go to the Bank and Get a Loan
Getting a loan is a tried-and-true way to get your hands on the moolah. You can either get a small business loan from a local bank (keep in mind that larger banks don’t usually consider small loans) or a personal loan that can be used for business purposes (these are much easier to obtain).
Here are a few different types of loans to consider:
Microloans from the SBA—Banks aren’t the only ones who dole out small business loans. Uncle Sam can help too.
Credit Cards— Credit cards are an obvious (but risky) way to get money. Some business owners use credit cards to buy computers, supplies, and even software services that’ll take a card. Be careful with credit cards, though. It’s easy for your balance to go through the roof. Not a longterm strategy!
Loans from Life Insurance- Sometimes people borrow against their life insurance policies. Sometimes you can get up to 95 percent of your initial paid-in value.
Personal Bank Loans— You can get a personal loan from a bank. You’ll make monthly payments, and may have to provide some collateral.
Loans from the SBA range from $5,000 to $5 million but average $371,000. That's a lot of money for your biz.
Find a Small Business Development Center
Small business development centers offer financial assistance, mentorships, and various nuts and bolts resources to founders and others who are looking for funding. Do a Google search for your local small business development center. Go to their business seminars and workshops to get more information.
Try Your "Friends and Family" Bank
The best resource for funds could be right under your nose. Ask your family and friends for money. Offer them some equity to sweeten the pot. If you're business takes off, they'll be happy they invested.
Get a Financial Grant
Your business could be waiting for a grant, though it's actually not very likely.
Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) does not provide many grants to small businesses. Because these grants are funded by U.S. tax dollars, there are stringent policies in place that prevent the government from giving away money in a willy-nilly fashion. The government will not provide funds for starting a business, paying off debt, or covering operational expenses.
The SBA does give small business grants, but these are for very specific industries identified as important by the government (like in the sciences, research and development, medical research, and conservation).
Enter a Contest or Competition
There are various contests and competitions out there, even game shows like Shark Tank, that can provide you with money to get your business off the ground. If you're not sure which contest is right for you, check out our Startup Competition Guide.
Seek Out Venture Capital
Entrepreneurs are always blabbing about venture capital, but can it be useful to you? Yes! Venture capital is basically just money provided by investors to help get a business off the ground, but venture capitalists own a portion of the business (equity) so that when things get good, they'll get some money. Usually venture capitalists get a say in your company decisions,so proceed with caution.
Find an Angel Investor
An angel investor is an individual who believes (or pretends to believe) in your business’s mission and potential. Like a venture capitalist, they'll provide you with a ton of startup cash and demand some equity so that they'll get rich when things get good. There are a lot of angel investors who can also be mentors, especially in specific fields. A good angel investor will not only provide you with money, but advise you along the way.
Consider Supplier/Vendor Financing
If you're selling a physical product, you can consider supplier/vendor financing from a company like GE Capital. They have a number of financing packages such as inventory financing, vendor financing, and asset-based lending. These can all help you get your products to vendors.
Save Up at Your Day Job
Before you quit your day job, save up as much as you possibly can. Bootstrapping a business -- building it up from your own funds-- is one of the best ways to create something sustainable. In order to save at your day job, meet with a financial advisor to make a strict budget. Forget all your fancy dinners and trips to Hawaii. Instead, live frugally while you save to start your dream.
How to Get Money for Your Business If You Have Bad Credit
Many entrepreneurs and business owners wonder how their venture will ever take off if they suffer from bad credit. Turns out, you can fund your business in ways that improve your credit score, rather than require you to have a high one. Instead of looking to loans or credit cards, consider other options, like saving up at your day job, hitting up the friends and family bank, or entering a contest or applying for a grant.