Financing a small business isn’t something you explore once and never think about again. It’s not the most exciting subject for most, but the small biz financing world is always changing, now more rapidly than ever before. We have new and more attainable avenues to find funding and start the business of your dreams.

If you haven’t taken a look at the landscape of small business financing in a while, here’s a quick intro to some of today’s biggest financing trends.

Crowdfunding Continues to Grow

After getting its start several years ago, crowdfunding has continued to grow consistently, moving from the early adopter crowd to a mainstream and viable funding option. Back in 2015, Massolution projected that crowdfunded investments would overtake venture capital this year, and we’re definitely on track.

As everything from media to campaign contributions becomes democratized, small business financing promises to follow the trend. Crowdfunding has nearly doubled its contribution to small business for the past few years, and it looks poised to continue. Expect crowdfunding to have a big impact on how businesses raise capital now and in the future.

Lending Goes Online

A small business loan used mean you had to draw up a lengthy business plan, don your sharpest suit, and head down to the local bank’s brick & mortar. Not anymore.

Business lending is rapidly making the switch from analog to digital as online lending firms pop up everywhere on the internet. Online lending is faster, offers more variety and better interest rates, and uses more intelligent data to assess applications, leading to higher approval rates.

We asked one of our small business financing experts what entrepreneurs like you need to know about getting a loan online. Here’s what he had to say:

What should a business know about getting financing from online merchants?

Ali Pourdad, CEO of Progressa:

Get your credit score in order, and consider the value of your business credit score. This is a separate measure that evaluates the creditworthiness of your business as a whole. It is determined based on data gathered from vendors about your payment history, including cash flow, returned cheques, working capital, net worth and financial resources.

Bootstrapping is Still a Popular Option

The channels available for small businesses to find funding are always changing and improving, making it easier for businesses to get the capital they need. But do you actually need to borrow capital?

The overwhelming majority of small businesses (75%) are still bootstrapped, meaning they use the owner(s)’s money, and the revenue generated, to invest in and develop the business. Despite new options and the growing availability of small business financing, it still pays to examine if you truly need to find more capital before going out looking for it.

Barriers to entry are at an all time low for almost every industry. Digital marketing and affordable SaaS solutions have made business ownership more accessible than ever. So take a look at your plans and the capital you have on hand, before you go asking for someone else’s money.

What will tomorrow bring?

Today’s trends in small business financing and startup funding point to an increasingly accessible and democratizes business landscape. With low startup costs, affordable solutions, and more capital available to entrepreneurs, we can expect 2017 and beyond to bring strong growth in small business and new and innovate ways to get financed.

How is your business financed? Would you do anything differently if you were starting again?

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