Regardless of how unique your business idea is, it will definitely have one thing in common with all the other businesses out there.
Regardless of the industry or scale, it will cost money to turn this idea into reality. And, deciding how you’re going to fund your business and the later market is one of the first financial decisions you’ll ever make as a new business owner.
There are different methods to get the funds you require, as we’ll share with you below. We’re going to split them into different categories, though, for your convenience.
Having trouble getting approved for loans and grants? Then maybe you don’t really need to be accepted by an organization or institution. Maybe, what you need is to simply convince one person. An investor.
There are different places where you can find the perfect one.
Your Personal Network
The best way to find an investor is to start closer to your home. Tap into your personal network and see if you have any friend or family member who’s interested in investing in your idea.
However, don’t just randomly pitch it over at dinner or while you’re hanging out. Show them that you’re serious. Get your business plan ready, schedule a meeting, and do a pitch.
The best thing about it is that your presentation will never go to waste regardless if you convince them or not. It can serve as a great practice for when you do go out there and pitch your ideas to more seasoned investors. You can even get their feedback.
Venture Capital Firms
These are firms that were specifically established with the objective of investing in other businesses, including those that are still in their early stages, in exchange for partial ownership or equity.
Most venture capitalists prefer to cash out their equity once the business holds their initial public offering (or IPO), or in the moment that it’s sold to another, larger company, topped with a little bit of profit, of course.
Experienced Business Owners
Finally, you can also seek out the advice of other business owners. They might be willing to invest in a new business to further diversify their sources of income, or better yet, they probably know someone else who’s interested, like an angel investor.
Angel investors are usually pioneers or leaders in their industries. Most of them have gone through a rough start when they were building their companies from the ground up, so they now want to extend their hand to help struggling entrepreneurs—especially those with very promising potential or those who remind them of themselves from way back.
As such, they are usually very selective so you better get your idea’s wow factor ready during your pitch.
If you can’t convince your family or other types of investors, then maybe you can entice your target demographic? Crowdfunding is a method of raising money by pooling together donations.
There are various crowdfunding platforms online, but here are three of our favorites:
No list of crowdfunding platforms will ever be complete without mentioning the ever-popular Kickstarter. If you want your business to get noticed straight from the get-go, then this is the site to sign up for.
Beware, though. Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing policy. This means that if your campaign doesn’t raise the money it intends to, then you won’t be able to cash it out. Instead, it will be distributed back to your donors. On the other hand, Kickstarter will get five percent of your total amount as a fee if you do reach your goal.
Looking for an alternative to Kickstarter? Then you might want to look into Indiegogo, another popular crowdfunding platform.
We really appreciate that they don’t operate on an all-or-nothing policy as Kickstarter does. Instead, they’ll charge a percentage from your campaign earnings regardless of its outcome. They’ll take nine percent if you fail and four percent if you succeed.
Finally, if you’d rather get funding monthly (especially for those who run creative or digital media businesses like crafting or podcasting), then you might want to look into Patreon. This platform uses a monthly, subscription-based model, that can serve as a steady income stream for your pursuit.
There are various financial institutions that offer business loans. There are two common types of business loans: secured and unsecured.
Secured Business Loans
These are loan plans that require a personal or business collateral. As such, they are available in increased amounts and can be less restrictive when it comes to requirements. The problem, though, is not all business owners have collateral to give.
Unsecured Business Loans
Hence, we suggest looking into unsecured bank loans as well. However, these loan plans too have its downsides. Since the lender won’t have any guarantee with the payment, they will usually offer smaller amounts with higher interest rates.
Regardless of the option you choose, just be sure to explore multiple plans in order to get the highest amount with the lowest interest rate and the most flexible payment options.
Aside from being categorized as secured and unsecured, loans are also determined according to their providers:
Small Business Administration is a United States government agency that was specifically formed in order to provide assistance to small business owners. After all, we are, indeed, the backbone of the economy.
In fact, according to Forbes, small businesses are responsible for generating 50% of the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP.
As such, it is no big surprise that SBA offers different loan plans with flexible terms and lower interest rates compared to other agencies and financial institutions out there. Just be sure to double-check the criteria that they require before applying in order to better prepare for your application and improve your chances of getting approved.
There are times when you don’t really need to look too far in order to find the perfect loan program for you. Try asking your bank for options. Account-holders with excellent records usually get better terms.
Speaking of which, you might want to open separate accounts for your funds. It’s one of the most basic personal and business budgeting tips we have learned when we were just starting out. It’s pretty basic, but it’s surprising how much small business owners out there combine their personal and business money in one account, leading to confusion, loss, and later on, even failure.
We always appreciate a good loan plan, especially one that comes with various payment schemes. However, if there’s one funding option that we like better than getting a loan, that would be getting approved for a grant. After all, there’s no repayment needed!
There are different groups that offer them, here are our top three favorites:
National Association for the Self-Employed Grants
The National Association for the Self-Employed can provide up to $4000 to their chosen candidates. You need to be a member of the group in order to apply, though. The fee costs $120 annually.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
We know, $4000 might not be enough depending on the kind of business you want to launch and how much funding you need. Hence, if you’re looking for a more lucrative grant, then you might want to try and apply for U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research Program.
They offer different grants to match the unique needs of small business owners. Put your game face on, though, because it’s going to be a lengthy application process ahead.
Government Small Business Grants
Finally, there are also other groups that offer grants based on the industry that you belong to. These grants can be challenging to find and are usually very selective. Fortunately, it’s another thing that the U.S. Small Business Administration can help you with as well, and their website is the perfect place to start your research.
Searching for Viable Funding Options
You can always start your business with very limited resources, but let’s face it, your startup will launch much more smoothly with the capital to support it.
Fortunately, there are different ways to raise the money you need to fund your business. Applying for a small business loan or grant is a popular option.
There also might be investors out there who are willing to put their money into your potentially profitable idea.
In fact, you can even raise the money through a crowdfunding platform online.
While these are not the only ways to obtain business funding, we do believe that the methods that we have listed above give you a good place to start in your fund hunt. Good luck!