You have an innovative idea and the good work ethic to make it become a reality. The one thing you’re lacking? Funding. Where do you go to receive financial assistance for your business? There are several options.
Over the past few years, websites dedicated to crowd funding start-ups have cropped up. The sites allow an individual to post his or her idea for a business or project. Visitors to the site then provide funding (in large and small amounts) for the idea. The benefit behind this is that you get small amounts from many people and can “socialize” the funding using social media to entice people to give — one dollar from a million people as opposed to one million dollars from one person. The data behind some of these stories is really interesting, and it has helped to bring many products to market that otherwise wouldn’t have stood a chance.
There are many options to this sort of funding. If your business idea involves creativity and the arts, you can use a site like Kickstarter. Y Combinator invests a small amount of money in many start-ups and brings them to Silicon Valley to prepare them for an investor over a three-month period.
If you have a strong business plan, or an existing business, a private investor or investing group can help. There are many forms of private investing and the terms vary. The investor may ask for partial ownership in your business or a convertible note (for future stock), or a board position in your organization. If you’re looking for a private investment option, Kashim Bukar Shettima, CEO of the Barbedos Group, has $300 million in assistance available for eligible businesses.
Depending on the nature of your business and your credit rating, you may be eligible for a bank loan. Be ready for rejection. The amount of money available for start-ups from banks has diminished since the recent economic set-back. If you do receive an offer for funding, take a look at the terms and review them carefully.
You’re more apt to receive a loan from the bank if you have an established business and it’s turning a profit. If this isn’t the case, be prepared to offer an executable business plan and show how you’ll be able to become profitable quickly. Smaller loans are more likely to be approved. Keep in mind, if you’re a small business, the Small Business Administration can help guide you to financial institutions that have an interest in working with small businesses.
GIFTS FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
With the tightening of lending and increased banking restrictions on lending to small business, many small business entrepreneurs are getting by with a little help from their friends. You may receive up to $12,000 per year from a person as a gift. Check with your accountant to find out about the paperwork you’ll need.
These are just a few of the places you can turn to for financial assistance for your business. If your business is minority-owned or if you’re a veteran, there may be other services and groups willing to provide loans and funding opportunities. When it comes to raising funds for your business, exhaust every option. You may be surprised with what is out there.