One of the key elements for a business to exist is capital. Whatever stage your company is in—whether it has yet to be launched, has just started, is already thriving, or is gearing up for growth and expansion—you always have to look for ways to fund your small business.
SMBs naturally start with minimal capital. Limited resources often prompt most entrepreneurs to put their “big” plans on hold. They think that the small capital they have isn’t enough to turn their ideas into reality. Good thing, there are realistic funding options for innovative entrepreneurs like you! Here are 4 ways to fund your small business with small capital:
Self-fund Your Biz
Also called bootstrapping, this simply means using money from your own pocket to fund your projects for a certain amount of time until a major or formal funding opportunity comes. You can either use your savings account, zero interest cards, and other personal assets.
Investing your own money may not come easy (it’s even scary), but if you have a solid plan and confidence in your vision for your business, then you should be comfortable doing this. It’s also like letting the world (particularly, investors) know that you mean serious business. In the words of famous investor, Warren Buffet, you’ve got “skin in the game.”
Online electronic store, Sparkfun is a good example of a bootstrapped startup. Founder Nathan Seidle started the business in 2003 with around $2,500 credit card debt. Seven years after its humble beginnings, it already earned revenue of over $10 million.
This do-it-yourself way of funding can also include building your business around your knowledge and skills. Use your expertise first, instead of hiring consultants or outside sources. This way, you won’t have to shell out a part of your funds for their services.
Seek Help From Family And Friends
Aside from yourself, your family and closest friends are the ones most likely to believe in your abilities and goals. They are the first people you can inform about your business. You can easily ask them to spread the word to their colleagues, circle of friends, and other connections. They can be good sources of funds as well. According to Fundable statistics, family and friends are the main source of funding for entrepreneurs, with more than $600 billion worth of investments in new businesses in 2014.
However, this comes with the risk of ruining personal relationships in case the business fails. What you can do to avoid this is to structure this type of funding. Borrow an amount just enough to launch the business or start a project. You can both agree to make this a loan, payable in let’s say one year or when able.
Look For Angel Investors
These investors are typically rich individuals willing to invest in new ventures. Timing and leveraging the right connections are crucial for this type of funding. You can also search online for “angels.” Chances are you’ll find one or more near your area.
While angel investors are heaven sent, you must also understand and remember that getting funds from them would mean that they will own a part of your business. It’s important that you build a relationship with them based on trust. You can earn their trust by giving them their money back, including interest.
Studies conducted by professors from Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management reveal that angel investors significantly help their funded companies achieve success. Now that is a great motivation to search for your own angel investor!
Loans can come from banks or small business lenders. Traditional banks tend to be more stringent when it comes to giving out loans to startups. They usually require a track or credit record and want the loans secured with assets. If you have the collateral, you can then try taking this route. If not, look for a bank that is more lenient with their requirements.
However, if bank loans aren’t really possible, there are also small business lenders that you can approach. These lenders might also have their own set of requirements. But the good news is there are companies nowadays that specialize in helping small businesses find lenders. They will do the work for you so you will be able to secure a business loan as quick and easy and possible.
Ian Gaffney and Samantha Abrams were able to build their organic cookie business, Emmy’s Organics with the help of a small business loan from Alternatives Federal Credit Union and M&T Bank. Now their business is booming and serves as an inspiration for other small businesses to consider loans from banks and lenders.
Do you have that new project idea for your small business? Don’t let limited capital hinder you from pursuing it. Your own savings or credit, financial help from family and friends, angel investors, and loans from banks and lenders can help you fund your small business. You might do all of these for certain stages of your business. Go for the funding solution that will allow you to focus on your present operations, profitability, and future growth of your business.
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Check out these blogs from our small business series:
- How to Promote Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget
- Infographic: Funding and Promoting Your Business With Limited Budget
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