Small business financing can be difficult to obtain, and at some point it may even seem like you’ve run out of options, but there are many different ways to get funding, a lot of which you may not even know. If you think you’ve exhausted all your options, comb over this list and dive deeper into the areas you haven’t tried, (or reexamine the ones you have but were unsuccessful at). Access to Capital offers not only funding education, but tips on how you can stop getting turned down for loans, so make sure you research every option before calling it quits.
For in-depth resources, tips and education, visit our lending pages:
Made popular by sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, crowdfunding is the process of requesting funds or small investments from relatives, friends, or strangers to help fund your business. Learn all about crowdfunding, whether it’s right for your business, and how to get started, in our crowdfunding guide.
“Microfinance is the provision of financial services to low-income people.” Business owners that can show that they are financially disadvantaged can use microfinancing to gain funding when they cannot get it from a traditional bank. Learn more about CDFI’s, which offer microloans to struggling businesses, in the video below.
You can find a CDFI in your area by:
- Visiting the U.S. Department of Treasury’s searchable award database, or
- Using the Opportunity Finance Network’s CDFI Locator
Peer-to-Peer lending (P2P)
P2P lending allows a business owner to borrow and lend money with their peers in the business space. P2P lending is a method of debt financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend money – without the use of an official financial institution as an intermediary. Peer-to-peer lending removes the middleman from the process, but it also involves more time, effort and risk than the general brick-and-mortar lending scenarios.
Business Credit Cards
Business credit cards can aid in keeping businesses expenses on track and help in obtaining the purchasing power needed to run a business. Often times business credit cards will provide rewards for business purchases such as airline miles or cash back.
Merchant Cash Advance:
With a Merchant Cash Advance (MCA), your business sells a portion of its future credit card sales to an MCA provider in exchange for a lump sum of working capital. Your business directs its credit card processor to automatically forward a fixed percentage of its credit card receipts directly to the provider as they are settled.
Learn more about the pros and cons of an MCA in the video below, or on our alternative lending page.
Venture capital is money provided by investors to startup firms and small businesses with perceived long-term growth potential. This is a very important source of funding for startups that do not have access to capital markets. It typically entails high risk for the investor, but it has the potential for above-average returns. This form of raising capital is popular among new companies or ventures with limited operating history, which cannot raise funds by issuing debt.
An Angel investor is anyone who invests their money in an entrepreneurial company. The capital they provide can be a one-time injection of seed money or ongoing support to carry the company through difficult times. Angel Investors are focused on helping the business succeed, rather than reaping a huge profit from their investment. -Sources Entrepreneur.com and Investopedia.com
Business incubation programs are designed to support the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through a variety of business support resources and services. Check out Entrepreneur.com’s overview of incubation programs for the quick facts, or find a program near you: The International Business Innovation Association (INBIA) is “the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship.” Their site may be able to help you find an incubator that’s right for your startup.
Business Plan Competitions:
Business plan competitions are an alternative source of financing that can be relatively low risk. They typically do not require you to show your credit score or put up collateral.
Trying to find a competition near you or read more details? Luckily there’s a site dedicated to tracking these competitions and making them easily searchable!
SBA 7(a) loans:
The SBA guarantees loans to help small businesses unable to get traditional loans through banks.
The 7(a) Loan Program is the SBA’s primary program for helping startups and existing small businesses, with financing guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes. SBA does not make loans itself, but rather guarantees loans made by participating lending institutions. Visit our SBA Loans resource page to learn more.
Small Business Lending Fund:
The Small Business Lending Fund is a $30 billion fund that encourages lending to small businesses by providing Tier 1 capital to qualified community banks with assets of less than $10 billion. Through the Small Business Lending Fund, Main Street banks and small businesses can work together to help create jobs and promote economic growth in local communities across the nation. -Source Treasury.gov
Check out this map from Treasury.gov which highlights participating institutions.
Equity Financing is the act of raising money for company activities by selling common or preferred stock to individual or institutional investors. In return for the money paid, shareholders receive ownership interests in the corporation.
Equity Crowdfunding is a hybrid form of funding that combines equity financing with crowdfunding. It’s a relatively new form of funding that was just opened to the public in May of 2016. Now, instead of just accredited investors being able to provide funds, anyone can fund a business in exchange for equity in the company. Learn more about equity crowdfunding.
Mortgages are used by individuals and businesses to make large purchases of real estate without paying the entire value of the purchase up front, and the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments. -Source Investopedia.com
If you have built up a 401(k), you can consider using your retirement account from previous jobs to fund your new business.
Stretching all of your resources as far as they can go can be an effective way to increase cash flow.
Bootstrapping is the ability to stretch resources–both financial and otherwise–as far as they can go. Bootstrapping is one of most effective and inexpensive ways to ensure a business’ positive cash flow. It means less money has to be borrowed and interest costs are reduced.
Personal Credit Cards:
A personal credit card issued by a financial company that gives you the option to borrow funds, usually at point of sale, could help fund minor purchases for your business. Because of the interest rates on credit cards, they are primarily used for short-term financing.