This is a guest post about getting business funding.
Your small business has been turned down for a bank loan or you’ve been turned down for a personal loan. Perhaps you were looking for a retail location but had trouble finding good mortgage lenders that were willing to work with you as a new business owner.
While you might think this is game over, at least for getting the money you need, you’d be wrong. Several alternative financing options have popped up since the financial crisis and this has given small business owners the flexibility they need to get funding when banks say no.
Option One: Revenue-Based Financing
A popular option for business owners is what is known as revenue-based financing. These loans are based on the cash flows of the business and not the assets or the company or the owner.
Some lenders in this space will focus on credit card receipts while others will look at the net receipts of the company or even offer financing based on the credit rating of a business’ customers. In the case of the latter, this works best when the customer is a large public company with a history of doing business with your company and tends to pay on time.
One reason why some business owners gravitate towards this form of financing is the flexible repayment options as most lenders in this space will take a percentage of daily sales to service the loan.
However, this does come with a catch as the marginal interest rates can compound daily as well. This means that the interest due on the loan can increase, even when there are no sales. As such, you will want to make sure you check the fine print on the loan agreements before signing up.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these loans tend to be short-term and as such should be for short-term needs. But if this sort of line is what you think you need for your business then you might want to research companies to see if their loan programs make sense for you.
Option Two: Credit Cards
A word of warning: this is an extremely tricky strategy and it should only be taken if your future cash flows are stable. If not, then you run the risk of maxing out your personal and business credit limits with little chance of paying down the debt.
That being said, credit cards can be a good source of short-term financing for business owners – especially when they already have room on their credit cards to fund an emergency purchase. Just keep in mind that if you use credit cards to pay for business expenses, then you will want to pay off the entire balance during the billing period.
Another thing to keep in mind is that businesses can be heavy users of credit. As such, it might not be the best idea to use your credit cards for business expenses. While all business owners do this from time-to-time, it is not the best option over the long-term as excess use of your credit cards could have a negative impact on your credit score.
Ironically, this could make it harder for your business to get the financing you will need in the future. As such, get a credit card account set up for your business as soon as possible in order to make sure your company has access to credit when needed.
Option Three: The Power of the Crowd
Besides short-term lenders and credit cards, there is a third option – the power of the crowd. While equity crowdfunding has been around for more than a decade, few small businesses have pursued this option to get the funding they need. When you are in the fundraising stages for startups, it will feel like you have a long slog ahead of you to get you where you want to be. The thing is, there are always ways that you can get funding for your business and as long as you are researching every single option, you will find a way to fund your business and get it moving..
There are several reasons for this. First, most business owners don’t have the time to run an equity crowdfunding campaign. Second, space is competitive, and this can make it difficult to hit fundraising goals. Third, it can take time, with the average crowdfunding campaign taking 3 months from planning to financing.
But this doesn’t mean that crowdfunding isn’t for you. One of the advantages is that it gives you a chance to highlight your product or service to a larger crowd. Besides, conducting a successful crowdfunding round requires an integrated social media presence and this has added benefits for any business.
If you are considering crowdfunding to get the money you need for your business, then start small. Conduct an initial round with a product or service you are about to launch and then once that round is successful use the momentum to perform follow up rounds. This strategy will help you to test out crowdfunding strategies, build relationships, and ultimately get the money you need.