Last Updated on December 28, 2022
Starting and growing a business can be very daunting if you lack the necessary resources. This is especially when it comes to raising money to start a business.
However, with adequate preparation and planning, you can get the funds you need without having to get a loan. Given that new and existing businesses have different financial needs, where they source funds vary greatly.
If you are looking for ways to fund your business, there are two major factors you need to consider: debt and equity. Debt financing involves money you will pay back, while equity financing requires you to give up/sell a portion of your company/business to investors.
Take a closer look at the best ways for funding your business without a loan.
As an entrepreneur, you should have a long-term commitment to your business and be ready to take risks. That can be through putting personal savings into your business or selling your assets.
If you have some money sitting in your account, put it into good use. Using your own money also encourages third parties to finance your business. Selling assets you don’t need is also a great way to generate income for your business. Don’t hold on to assets for prestige when you can sell them to fund your business.
The benefit of investing your savings in your startup or existing business is that you have complete control ‒ you don’t have to give away equity or deal with interest rates. However, you’ll need to have a formal plan on how you will spend your savings. That will ensure that your finances are in good trim.
There are several competitions for small and medium-size business owners. Many corporations organize these competitions to help investors with great ideas. In such a competition, creativity and planning are essential. Winners receive awards, funding, and business guidance.
In most cases, these competitions target early-stage businesses in specific fields. To participate, you need to have a good business plan or create a product. The first thing you will want to do is ask yourself what problem you are trying to solve.
To succeed in the contests, you need to come up with a project that stands out. Usually, judges and investors will critically review your business idea, so it should be impressive enough to attract investors and get the judges to vote for you.
The good thing is that even if you do not win the competition, you may be lucky to get an investor. This is because investors are not always looking for the same thing ‒ your idea might be of interest to them.
After the rise of social media, crowdfunding gained popularity as a source of finance. It involves raising funds from individual investors using internet-based platforms. You can win the crowd’s support either by exchanging equity for investment or giving rewards to investors in exchange for their capital.
However, the amount of money you can raise through this method depends on your campaign’s exposure or people’s generosity. Therefore, to have a successful crowdsourcing campaign, you need to be open-minded and create reasonable monetary goals.
Before you launch your campaign, have a detailed business plan and work on your negotiation skills. You’ll only win people’s trust if you keep them updated about your project and why they should contribute.
Crowdfunding not only helps you raise funds for your projects but also connects you with like-minded people. You can also gauge people’s interest in your product and what is on demand. Hence, you’ll learn new tips to improve your product and your pitch.
Some of the popular crowdsourcing websites include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, DreamFunded, Rockethub, and Onevest.
Selling your products before launching them is another easy way to raise money for your business. That works well when your business is focusing on selling single products.
What you need to understand is that your goods and services must be top-notch before conducting a presale. You wouldn’t want customers demanding their money back or loudly expressing dissatisfaction. Therefore, ensure you fulfill the promises you make to your customers.
Keep in mind that there is a lot of pressure when sourcing funds using this technique, so take time to consider the consequences of having pre-orders.
The good news is that by pre-selling, you don’t produce more than is needed. And it keeps you on your toes as you know that you have a timeline to adhere to, and customers rely on you for the best products.
Family and Friends Lending
Family and friends can lend you affordable and flexible loans for your business. This method is the best when you want things to be ultra-simple. Moreover, lending from family and friends is the most effective way to raise initial capital for a startup.
In most cases, people close to you have a personal interest in seeing you prosper. Therefore, they are likely to trust you with their extra coins as compared to total strangers. But be realistic about how much you need ‒ the amount should be reasonable.
However, you have to gain their trust by having a detailed business plan and expected projections. You’ll also need to put down your agreements in writing for accountability. This way, you will easily avoid misunderstandings over money repayment.
Of course, there are disadvantages of associating your business and family. For instance, a default on paying the loan risks your relationship. so it’s better to consider your options before settling for family funding.
This is one of the best options for many individuals with great business ideas but who lack the necessary funding. First, however, you must find the best investors ‒ those that have an interest in your start-up.
So, what are the benefits of getting funds from private investors?
- Investors don’t demand monthly payments since it’s not a loan.
- You’ll build a strong business network.
- You’ll get business advice from your investors.
But investors also have restrictions.
Let’s face it, there are thousands of entrepreneurs ‒ with great ideas, just like you‒ looking for funding. As a result, these investors have expectations that you will have to meet before they fund your business.
Given that you exchange part of your business ownership with money, you must engage with the right investors.
There are two types of investors: angel investors and venture capitalists.
These are private investors with a high net worth, a background of company success, and necessary resources or business start-ups. What is good about angel investors is that they contribute all the resources you need. You may never look for another investor if you get funding from an angel investor.
Angel investors also have very high expectations of return on investment (ROI). Most of them tend to come in when you are just starting your business. They will want to fully/partially participate and have a say in the company’s day-to-day running.
Unlike angel investors, venture capitalists will help you whenever you are looking for funds to expand your business. Although they can sometimes fund startups, they typically look for established companies with solid management and have the potential of being successful.
As such, if your business has a plan for growth or change and you need money, venture capitalists may be all you need. But, of course, venture capitalists also own shares of your business ‒ just like angel investors.
Invoice factoring is becoming increasingly popular in many countries as an alternative way of funding businesses. It involves selling unpaid invoices to a factoring company.
Not only is it a great way to improve cash flow in your business, but it also helps raise funds for business growth. Therefore, consider invoice factoring when there are a lot of outstanding invoices.
Let’s take a look at how it works.
You present details of your invoices to a factoring company; they review them and determine your eligibility for the factoring facility. After assessing the risks involved, they give you their quote. After an invoice factoring agreement is signed, the company will give you money.
Hire purchase is the financing solution for businesses that want to buy assets without paying the total amount at once. Owning assets through this method improves your business earnings since you can acquire equipment that you could otherwise never buy.
The scheme for hire purchase involves paying an initial deposit then a set amount (installments) over some time. Depending on the terms of the agreement, installments can be monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annually.
However, if you default on payment, the seller can reclaim the assets. This is because ownership of goods is transferred only after the completion of all installments.
Equity financing involves raising funds by giving away ownership of some part of your business(shares) to investors.
Investors can change the outlook of your startup. These stakeholders bring fresh ideas, technical skills, and even networks to the business. As such, you don’t make repayments on investments.
Lastly, you must sell your shares to the right investor. Apart from money, look at what value the investor will bring and work comfortably with them.
Consider this as the last option as you share profits and lose control over the business.
Grants refer to funds you get from governments, foundations, or corporations to boost the growth of your business. Unlike other types of funding, you don’t have to pay back or give away equity.
Each year, there are hundreds if not thousands of grants available for small businesses. However, these grants mainly focus on:
- Minority entrepreneurs
- Development of an industry
- Promoting women-owned business
- Rewarding various innovations
Therefore, do some research to find out which grants are suitable for your business.
How To Apply For A Business Grant
Every business grant has its own acceptance criteria, but grant bodies generally look for small businesses that share their vision and can use the money wisely to further their mission. Here are some top tips to get a grant to open a small business:
- Research the grant body’s objective, and learn what the grant aims to achieve.
- Create an in-depth, complete, and professional business plan to present to the grant body.
- Write your grant application with the objectives in mind, and explain how your business will help the body achieve that goal.
- Apply as early as you can to avoid near-deadline rushes.
- Search for similar grants from other bodies or government organizations.
Example Grants To Open A Small Business
With thousands of grants available, it can be tough to pick which one fits your business the best. Here are some example grants you can look into:
- USDA Rural Business Development Grant: This grant is designed to help rural businesses grow and strengthen their communities. To qualify, you must operate in an eligible rural area and employ under 50 new employees.
- Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME): This SBA-run program provides financial assistance to microenterprise development organizations to help develop microentrepreneurs in their region. You can take advantage of the PRIME grant by participating in microenterprise development activities.
- Economic Development Administration Grants: The Economic Development Administration (EDA) operates offices on the state and regional level to assist small businesses in finding finances. Check with your local EDA office for more information.
Your Job/Side Hustle
Do you currently have an excellent job, one that meets all your expenses and lets you live a good lifestyle? If you haven’t found any investors, don’t be in a hurry to leave your current job. Other than saving, you can also get a lot of experience from your job. For instance, your career can help you build managerial skills that can be very handy in the day-to-day running of your business.
However, you may also fail to devote the much-needed energy and resources to your business. Your day job can also take so much of your time that you miss out on major opportunities for your business.
It’s one thing to develop a great business idea, and it’s another thing to get the funds you need to start and run your business. However, starting and running a successful business is not as challenging as most people think. You only need to know where to find the necessary resources.
Don’t just dream about success; make it happen! The methods mentioned above of funding your new or existing business will go a long way in helping you grow financially.
Jim is the General Manager of altLINE by The Southern Bank. altLINE partners with lenders nationwide to provide invoice factoring and accounts receivable financing to their small and medium-sized business customers. altLINE is a direct bank lender and a division of The Southern Bank Company, a community bank originally founded in 1936.