Financing for newer and small businesses is always tight. Yet, without an industry track record to lean on and with limited assets, you’re also one of the least attractive entities to loan to in traditional financial markets. Here’s a few ideas for stretching your finances in the small business arena.
Great if you can swing it, and an essential part of the finances for any small business. If even you haven’t invested in your business, don’t expect others to flock to the table either. The amount of your own assets you’ve leveraged towards your business demonstrates your faith in the idea and your long-term potential.
However, it’s important to realize that nothing’s guaranteed in business, either. Even if you have a great idea, marketplace whims and timing count too. So never put yourself in danger of losing everything by over-using collateral on your assets. Make smart decisions from the start, or you’re not right to run a business anyway!
Patient capital is capital from sources who are willing to wait for the business to succeed to recoup their loan. Sometimes called ‘love money’, it’s typically from people in your social circle, like a spouse, parent, family member, or friend. While it will be easier to ask for leniency on this type of capital, be aware it has the potential to go horribly wrong if you’re irresponsible- or they’re demanding. It’s unlikely you know a lot of people rolling in dough, they may want equity in return, and entering a business relationship with those you love can be difficult to navigate.
Angel investors have done their own time in the business world, been successful, and now are willing to loan funds and knowledge to worthy startups. They finance early-stage businesses with smaller investments, but will keep some oversight to see that the company is running well.
People willing to loan nearly-free money and expertise don’t advertise widely, for obvious reasons. You will typically contact them through umbrella organizations, and need to put a lot of work into the pitch.
Preventing Cashflow Hitches
Sometimes it’s not so much about the capital you have, but how it’s being used. If your small business is already well-funded, but you’re struggling to stay liquid, then you might want to leverage your existing assets more efficiently. While they work more like credit than capital, using low-cost solutions like purchase order financing to help you bridge the gap between orders coming in and being paid could help you make the most of what you have.
Business incubators typically work in the high-tech sectors, or provide local economic growth in return for job creation or revitalization of your area. They usually offer admin, logistics, and technical resources, as well as space on a business premises, and their support can last for up to 2 years. While it may not be capital, it can be incredibly powerful support for your future chances.
Grants and Subsidies
Some governmental programs offer subsidies or grants for business in specific arenas. They’re typically very strict, and you will need to work carefully on providing all asked-for pitches, promotions, and business plans, but can be worthwhile for the right business.
As they say, there’s no free dinner- but leveraging your finance options sensibly can be the difference between helping your small business grow, or running out of capital before you establish yourself.