Ideas often come easily to the entrepreneur. Even with great ideas, securing funding for a new venture can be the toughest part of the entrepreneurial process. Depending on the type of venture, funding can be even more complicated. While many folks lean towards “bootstrapping” a.k.a. self-funding, some ideas take a bit more capital than an entrepreneur might have in their own bank account. Others pursue the help of angel investors or launch crowdfunding campaigns. These methods might be trendy options, but it’s not time, just yet, to dismiss some of the more traditional types of funding like good old fashion bank loans and lines of credit. These options are often referred to as debt options. Even these seemingly traditional debt options have experienced some revamps over the past decade. Let’s explore the highlights of each:
While banks are the obvious place to start, you can get loans from multiple other sources like:
- Angel Investors- locally, specific to a business industry, and/or national groups.
- Family and Friend loans- just ask the people who believe in you the most, but PAY THEM BACK.
- Person-to-person (P2P) on sites like Lending Club (it’s like a combination between crowdfunding and a bank loan).
- Non-Financial Institution lenders for cash flow lending like Northwestern Mutual and Prudential
- Personal Guarantees with the Entrepreneurs personal property as collateral.
- Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)- groups with specific affinity business groups in mind (examples: Farmers, Women-owned businesses, etc.) that might not be backed by traditional banks.
- Community Banks– smaller independent banks that understand community need and investment more than maybe a large national bank would.
Lines of Credit:
- Work much like opening a credit card, but through a lender. There is a maximum amount the entrepreneur can charge.
- Or, open a business credit card– it is a credit line.
- Unlike a lump sum loan, businesses use the money only as it is needed and only make payments on money spent.
- Lines of credit are particularly helpful if you have some cash flow slow downs because of a seasonal business or because you are just establishing the right payment schedule between you, your customers, and your suppliers.
- Some suppliers work out lines of credit with the businesses that buy from them, this is industry specific, but it’s worth asking for a line of credit from a supplier.
- Founded in 1953, the Small Business Administration has loaned funds to over 20 million businesses (Rogers 2014).
- Perks of their loans include longer pay back periods, most around 10 years and some up to 25 years.
- The SBA does not loan directly to businesses, rather they use approved banks and financial institutions.
- Only 1/3 of these loans go to new businesses each year in favor of established businesses.
- Non-profits, financial institutions, gambling, life insurance, and non-US citizen owned companies are all ineligible for SBA funds.
- The SBA offers a wide variety of loan products like Express loans, Micro Loans, and Real Estate & Equipment loans. Contact an SBA certified lender for a full list of options.
- In addition to funding, the SBA offers programs and classes through their development and learning center.
- SBA lenders can be found through sba.gov or 1-800-827-5722
Crowdfunding might be trendy, but remember, entrepreneurs can’t afford to just try one way. I hope this article has convinced you that loans, lines, of credit, and SBA funding has evolved and all three might be a viable option for your business depending on the needs of your entrepreneurial pursuit.
Hecht, J. (2016) 5 Best and Fast Small-Business Loans (Some of Which You’ve Never Heard of). Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/314882
Hecht, J. (2017) Lines of Credit: Online Lenders vs. Traditional Banks. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/271273
Rogers, S. (2014). Entrepreneurial Finance: Third Edition, Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur. 161-195.
Slotnick, D. (2018) The 8 best small business credit cards to open in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/best-small-business-credit-card
Loans Definition – Entrepreneur Small Business Encyclopedia https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/loans
Additional links to businesses and financial institutions can be found throughout the article.
There’s an urban legend about a guy who posted a crowdfunding cause to “help him make the best damn potato salad,” and the legend is, he made a couple of thousand dollars doing it.
I did some digging on the world wide web and was able to verify that this did occur in 2014 on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The guy made Zack Danger Brown didn’t just make a couple thousand, he made $55,000 just posting a prank. With the money, he threw a huge party called Potato Stock.
Imagine what you can do as an entrepreneur or philanthropist who has a real cause or really great idea for a product or business. If you aren’t sure what type of crowdfunding site is right for you, I found two great articles that might help you weigh your options.
In doing this research, I came across a lending site that I had never heard of called Lending Club. In short, they link individuals and small business owners to investors through their platform. I’m going to be researching this one more in-depth as part of my ENT 650 coursework.
Rogers, S. (2014). Entrepreneurial Finance: Third Edition, Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur. 279-294.
“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” – Bob Hope via goodfinancetips.com
This week we are choosing topics to research that pertain to raising funds for entrepreneurial pursuits. We’ll be publishing an article in a few weeks about the topic we research, and I chose a pretty traditional form of funding to explore. My topic is “Loans & Lines of Credit (to include SBA guarantees)”.
So far, I’ve learned the Bob Hope comment about banks loaning money only to people who prove they don’t need it is entirely true. Most banks are pretty risk-averse. This explains the popularity of other non-traditional forms of funding for modern entrepreneurs; options like:
- Angel Investors
- & Business Incubators
For entrepreneurs who have collateral to offer and/or extremely great credit, traditional loans and lines of credit can still be a good option but are usually not the only option to pursue. As I conduct more research, I’ll post the whole article on my blog to share.
In the meantime, I’d like to share a couple of thought-provoking pieces about funding.
The first is a quick bit of advice posted on Entrepreneur.com from Amy Williams, CEO at Citizens of Humanity on choosing investors wisely: https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/310046
The second is an interesting article about the story you tell when pitching a start-up to investors. It’s an HBR piece called Startups That Seek to “Disrupt” Get More Funding Than Those That Seek to “Build” by Dana Kanze and Sheena S. Iyengar.
I hope this gives you some food for thought until my next post.
“Dogs have no money. Isn’t that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? …No Pockets.” – Jerry Seinfeld
I started a new class last week in my Masters in Entrepreneurship program at Western Carolina University. It’s a class that I was dreading a little bit. This one when I registered for it was called Advanced Entrepreneurial Finance. Now don’t get me wrong, I manage some pretty large accounts as part of my day job, and I’m the chief financial officer at home, but the thing that was psyching me out is, in my undergraduate work I took a class called “Math for Non-Math Majors.” A class with the word advanced in front of the word finance was daunting to me. Well, I’ve had a week to meditate on the syllabus, and I’m happy to report, I think I’ll be just fine. The syllabus calls this class “Entrepreneurial Funding” which seems less scary and there really isn’t anything too hard about the concept of money in and money out. The advanced concepts, as they relate to entrepreneurship seem really helpful and exciting. I’ll get to learn more about topics like:
- Updating a Chart of Accounts
- Managing Cash Flow
- Crowd Funding Strategies
- Valuing a Company
- Funding Sources
- & Harvesting-The End Game
To help inspire me, I’ve been googling entrepreneurial financial wisdom. Blogger Choncé Maddox came up with a great list of 5 Inspirational Money Quotes from Entrepreneurs on her blog Due.
So, I’m not nervous about the class anymore. All of these things make perfect conceptual sense, and as I learn more, I’m sure I’ll be even more jazzed about the prospect of helping my husband grow his business through what I learn. After all, I have two things going for me:
- I LOVE money.
- AND…unlike dogs, I have pockets.