This Small Business Start Up Funding Encyclopedia is a quick, yet comprehensive reference guide, provided to help budding entrepreneurs find sources of start up funding for a new business. While many other financing options exist (such as invoice factoring and supplier financing), only those sources related to starting a new business are outlined here.
Traditional Sources of Small Business Start Up Funding
Unsecured Personal Loans
You can usually apply for an unsecured personal loan up to $ 100,000 from a bank, if you have an excellent credit history, low debt ratio and steady source of sufficient income. Another option may be to borrow from family members or close friends.
Private Equity Investors / Angel Investors
Private investor financing may be an option for you, if you are willing to give away equity ownership in your company in exchange for start up money. Essentially, a private equity investors owns a piece of your business.
Commercial banks offer start up loans which are usually secured on the owner's personal property or assets. Another option is an SBA loan. The US Small Business Administration offers several small business loan funding programs, which include the 7 (a) Loan, the Microloan and the SBA Express. Keep in mind that the SBA is not the direct lender, but operates as a loan guarantor. Excellent credit and a viable business plan are required for serious consideration.
The US government offers grant funding to select businesses, primarily engaged in education, health and human services, technology, or research and development. Please be advised that government grants are usually not a viable option for most start up businesses. A select number of private sector grants are also made available, from foundations, non-profit and for profit organizations. One source is Business Owner's Idea Café .
Typically, a group of seasoned investors that pool their resources into a managed fund. Venture capital is rarely offered below one million dollars, and usually only goes to start ups expected to yield a very high return on investment.
Non-Traditional Sources of Small Business Start Up Funding
Credit card financing is one of the most expensive forms of start up funding. If your business plans involve start up with the use of credit cards, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Home Equity Lines of Credit
Home equity lines are one of the more affordable means of getting your start up funded. It involves borrowing against the equity value in your home. A home equity line should only be considered, if you have an airtight business plan. Failure to repay will put your home at risk.
If your new business requires the use of equipment or heavy machinery to operate, equipment leasing may be a perfect option for you. Leasing reduces the amount of start up cash you would otherwise have to raise.
Merchant Account Financing
This form of financing involves the selling of your future credit card sales to a finance company, in exchange for an immediate cash advance. My advice is to avoid this type of financing altogether.
Social Lending Websites
Peer-to-peer lending groups, like Prosper and Lending Club, match private lenders with credit worthy borrowers in an online setting. Loan terms and interest rates tend to be more favorable than traditional banks.
Start Up Contests
Start up funding contents may be an option for you if you are willing to do the online research it requires. Several private companies offer annual contracts which award cash and various business start up services. One such contest is the "Elevator Pitch Contest", sponsored by Start Up Nation.
Bootrapping is the art of building your business from the ground up, without the use of debt financing. This form of start up funding is embroidered by entrepreneurs desiring to minimize their risk. Bootstrapped businesses also enjoy higher long term profitability, than their debt funded counterparts.
Start Your Small Business TODAY!
I hope you have found this reference guide useful, in learning more about the small business start up funding options available to you. Did you know that you can start a small business, even if you have little money, poor credit, or do not own a home? Find free sources of business start up funding, and jumpstart your dreams of owning your own business – without BIG bank loans.
Learn more by requesting your free copy of "The Bootstrap Business Start Up Planner", by visiting my website.
© 2009 Kimberly Kelly – All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Permission to reprint this article is granted strictly on the condition that it will be reprinted in its entity, with all live links and author bio in tact.
All over the world, people are breaking free from the traditional employment model and choosing to achieve business success as entrepreneurs. Will you be the next?
Let's start by covering 12 of the most commonly-mentioned benefits of being an entrepreneur to inspire you on your journey:
1. You can choose your own schedule.
2. You are free to travel.
3. You can take sick days or vacation days whenever you need them.
4. If there are necessary tasks you do not enjoy or have time for, you can outsource them.
5. You can select your own employees.
6. Learning to be a better boss also teaches you to be a better employee.
7. Your innovative ideas have a chance to shine unfettered.
8. You do not have to wear a uniform or follow a company dress code.
9. You enjoy better job security than most people.
10. Entrepreneurship teaches you the benefits of hard work.
11. You can always feed your curiosity by learning more about every aspect of your business.
12. Your ambition can always drive you to greater heights and business success.
As you can see, entrepreneurship is becoming popular because it comes with a whole new lifestyle for those who are willing to seize it.
Of course, entrepreneurship is not all sunshine and freedom. According to the United States Small Business Association, a third of small businesses fail within the first two years, and more than half fail within the first five years.
Not surprisingly, the challenges of entrepreneurship represent the flipside of the advantages we discussed above:
1. Choosing your own schedule can result in wasted time without the proper time-management skills.
2. Even while traveling, it may be necessary to handle work-related crises, because you are basically always "on call."
3. There are no paid sick days or vacation days, so you must decide how much each day off is worth to you.
4. You are responsible for completing any tasks you can not afford to outsource.
5. Hiring employees means you must learn how to conduct interviews, upholders workers' legal rights, and coordinate payroll.
6. If you do not yet have the leadership capabilities to direct others, you will be taking a crash course once you hire freelancers or employees.
7. You must narrow all of your innovative ideas down to the ones that have the most potential to help you achieve business success.
8. If you do not maintain a professional appearance in person and online, it is sure to reflect poorly on your company.
9. You are responsible for funding your business, even if you're operating at a loss.
10. Only results are profitable, not time clocked, so it's possible you will work hard and still end up disappointed.
11. You must be familiar with each aspect of how your business operates, including those which may not interest you, to ensure everything is running smoothly.
12. Only you can motivate yourself to achieve business success.
To sum it up, let's say that with freedom comes responsibility. If you can not handle one, you are not yet ready for the other.
Of course, I do not believe people should give up on their dreams. Just be sure to arm yourself with knowledge and understand what you are getting yourself into.
It's always hard to get investment for your start-up but in an economic downturn it's even harder. However, if you can develop a business that is successful during a recession the chances are that it will be even more successful during an economic up turn. Here are some straight talk tips that will point you in the right direction.
1) Traction is the key to getting investment. In a recession, start-ups must be further up the traction ladder. This means that you will have to bootstrap and self fund until you at least start making sales and even better generating profit.
2) Investment is to help you scale and not to help you start up . Particularly in difficult economic times, investment will only go to businesses that can use it to scale.
3) You should not contact potential investors directly. This certainly applies to VCs. If you contact them directly or send in a business plan you are wasting your time. They rely on recommendations from advocates, CPAs and trusted advisers. You have to go through these to get to the VC. Also, you will probably come into contact with a Business Angel through someone in your network.
So the question is, how do you get recommended to potential investors? The answer is very simple. Be excellent at what you do. Forget spending your time on exemplary activities and focus on developing the fundamentals of your business. Focus on the money engine. While seeking investment, the old adage is true – "if you build it they will come" but only if it's really good and can give great ROI. Send press releases and build a "published press release portfolio". This will help you get on investors' radar.
4) Spend your time building a business and not writing a 50+ page business plan for investors. You must have your own internal strategic roadmap but the mistake many entrepreneurs make is to write a complicated thesis style business plan for investors. This will actually discourage potential investors from reading your plan. Instead provide investors with a 10-15 slide deck in the form of a print out or PDF. Again be aware that your Traction slide is by far the most important.
Over the weekend, a friend of mine asked for some advice about starting a business, so I thought that would be a good topic. A common misconception for starting a business is the idea that we have to get all our "government" paperwork in order. I am here to tell you, that is NOT the case. As much as I believe you should follow the rules (most of the time), in this case that is not your first step.
So what are the 5 Steps to getting started?
1. Research, Research, Research. You can not even begin without research. Once you configure your business idea, you need to know the following things:
Is there a market for your product or services? – An easy way to determine this is to see if you have competitors. Browse the yellow pages, local Chamber of Commerce, or just Google. If there are other companies selling similar stuff, most likely there is a market. Now, you have what you need to get started on the competitive analysis (see below).
What requirements are there to opening this type of business. Is it licensed by the state? Does it require an occupational license, home license, insurance? What are the standard items businesses in your industry have to have to operate. Do you have to have an office, or can you work from your home?
2. Understand Your Competition: Use the information you gathered in step 1 to start your competitive analysis. You will need to know how many competitors you have, what they are selling, what they charge, possibly their clients (may list some on website), and the unique selling position of each competitor.
3. Determine if you can fit the market: Is the market already planned with too much competition? Are the prices too low? Could you establish a unique selling position for your company (why would someone buy from your versus your competition)? I would recommend to call your competitors and do a little recon. Do not worry, it is OK to call to get price information, but you do have to prepare to be a customer. You could also have a friend do it, that may need the product / service if you are uncomfortable. Is there something you could do better? Provide less expensive or more value?
4. Product and Prices: Once you have determined you have a good product or service idea with a receptive market, you need to design your offerings. What will your product / services look like? What will the include? What will the price points be?
5. Marketing: Now that you know what you are selling, who are you selling to? Describe your perfect / ideal customer. Next, you will have to identify how to find the customer, which means marketing and advertising. Will you advertise on TV, radio, magazines? Send direct mail? Network to get the word out? How will you let your potential customers know you are ready to meet their needs? The best business ideas will always fail if no one knows about them. My advice, start with Direct Mail – it is the cheapest and has better returns than the others. You could send as few as 10 mailers per week, for as little as $ 4.20.
Bonus: Part of preparing yourself for business is having financials to project where you are at and where you are going. I know, financials are hard, boring and tedious, but would not it be good to know if what you are selling, at the price level you determined will make money? What if you get into business and you price points are too, and you can not pay your bills? How long will it take for you to become positive? It is MUCH, MUCH better to figure out pricing and financial issues before you get started. Financials also allow you to know how much money you will need to get started. So, as easy as it may be to skip this step, do not!
Now that you have the basic tools to get started on your business, you can also write a business plan. Yes, it can be that easy. If you have questions, please send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org , I would be more than happy to help get you started.
Every business should have a defense plan that should be an adjunct to or aspect of its business plan. There are five key areas that should be covered in such a plan: refund, recovery, retention, privacy, and protection.
Businesses inadvertently overpay on expenses regularly. A refund plan provides for regular audits of taxes and other expenses to ensure that reimbursements of those overpayments are processed timely. Ten million pages of tax code might mean that you're missing out on some valuable allowances, especially if you and your accountant are at loggerheads or, yet yet, each assume the other is asking the right questions to maximize those legal write-offs. The big corporations that bill you for your regular expenses have systems almost as complicated as that used by the IRS, and it's run by minimum-wage workers that really do not care how much their mistakes may be costing you.
Additionally, savings recovery can be maximized through careful analysis, cost comparisons, and, if you're savvy enough, group negotiations through a buying group.
Retention of employees is vital to keeping costs down. Affordable medical coverage often is best strategy for retaining key employees. If insurance is too expensive to provide, or you can not give the full coverage that attracts the best workers, a discount medical plan may be an excellent alternative or supplement to your present benefits, or lack thereof. The costs of keeping an employee is usually less then the cost of finding and training a new one.
Privacy is important to protect, for business owners, employees, and clients. A successful business owner may be more of a target. Also, sensitive client information must be safeguarded to improve relationships and preserve reputation, and employees must be trained on how to do so.
Protection of business and personal assets goes hand-in-hand with these other areas. Once we have your business running as efficiently as possible, the personal assets of officers or owners should be protected from identity theft and frivolous litigation.
By admin on September 20th, 2017 in Bootstrap
Do you have an idea for a web app, but don’t have the programming knowledge or the budget to hire a developer? In this article, we’ll discuss the main tools you’ll need to build the first version of your app. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to learn the basics.
To start with, you need an application stack. What’s that? It’s the main software that will power your app. Most people use the LAMP stack. This stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL,and PHP.
Linux is the operating system and Apache is the web server. You don’t have to know much about these to build a basic web app. Just know that you’ll need them.
MySQL is the Database Management System (DMS). This is where you’ll store your user’s data. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this is. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to learn the basics of MySQL – at least how to create a database and user.
PHP is the server-side programming language. You use this to create the business logic for your app. You don’t have to be a programming expert, but you do need to know the basics. You don’t have to program everything from scratch though. Instead, make use of a PHP application framework, such as CodeIgniter. This lets you concentrate on creating the specific code for your app, instead of the low-level code that’s included in every web app.
LAMP is your basic application stack, but you also need to know some other technologies. One is HTML5/CSS3. These let you create your user interface. Again, you don’t have to be an expert to start building your web app. You just need to know the basics.
But you don’t want to create your user interface from scratch. There is no reason to do that. You should use a front-end framework, such as Bootstrap. This is a library of user interface elements, such as forms, tables, alerts, and more. You can use this framework to make your app look professional.
These will make your app look more like a desktop app, which people expect these days. Again, it’s not necessary, but you can learn the basics of these technologies to really take your app to the next level.
No doubt this sounds like a lot of work. But you don’t have to become an expert in all these technologies to create your first web app. Just spend a couple days on each technology, and then start creating your app. If you need to learn something else, you can pick it up as you go.
By admin on September 20th, 2017 in Bootstrap
If you are like most folks you know that investing is a great way to build wealth. However most assume it takes being rich to get richer. But there is another way. It's what bootstrap entrepreneurs with no start-up capital do to get ahead.
Sweat Equity and Perspiration Profit
Have you ever heard about sweat equity? Sweat equity is the contribution we make to a project through our own effort, as opposed to buying a share with our money. Sweat equity could also be the value we add to our property but we are not talking about this kind of sweat equity. I will bet you have lots of that kind of sweat equity, but the problem is it will not pay you dividends until you sell your home. Sweat equity investments can not only be lucrative but can come with much higher returns than capital investments. However there is a catch, you only have so much time in a day. This is why it is so important to focus your sweat on things that will not only make you income now but continue to make you more in the future.
Sweat Equity is Effort that Adds to or Produces an Asset
Most people think that an asset is only purchased. But that is not the case. Here is a list of cash producing assets that can be built with sweat equity.
All of these things can be built with sweat equity and can continue to pay you long after you do the work.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, they say. I used to believe that when I was working for someone else. That was the second dumbest thing I ever did. The dumbest was applying for the job in the first place. Once I had access to the financials of the company I worked for, I discovered that smart people get richer. Others are grateful for a pay rise to cover inflation.
It is Time to Have a Plan B
Employers have gone away from the idea that an employee is a long-term asset to the company, someone to be nurtured and developed, to a new notice that they are disposable. Before the boss rejects you, you need to find a way out of the relationship.
Do not kid yourself into thinking the boss loves you to bits for what you do, or that the company plans to keep you in comfort forever. That only happens to horses nowdays that cave of their best. You are where you are because you are a moneymaking machine. The only problem is you are not making money for you.
Building a Network and Customer Base
We are not the best selling authors, musicians, inventors of products or educational thought leaders. All of these ways to use sweat to build equity requires a talent. We however do not require any special talents because all you need to do to start investing with your effort to build equity is to build a network.
Anyone can build a network.
In fact everyone already has a network. They just do not have a vehicle to turn that network into a cash producing asset. If you want to learn how normal people just like you are leveraging the power of networks to have more time, earn passive income and make their own schedule.
One of the key principals of bootstrap financing is reducing your start up costs and ongoing operating expenses. You can tackle this task, utilizing a number of strategies and cost-cutting techniques. Today, let's discuss finding cheap office space for your start up business, as a means of lowering your costs.
Hear Rebekah's Story …
Rebekah is a graphic designer and professional website developer. After graduating from design school, she dropped out an old crumpled up business card that had been washed in the pocket of her favorite blue jeans. The contact information on the card was faded, but she was able to make out enough of the information to give me a call. She sat in on one of my talks to her graduating class and stuck my card in her pocket for safe-keeping.
Rebekah was about to start her own design business and wanted to meet for a consultation. With the debt load from her student loans, she did not have much money. She was desperate to branch out on her own and knew she needed bootstrap financing for her new business. As a designer, her start up costs were relatively low, as compared to some businesses. The problem for Rebekah was that she did not have very much money at all. She did not own a home – or even her own apartment. As she shared an apartment with a former classmate (and her loud barking big dog), Rebekah unfortunately needed to find cheap office space.
So how did we solve Rebekah's dilemma? I happened to have a very large plumbing company as a client at the time. The company was hit quite hard by the recession and had to downsize it's operations to survive. As a result, the walls of their 10,000 square foot, plush facilities were echoing from the absence of bodies to fill the, once occupied, cubicles of their massive call center. I had advised them only two months prior to change their hugely expensive, yet ancient phone book display advertising tactics, in favor of a more cost effective, web based approach.
The end result? Rebekah moved into a beautiful new office, with all utilities and internet service included for FREE. Yes, you heard right – absolutely free. The payoff was a complete website redesign with hosting and webmastering. Rebekah would also take over the design of all the plumbing company's marketing materials and sales literature.
Find Cheap Office Space for Your Business
You too can find affordable office space for your small business. Consider the following options:
Discover how you can start your business TODAY – even if you have very little money, poor credit or do not own a home. Learn the key principals of bootstrap financing! For more information, check out the Start-Up Business Survival Guide .
© Kimberly Kelly 2009 – All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Permission is granted to reprint this article on the condition that it may only be reprinted in its entity with all live links and author bio in tact.
Attention! Are you ready to enroll in Bootstrap Financing Boot Camp? TODAY'S MISSION: Business Start Up Funding Tactical Maneuvers. Start Up Soldier, I'm going to be giving you a crash course in how you can start a small business, without BIG bank loans. Before you can get started, you must first pass through 3 check point pre-screenings.
Check Point 1: Do You Have What it Takes?
Are you willing to travel through rough and tough terrain, without going AWOL? Do you understand the risks involved with starting up a new business? Think carefully cadet – and remember, nothing worthwhile is ever going to be easy.
Check Point 2: Are You Willing to Do Whatever it Takes?
Are you ready for hand-to-hand combat with your bank book? You must be willing to make personal sacrifices to get the job done? Essentially, living with less to gain more. Will you do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be? Will you show no mercy and cut back on frivolous expenditures, like satellite TV?
Check Point 3: Do You Know How to Take …?
… Orders that is soldier! Can you take orders? Not for fries and a shake, but direction from others. Are you willing to learn something new, or to try unfamiliar ways of doing something quite ordinary? If you are not teachable, then bootstrap financing is not for you. You see, it goes against the grain – the established ways of doing things. Most "experts" will tell you that the only way to start a business, is if you have access to some major cash of your own; or if you're willing to borrow from banks or investors willing to front you the business start up funding you need.
Congratulations – You've Just Earned Your Stripes!
You've made it. You are no longer a cadet, but a full fledged Start Up Soldier – and you have the battle scars to prove it. Now, onto the crash course in bootstrapping.
Lesson 1: Start With a Highly Profitable Idea, Product or Service
This step is absolutely key to your success. If you were to tell me you'd like to start a café or restaurant business, I'd do my best to talk you out of it. If you were one of my soldiers, I'd order you to rethink your decision. It is next to impossible to bootstrap a restaurant or retail food business with very little money. However, if food was your passion, I would present you with some case studies of how others have bootstrapped and acquired the start up funding needed to grow successful food businesses. Some suggestions? How about a Personal Chef Service, or perhaps you could start up a company baking delicious energy bars and organic snacks, like the owner of Clif Bar & Company.
A Case Study
That's exactly what Gary Erickson (owner and founder of Clif Bar & Company) did. He began trying out energy bar recipes in his mother's kitchen. This is a definite bootstrap financing success story. In 1990, Gary lived in a garage with his dog. Two years later, he launched what would become one of the most successful natural and organic privately held snack food companies, with sales topping $ 150 million. The future for Clif Bar remains bright. Especially since they have me as one of their loyal customers. I'm munching on one right now, as I peck away on my computer. I would say my family goes through a case of the organic Z Bars in a week! :-)
Lesson 2: Plan a Bootstrap Business Start Up Funding Strategy
This requires that you first have a streamlined personal budget in place. Once you have accomplished that goal, the next step is to create a bootstrap financing plan for your business. This will involve making a complete list of your start up and operating costs, and employing varied bootstrap finance tactical maneuvers to reduce and / or eliminate many of these costs.
Lesson 3: Learn the Art of Bootstrapping
Bootstrapping is not just self financing. It is the art of acquiring business start up funding sources that do not put you into long term, or high interest rate debt.
Did you know that you can find free sources of start up funding? Turn your dreams into a success story. Get on the road to success by starting your business TODAY – even if you have little money, poor credit, or do not own a home.
To learn more, request your free copy of "The Bootstrapper's Business Start-Up Planner", by visiting my website.
© 2009 Kimberly Kelly – All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Permission to reprint this article is granted strictly on the condition that it will be reprinted in its entity, with all live links and author bio in tact.
Searching for information on bad credit business loans? Have you considered bootstrap financing? Millions of would be entrepreneurs just like you, are frustrated because they just can not seem to qualify for traditional bank loan financing.
My Personal Journey
Here's why you should avoid bad credit business loans at all cost … About 4 years years ago, my husband and I sold off all of our assets in Ireland and moved to Georgia to escape debt. Our company was sold off, as well as our big "American style" home and most of our assets. (We were masters at living way beyond our means.) Although we netted a nice profit, we were living in a credit nightmare. Since our business was seasonal (we sold educational supplies to the schools, universities, etc.), our operating costs were fairly high. Cash flow was a real concern. For almost 7 months of the year, our small company survived on a business line of credit – essentially a BIG bank loan. Believe me when I tell you that we had many sleepless nights and an awful lot of stress.
After selling off everything, we moved to America and started all over again. Since neither my husband nor I had any established credit, we did not have access to traditional bank loan financing when we started our business in Georgia. After contacting a start-up consultant, it was suggested that we apply for "bad credit " business loans as a means of funding our new business.
This was just not a viable option for us. We decided to strictly sole upon bootstrap financing to get our business up and running. It was then that I embarked on a journey to learn all that I could about starting a business without bank loans. My quest for information and creative solutions is what spurred me to become a Certified Start-up Business Consultant who specializes in cost reduction strategies for new start up businesses. I now run three profitable businesses – without owed any money to lenders. It's a great feeling.
Do not Be Tempted To Dig a Deeper Bad Credit Black Hole!
Do not let anyone tell you that the only way that you can fund your start-up is to rely on bad credit business loans – even though you may have less than perfect credit or do not own a home. If you are overextended, with a mountain of debts you just can not seem to tunnel your way through, there is still hope. You can achieve your dreams of business ownership without borrowing money. I have personally seen this dream come true for many of my clients.
The Secret is Bootstrapping
You just need the know-how. The secret ingredient for learning how to start a new business without bank loans is to bootstrap. Before you can get started with bootstrap financing, you may need to make some lifestyle changes. Honestly assess where you are right now financially, and how you got there. This is the first step to getting out.