Top 7 Ways to Raise Small Business Startup Financing

By Robert Moment

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Starting your own business takes cash. Sometimes, it takes lots and lots of cash. For many would be business owners this need for startup money feels like an insurmountable hurdle. The good news is that there’s no reason to let the need for cash derail your business before it gets started. These 7 tips and resources are here to get you started.

  1. Start locally.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) http://www.sba.gov – offers many loan opportunities for start up businesses. Among your options are loan programs such as the 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program which provides loans through banks whereby the SBA acts as the guarantor. There is also the Micro loan program for loans up to $35,000. For these loans the borrower goes through intermediaries, nonprofits that are not banks. Micro lenders also get funding from foundations and corporations, and are more likely to loan money to start-ups than banks are. The SBA has a new loans program called Patriot Express, for veterans, military members, their spouses, and others. Loans are available up to $500,000. Check with your local SBA office or SBA website (www.sba.gov) and find a list of banks where you can apply.

  2. Outside investments.

    Venture capital firms, companies whose business model is to profit from investing in startup businesses with great ideas, are a great resource. The National Venture Capital Association http://www.nvca.org lists information on venture capital firms across the country and provides contact information for your state’s chapter. Venture capitalists invest millions of dollars often to technology related firms. Also consider “Angel investors” who are wealthy individuals that want to invest in a new business venture. Networking and a bit of research may provide you with a list of contacts.

  3. Family and Friends.

    One of the most common resources for small business start-ups are the people closest to you. While asking your family and friends for a loan or investment in your startup may be uncomfortable, it may be a very wise investment on their part and an economical option for you with lower interest rates. Keep your friends and family loan as professional as possible. Create a business plan, demonstrate how you intend to market, profit, and provide a reasonable estimate of revenue. Resources are available online to help in this process. For example, a third party lending institution such as Circle lending (www.circlelending.com) can prepare loan documents for family and friends.

  4. Grants and Government resources.

    Despite the hype you may have seen or heard, there are no government grants for small businesses. However, if your business is a non-profit that helps small businesses then you have options. Additionally, if your business is a non-profit then you can apply for a grant from corporate giving programs, state and federal government and foundations. You must be a 501 (c) 3 status with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). For more information on these non-profit opportunities visit the Small Business Association website at http://www.sba.gov.

  5. Online Resources.

    Check out potential small business loans online. For example, Prosper.com (www.prosper.com) matches people who need to borrow up to $25,000 with people who are willing to lend the money for interest rates up to 29 percent. Eloan (www.eloan.com) is another aggregate source of small business loans.

  6. Social Networking websites.

    Often times, the best resources are found with networking. Social networking has opened up the world to people interested in the same topics, passions, and business models. For example, MySpace.com has a small business group. LinkedIn.com helps connect like minded professionals and Fastpitch.com helps connect people who may be interested in working with you to help you build your business.

  7. Colleges and Universities often offer tremendous and untapped opportunities.

    For example some universities offer business plan contests through their business schools. The first prize could be worth thousands of dollars in startup money.

Robert Moment is an innovative sought-after small business coach and marketing coach and author of Invisible Profits: The Power of Exceptional Customer Service. Robert specializes in teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners how to start a business that profits and grow. Visit http://www.howtostartyoursmallbusiness.com and sign-up for the FREE 7 day Small Business Startup e-course.

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Robert_Moment

Article Submitted On: May 14, 2008