If you’re starting a new small business, you’re spending a lot of time planning. From finding the perfect niche and customer base to writing your business plan and editing the about us page of your website, you’ve been constantly busy. You’ve started thinking about the kind of people you’d like to hire, coming up with an aesthetic for your website that matches your brand, and you’ve started meeting with potential partners. But one of the biggest aspects of starting your new small business you have to worry about is funding. You need money, and you’re not sure where you’re going to get it.
Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to get the money you need. In no time, your business will be running, and you’ll be able to afford it. If you want to learn more about how you can get funded, read on.
Write a thorough business plan
If you’re starting a new business, it’s likely you’ve already started on your business plan. But is it as thorough and clear as it could be? The right business plan will cover not only your expected costs but also what might happen to your business if you hit financial trouble. It’s useful to you, of course, but what matters more is that it’ll be helpful later on when you’re pitching your business for funding to potential lenders or donors.
According to the SBA, “Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup. Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. They tend to require more work upfront and can be dozens of pages long.
Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.”
Considering that 51 percent of small business owners are between 50-88 years old, many other entrepreneurs writing their business plans will have had experience with it before. This means that if you’re competing with them for funding, yours needs to be even better. Take a look at these tips before you consider it completed! And if you’ve got a business partner or a lawyer like Aaron Kelly, have them read over it, too.
Ask yourself: Who can provide funding?
Now that you’ve written your business plan, you need to consider where you want to get funding. In the past, it was simple: you’d apply for a small business loan through your local bank. This is still an option, but the fact is that it can be a challenge to get your loan approved. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, banks have been wary of small business loans. And if it’s your first business ever, and you haven’t built much of a line of credit yet, it’s likely your loan won’t get approved.
Still, in 2017, over 66 percent of businesses applied for loans with large banks. So it’s still something that happens, and if you think you’re a good fit, go for it.
Another option, according to the Huffington Post, includes crowdfunding, which “is [a] relatively new concept and an amazing way to earn money if you have a somewhat established network and a business idea that people want to get behind…The upfront cost is minimal, and you can provide your investors with incentives like gifts or shares in exchange for their support. It gives you the opportunity to be creative and test your idea in a relatively low-risk manner.”
If you think you’ve got the kind of product that can get a lot of people excited, then this is a great way to go. One example: lightweight suitcases that are both fashionable and will save travelers on luggage fees, because it solves a problem many people have. You can write some fun ads, get active on Facebook and Instagram, and start raising money immediately. An added plus? You’ll build brand awareness, so even if you don’t raise the money you need this time, you’ll get lots of potential customers and the ability to raise more money later.
According to Entrepreneur.com, some other funding areas to research include angel investors, partners funding, venture capital, and SBA loans. Don’t forget to look at business grants available in your state, too.
Once you’ve established how you want to fund your small business, it’s time to get to work. Now it’s time to apply, spread the word, and reach out to your contacts, and see what funding strategy works best for you.
What do you think will be the most challenging part of getting funding for your small business?