Now is a good time to be your own boss: more entrepreneurial job seekers started their own business by the end of 2016 than any year since 2009; especially heartening is the fact that over 85% of these startups were headed by someone age 40 and older. While many startup owners arrived there as the result of layoffs from high-tech companies, they are staying there because they understand the high-risk, high-stakes world of small business owners and both anticipate and accept the stresses and challenges.
All startup businesses require some combination of talent, time, connections and capital. Of these four, capital is the most concrete need, yet sometimes the most difficult to find and the one you can easily abuse beyond your means. Before you sign that lease or hire that first employee, here are five ways to find startup money to fund your new venture:
Your own money and/or money from friends and family
Private money from your savings, cashing out insurance policies and raiding your investment accounts is risky, because you’re using the money you may need for retirement or to pay your basic living expenses. The upside of using your own money is that the only risk you take is with your own cash. If you fail, no one else gets hurt and you don’t owe anyone a penny. You can also borrow or accept donations through a private fundraising effort or announce a crowdfunding campaign online. The people closest to you want to support your efforts and play a part in your success, and their financial contribution provides them with the means to brag later on about how they knew you when you were just starting out, but they knew you would make it big.
Small Business Administration loans and grants
The SBA helps you find and apply for federal and state grants available to your new business if it is set up as a nonprofit; you do not repay these funds. For-profit business startups can apply for SBA-assisted loans; you are matched with a lender-partner suited to your new venture’s financial needs and arrangements are facilitated with the SBA.
These individual investors are always looking for the next new idea in which to invest money, and their reward is a share of equity in your company. All transactions with an angel investor must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission; these are not back-alley deals. And if the idea of an angel to the rescue sounds a little fly-by-night, consider that companies such as Google and Yahoo were funded by angel investors, and these risk takers have their own groups, including Band of Angels, AngelList and the Angel Investment Network, where they list and share information about new startups and opportunities.
These investors are similar to angel investors in that they have money to put into the next big idea, and expect equity shares in exchange for those funds. But unlike angels, venture capitalists also expect a voice in how your company operates. Both venture capitalists and angel investors want to make money as a result of their investment in your startup, but the angel investor is the equivalent of a silent partner, while the venture capitalist is akin to a member of your board of directors.
Nontraditional/alternative lending sources
Banks, credit unions, family, and friends are the most traditional routes for raising money; online fundraising was considered nontraditional when it started, but with $34 billion raised by crowdfunding sources as of 2015, this method is no longer considered unusual. Alternative lending sources, such as Paypal, On Deck and Prosper are outside the banking industry’s regulations but can provide startup capital with an online application completed in just a few minutes. Their interest rates, repayment schedules, fees and penalties are their own, and an entrepreneur who agrees to borrow from these sources must understand the difference in their terms and conditions versus a typical lending institution.
I’ve been in the business of building businesses since the age of 14, and I understand the thrill and the challenge of quitting life in corporate’s world and creating your own. I’ve been successful at growing my businesses and helping others increase their profits and improve their operations because I’ve focused their ability to dig deeper for dedication, commit to a winning strategy and measure performance accurately. And I can do the same for you; contact me and we’ll put a plan in place.