Financing Your Business
- Title: Financing Your Business
Author: Brett Krkosska
Copyright: ©2002 by Brett Krkosska
Word Count: 1202USE: This article may be freely published electronically or
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Financing Your Business
by Brett KrkosskaFinding the capital you need to finance your business can
be a confusing and complicated process. Many great ideas
stumble at this stage of business building.Yet, moving through this stage breathes life into your
business - giving it forward momentum like a roller coaster
barreling down the first big hill. Finding money is just a
matter of being informed and choosing the right path for
money to enter the business.There are several options available to you when searching
for financing. Some methods of raising funds are less
difficult than others, but all require some planning. Basic
planning requires that you know the answer to these three
questions:1. What will you use the money for?You must know exactly where the money will be used. You
must be specific, as generalities are recipes for disaster.
Carefully identify the areas where money should flow into
your business.2. How much money do you need?You should calculate your needs to carry you through
initial startup and into your first several months of
operation. It's necessary to have a realistic picture of
your needs. Many businesses fail because the money
runs out before the business reaches profitability.3. How will you pay back the money?You must have adequate cash flow from your business to
repay the money to your source. Before asking for funds,
make sure your fiscal projections and business integrity
are soundly argued in a good business plan.An integral part of a good business plan are financial
statements for your business. You need to show sufficient
cash flow in your business for repayment. You do this with
information as found in an income statement, a balance
sheet, and a projected cash flow statement.
SOURCES OF MONEYHere are some options for funding your small business:==> Credit CardsOne form of personal debt you should avoid is cash
advances on your credit card. It's very tempting and very
easy to get cash this way. If you do this you should pray.
Pray with vigor. Then ask for forgiveness. This option is
very expensive and extremely risky. Credit cards should
only be used for short-term expenses, and not as a means
to entirely fund a start-up business.==> Friends and FamilyBorrowing from your friends and family, especially the
rich ones, is a good way for new businesses to get money.
It's not uncommon for relatives to make low interest or no
interest loans to family members. Just make sure all
parties are aware of any risks. You don't want to alienate
your family if the business falls on hard times and you
have trouble repaying the loan.==> Personal SavingsYou can use your personal savings or assets that can be
converted to cash. If your savings are already low, put off
that vacation, drive your old car a bit longer, avoid large
purchases -- be thrifty in all areas and you can save
faster for your business. Keep in mind that most lenders
won't finance 100 percent of your business, so you'll need
to invest some money yourself.==> Line of CreditIf you have good credit, you may be able secure a line of
credit from your bank. This can be handy in providing you
with a source of working capital in the opening round of
your business.==> Bank LoanUsing collateral, such as the equity in your home, you can
approach your bank for a loan against your business. This
may or may not be an option for you, since some banks
prefer to separate personal equity from business debt.==> Venture CapitalPeople with lots of money love to make lots more money.
Your job is to convince venture capital providers that you
and your business can help them make lots more money.You must be able to show you've got a real winner. You
must do it without fluff or a "come on, dream with me"
embellishment. Therefore, you need a business plan. A
good one that shows you've done your homework and know
the "lay of the land."Venture capital providers want to be sure their investment
is sound. They generally do this by taking ownership over a
pretty big part of the company, and often require control
of major portions of the business. This is so they can look
after their investment.Do they mess around with the little guy? On the whole,
they don't want to fool around with little investments and
they are bully on companies that have high-growth
potential. Gotta think big with these guys!A few sites that help businesses and capital providers
meet are vCapital.com, BusinessFinance.com,
and vFinance.com.==> AngelsAn angel, or private investor, is a person looking for
good investment vehicles. This person could be your next
door neighbor, your dentist, or a local business owner.
Overall, angels are not loan-makers, they are investors.
As such, the degree of control and terms under which you
receive seed money for your business will depend on the
arrangement brokered between you and your angel.The key to finding an angel in your area is networking.
While you may not have an angel in your personal pool of
contacts, by networking with others you can create a word
of mouth campaign that reaches the ears of private
investors.Moving outside of your local area, you can begin a
sweeping search for private investors at
BusinessFinance.com. They maintain a list of thousands
of potential investors.==> SBA MicroloansThe Small Business Administration may be helpful in
connecting you with a Microloan. These loans are
administered by non-profit organizations that want to
foster economic development in your area. Contact your
regional SBA office for information on this loan program.
You can find your local office using this online locator:
http://www.sba.gov/regions/states.html==> Small Business Investment CompaniesThe SBA or your local Chamber of Commerce may be aware
of Small Business Investment Corporations operating in your
area. These organizations are interested in reviving
depressed portions of your community, bringing employment
to places with high unemployment, or even helping certain
minority groups. They will work with new businesses if you
meet the criteria they expect. You can visit the American
Economic Development Council for a list of organizations
in your area:
http://www.aedc.org/==> Business IncubatorsBusiness Incubators help build new businesses. They can
provide help in all phases of start-up, including funding.
Investigate whether or not an incubator exists in your area
with the SBA, Chamber of Commerce, local universities, or
your local municipality.==> Your Future CustomersYour future customers may be a source of money. This is a
less conventional method, and your timing must be right to
coordinate this type of deal. You simply take advance
orders for your product and collect at the time of the
order. If you take enough orders, you can search for a
lending institution which makes loans against accounts
receivable.In the final analysis, the name of the game is perseverance.
Get your name and idea out there in the real world. Start
talking to people about your intent and become a player.
Have your business plan ready, be aggressive, and you can
get the money you need.