This time last year our world was turned upside down by Covid-19. One of the hardest-hit sectors of our society was small businesses. Being forced to close their doors by order of the US government due to the pandemic left many small business owners in dire financial straits. Then along comes government assistance in the form of PPP (Payroll Protection Program) as a way to bail out small businesses and keep them from going under.
This government assistance was a great thing for many small business owners, and there is now another round of PPP funding on offer by the US government. But what if you are a small business owner in the United States, and you either couldn't qualify for a loan then and can't qualify for a PPP loan now, or you prefer not to accept help from the government, for whatever reason?
This Rules of Thumb blog post from MoneyThumb is for you.
There are funding options available to small business owners if you can't qualify for government assistance or prefer not to accept help from the government. We have listed the major alternative funding options below:
If you are able, the best funding source to start with is yourself. Having the ability to fund your own small business venture offers a wealth of freedom. If you have disposable income, starting a business with your own funds will allow you to keep all of your profits and not be beholden to any other person or entity.
Loans from friends and family
Sometimes friends or family members will provide loans. This approach could possibly become negative if they lose money on the investment. However, if the business succeeds, there can be a stronger bond formed.
Financing your startup using your own credit cards can be a very easy option. However, they come with a high cost for the capital, since credit card interest rates tend to be high. The amount you can obtain is based on your credit limit, which is probably less than you’d get from a bank or other loan type. Credit cards are a good source of capital for small-scale revolving needs, and for entrepreneurs who want to retain ownership and control of the company.
Online crowdfunding sites have become a popular way for small business startups to raise capital. The standard way most startups use crowdfunding is by launching a specific product. Crowdfunding can be time-consuming and requires putting information on the site, often with a video or photos of the product, and a whole lot of marketing.
Crowdfunding can be a good way to pre-sell your products and get the capital to build them, but you may use a lot of the money on incentives to get people to sign up. Some crowdfunding sites only let you access the money if you meet your fundraising goal, and the site may take a percentage of earnings.
If you have good credit, applying for a traditional bank loan is one other option to fund your small business. When you make your case to the bank, you'll need to show that you have a history of paying back debt. The bank will want to see a business plan and financial forecast.
Banks provide several types of loans, including some through the Small Business Administration. Some loans require collateral in case you don't pay back your debt.
Angel investors are usually individuals with a lot of money who get an equity stake in return for their financing. It is common for an angel investor to expect to make a profit and usually have business expertise they share with you to help your company grow. An angel investor will want to scrutinize your business plan and you'll have to build a case as to why they should invest.
Like angel investors, venture capitalists take equity in your business in exchange for financing. Venture capital funds resemble mutual funds in that they pool money from many investors. Venture capitalists also have business expertise in the areas in which they invest and will be involved in running the business. In exchange for potentially large amounts of money, you’ll cede some control and equity.
The above are the main alternative financing options for your small business, other than government assistance. Of course, as we stated above, accepting assistance from your government to help keep your business afloat during these trying times is a great opportunity if that's what you choose. For those of you who choose otherwise, the above options are very viable.