Starting a small business is difficult, there’s no way around it. From writing a business plan to locking down the logistics of getting everything rolling, there are a lot of plates to keep spinning. Along with all of that, you need to find money to do it all. This is, perhaps, the most discouraging element of starting a business, but it doesn’t need to be.
By taking the right steps and getting started on the right foot, you can not only get your business off the ground and moving forward, you can have the resources to keep your business primed to succeed at any turn. Here are four ways to find cash to fund your business.
1. Family and Friends
I know, I know, this sounds pretty underwhelming. Few people want to entertain the idea of approaching their loved ones for money, but it could work out to your advantage. Borrowing money from friends and family is pretty free-form, meaning there’s no prime rate that governs how much money you’ll have to pay your grandmother for her contribution to your business, which could be a good thing. Interest-free financing is rare, so if those close to you are willing to help out, don’t say no.
If you prefer a more structured way to ask friends for money, consider crowdfunding. Starting a GoFundMe or KickStarter page for your business automatically gives you a format you can share on social media and get the word to more people even faster.
When you start a business, it’s in your best interest to start with financing that can help you build a business credit score. You’ll be able to check and monitor your score with Nav, but you have to start somewhere to have a score. Fortunately, there are lenders set up specifically to help out your business get off the ground.
Kiva in particular offers interest-free loans to budding entrepreneurs. As a non-profit, their only intent is to help the small business economy grow, and you could potentially be eligible. They use a group of donors to fund your loan, which you then pay back with no interest. This not only helps your business get off the ground, it can help you establish a business credit history and potentially lead to larger forms of financing in the future.
Microloans, as their name implies, are smaller loans. Kiva loans are up to $10,000, and while that won’t be all the money you’ll need to start your business, it’s certainly a great start.
3. Business Grants
Many lenders require that you have at least two years in business to be eligible for a loan, which may disqualify your business. Even better than a loan, however, is a grant. Just like grants in college, a business grant doesn’t need to be paid back. To get a grant, you’ll need to channel your inner student and be ready to fill out applications.
There are a number of institutions offering grants for small businesses, including Nav, who is currently accepting applications for their $10,000 small business grant. If your small business serves a specific demographic or works in a niche industry, you could be eligible for some handsome grants.
4. Your Full-Time Job
Starting a business, for many people, is part of a dream. Another part of that dream is getting the power to storm out of your job and never go back and be your own boss. Unfortunately, too many people seem to be in a rush to jump up from their desk and take off toward their own venture, when staying a bit longer could solve the cash issue of starting a business.
By staying at your full-time job and hustling for a time getting your own operation off the ground, you provide yourself and your business with consistent and dependable cash flow, which you’ll find to be a luxury over the first years of your business.
Whatever your business idea is, there are opportunities at your fingertips to fund it. Get out there, ask, apply, hustle, and make it happen.