NCET helps you explore business and technology.
Previous articles in this series have provided the basics for preparing your new business and planning ahead to avoid costly mistakes. Once you know you really want to start a business and have a plan, description, name of your business, and legal entity, you’ll want to find the money to start your business.
Sometimes if you start a business initially as a side business or hobby, it is self-funded. The money comes from your paychecks, your savings, a home equity loan or even a line of credit from our bank. The money could be in a property you plan to sell, or in stocks, bonds, and other assets that you can use to start your business. Your side business or hobby could turn into a full-fledged business, and you may just need to explore additional sources of funding. And sometimes you might not have all of the money you need to start the business on your own and you will need some help.
There are many sources you can then approach, including family, friends, business partners, shareholders, lenders – large and small – and specialist finance for disadvantaged and culturally different businesses.
Friends and family are always the easiest and are often the people who support you the most; However, this source of income can come with conditions and can make conversations difficult on a future vacation. Many business owners refuse to mix business and family. If you are borrowing from friends and family, make sure the money is tied to an official loan document and written with official interest and payment terms. This preserves the true separation of family from the business and also ensures that no one comes across as your “partner” unless they really are. And make sure you are familiar with the interest rate and repayment terms. Sometimes friends and family are willing to take a stake in your new business. This means that they own a portion of your business and this percentage needs to be decided and documented prior to the money transfer.
Although I have rarely seen a bank or credit union grant a loan for starting a new business, they are on the list of places to visit for possible financing opportunities. Interestingly, a bank refusal is often a prerequisite for applying to a micro-lender, which makes it easier for small businesses to lend. Try your personal bank first. They will ask you for a formal request, your startup financial projections and how you are going to use the funds you borrow. They will ask you how much you need and for what purposes. You will want to share with them a formal list of your start-up costs and if you need money for your operating expenses in the first year. Your start-up expenses should be detailed according to your specific needs: deposits, purchase of machinery, equipment, licenses, professional fees, marketing – these amounts necessary before you start selling. Your operating budget should indicate whether you will need the money until your business starts making a profit, maybe six months, a year, or two.
If the banks turn you down, ask a micro-lender, that is, a lender with a micro-loan program that typically offers loans up to $ 50,000. This type of lender, often community-based, can help underserved or disadvantaged business owners with micro loans, small business loans, and SBA loans. These lenders include:
- Prestamos – www.prestamosloans.org/lending/small-business-loans
- Rural Nevada Development Corp – www.rndcnv.org
- Western Nevada Development District – www.wndd.org
You can also consider group fundraising sites, which make it easy for you to share your fundraising needs through social media. Although they take percentages of the funds you raise, the process is relatively quick and painless. Here are two of the main sites:
Seed financing is another source of financing, where an investor offers financing in exchange for a portion of your equity. Each has their own criteria for applying and you can find more details on their respective websites. Here are some of the local seed funds, and you can find more at www.startupreno.org/resources/investors.
- InNeventure Fund – www.nvric.org/inneventure-fund
- Ozmen Ventures – www.ozmenventures.com
- Reno Seed Fund – www.renoseedfund.com
- Sierra Innovation Fund – www.sierrainnovations.net
Angel funding and venture capital (VC) funding are also provided by experienced investors and investor groups who can provide significant funding to companies that they believe will provide a significant return on investment. Local Angel Investor Groups and VCs include:
- Avantage Capital – www.advantagecap.com
- Battle Born Ventures – www.battlebornventure.com
- Sierra Angels – www.sierraangels.com
- Silver State Opportunity Fund – www.nvssof.com
Obtaining financing can seem daunting and time consuming, but a lack of financing shouldn’t be a barrier to launching a great business idea. Give it a try and see where your loan applications land – often with the great support of like-minded entrepreneurs!
Marie Gibson, Accountant Rescuer, Gibson & Associates, LLC, helps business owners create, refine, and actually use their accounting systems to make sure profits in uncertain times! (www.Marie-Gibson.com)
NCET (www.NCET.org) is a member-supported non-profit organization that helps people explore business and technology.