Tag : Funding

Startup Financing – Small Business Funding, funding for business.#Funding #for #business


Startup Business Financing

Funding for business

Funding for business

Wouldn t you love to have a few million dollars to start your business? Me too! With a great idea and a great business plan, you probably feel almost entitled to get the funding you re seeking.

The reality, though, is that for most entrepreneurs, you must prove your concept first before anyone will put up that kind of money. But most businesses require some sort of initial capital for things like inventory, marketing, physical facilities, incorporation expenses, etc.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), While poor management is cited most frequently as the reason businesses fail, inadequate or ill-timed financing is a close second. Sometimes it comes down to simple cash flow–many companies have closed their doors because they just couldn t make it another few months until the money came in.

When exploring your funding options, there are several factors to consider:

  • Are your needs short-term or long-term? How quickly will you be able to pay back the loan or provide a return on their investment?
  • Is the money for operating expenses or for capital expenditures that will become assets, such as equipment or real estate?
  • Do you need all the money now or in smaller pieces over several months?
  • Are you willing to assume all the risk if your company doesn t succeed, or do you want someone to share the risk?

The answers to these questions will help you prioritize the many funding options available.

  • Debt financing – You borrow the money and agree to pay it back in a particular time frame at a set interest rate. You owe the money whether your venture succeeds or not. Bank loans are what most people typically think of as debt financing, but we will explore many other options below.

  • Equity financing – You sell partial ownership of your company in exchange for cash. The investors assume all (or most) of the risk–if the company fails, they lose their money. But if it succeeds, they typically make a much greater return on their investment than interest rates. In other words, equity financing is far more expensive if your company is successful, but far less expensive if it isn t.

Because investors take on a much higher risk than lenders, they are typically far more involved in your company. This can be a mixed blessing. They will likely offer advice and connections to help grow your business. But if their plan is to exit your company in 2-3 years with a substantial return on their investment, and your motivation is the long-term sustainable growth of the company, you may find yourself at odds with them as the company grows. Be careful not to give up too much control of your company.

Let s take a closer look at the many options available for startups.

Friends and family are still your best source for both loans and equity deals. They are typically less stringent regarding your credit and their expected return on investment. One caveat: structure the deal with the same legal rigor you would with anyone else or it may create problems down the road when you look for additional financing.

Prepare a business plan and formal documents–you ll both feel better, and it s good practice for later.

Credit cards are a great tool for cash flow management, assuming you use them just for that and not for long-term financing. Keep one or two cards with no balance on it and pay it off every month to give yourself a 30 to 60-day float with no interest. And the low introductory rates on some cards make them some of the cheapest money around. Managed well, they re extremely effective; managed poorly, they re extremely expensive.

Bank loans come in all shapes and sizes, from microloans of a few hundred dollars, typically offered by local community banks, to six-figure loans by major national banks. These are much easier to obtain when backed by assets (home equity or an IRA) or third-party guarantors (e.g., government-sponsored SBA loans or a cosigner).

If you obtain a line of credit rather than a fixed-amount loan, you don t start paying interest until you actually spend the money.

Leasing is the way to go if you need big-ticket items such as equipment, vehicles, or even computers. Your supplier will help you explore this.

Angel investors fill the gap between friends and family and venture capitalists, who now rarely even look at investments below $1 million. Enlist a savvy financial adviser to structure the deal.

Private lending represents a viable alternative when the bank says no . Private lenders are looking for the same information and will conduct similar due diligence as the banks, but they typically specialize in an industry and are more willing to take on higher-risk loans if they see the potential.

There are many channels available to you to raise capital. All of the above approaches have numerous variations. Put together a solid business plan, talk to a financial adviser, and just start asking. Someone will eventually say Yes .



South African Government Grants, Entrepreneur, business funding.#Business #funding


South African Government Grants

Business funding

1 South African Government Grants options to choose from

Contents

  • What is a Government Grant?
  • Do you have to repay a Government Grant?
  • List of Government Grants for Business
  • Who can apply for Government Grants for Business?
  • Tips on applying for Government Grants for Business

The South African government is well aware of the importance of developing the economy, creating employment and attracting foreign investment.

To make these goals a reality, there are grants and assistance programmes available from the government and associated organisations that can get your business off the ground and expanding.

What is a Government Grant?

It is an award of funds from the government that does not need to be repaid, does not accrue interest, and has strict guidelines for application.

Grants available from the government usually tie in with its key deliverables such as black economic empowerment, job creation and developing the economy – to name some.

Do you have to repay a Government Grant?

Unlike a loan, a grant is an award of money that is non-repayable – meaning there is no obligation by the receiving parties to repay the money received. While the government is one of the best sources of grants, its selection criteria is strict and paperwork intensive, and the receiving business is obligated to spend the funds in a manner specified by the provider.

Most funds available in South Africa have their own specific requirements, so it’s advisable to research each fund carefully to assess their criteria and up your chances of receiving funding.

2 List of Government Grants for Business

Business funding

The best place to start with researching government grants for business is through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). By visiting www.thedti.gov.za, you can explore a number of funding options from grants to incentives and all their qualifying criteria. Some grants available include:

1. Aqua-culture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP)

This programme is available to registered entities involved in primary, secondary and ancillary aquaculture projects for both marine and fresh water. It is approved for new, existing and upgrading entities. See more here.

2. Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS)

This scheme is designed to grow and develop the automotive industry through investment in new and replacement models and components that will increase production volumes, sustain and increase employment, and strengthen the automotive value chain. See more here.

3. Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP)

This is a cost-sharing grant offered to black-owned businesses to improve their competitiveness and sustainability. It aims to fast-track small and micro-enterprises, foster links between black-owned businesses, corporates and public sector, and to complement affirmative procurement and outsourcing. It provides grants to a maximum of R1 million. See more here.

4. Business Process Services (BPS)

This scheme aims to attract investment and create employment in South Africa through off-shoring activities. It involves a three-year tax-exempt grant for qualifying businesses. See more here.

5. Capital Projects Feasibility Programme (CPFP)

The Capital Projects Feasibility Programme is a cost-sharing grant contributing to the cost of feasibility studies for projects that will lead to increased local exports and stimulate the local manufacturing sector. See more here.

6. Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP)

This is aimed at improving the infrastructure of South Africa. The grant covers a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 30% of total development costs of qualifying infrastructure. See more here.

7. The Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS)

This scheme is a 90:10 cost-sharing grant for registered primary cop-operatives of five or more members to improve the viability and competitiveness. See more here.

8. Incubation Support Programme (ISP)

This programme is designed to create and develop successful enterprises with the ability to revitalise communities and local economies. For more information visit this site.

9. The Manufacturing Competitive Enhancement Programme (MCEP)

Provides enhanced manufacturing support to encourage facility upgrades to sustain employment and improve productivity. See more here.

10. Manufacturing Investment Programme (MIP)

This programme is a reimbursable cash grant to local and foreign-owned manufacturers who wish to establish new facilities or expand on existing ones.

11. National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)

While it is moving away from grants for youth and going toward mentorship and development programmes, grants are available for youth entrepreneurs. See more here.

12. People-carrier Automotive Investment Scheme (P-AIS)

This is a cash grant of between 20% and 35% of the value of qualifying investment in productive assets approved by the DTI. See more here.

13. The Sector Specific Assistance Scheme (SSAS)

This scheme is a cost-sharing grant offered on an 80:20 principle and a maximum of R1,5 million is awarded to qualifying businesses. See more here.

14. Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII)

The Support Programme for Industrial Innovation is aimed to promote technology development in South African industry. Visit their site for more information.

3 Who can apply for Government Grants for business?

Business funding

Because of the number of grants available – and each with its own criteria – you will need to individually research each grant. Generally through, the following will be required:

  • The business needs to be majority black-owned
  • It needs to have a significant representation of black managers (if applicable)
  • Minimum and maximum turnovers vary from grant to grant
  • The business must have a minimum of one year in trading
  • The business must be a registered entity with a tax clearance certificate, Vat number, etc.
  • The business must comply with all regulations such as CIPRO, SARS etc.
  • All owners and major shareholders need a clear credit history.

4 Tips on applying for Government Grants for business

Business funding

Once you’ve identified a grant applicable to your business and industry, research it thoroughly to determine the qualifying criteria.

Each grant listed on the DTI website has a contact person you can call or email for more information.

When applying, make sure you’ve completed the following checklist:

  1. Completed and signed application form
  2. SARS Tax Clearance Certificate – Original and valid
  3. Detailed business plan
  4. Co-operative resolution (if applicable)
  5. List of directors, shareholders etc. complete with certified copies of IDs and CVs
  6. Copy of business registration certificate
  7. Motivational letter
  8. Bank statements
  9. Projected financial statements for start-up and/or expansion.

When applying for a Government Grant you will need to have a business plan. Here is a free business plan template to get you started.

Business funding



Small Business Funding In South Africa, Entrepreneur, small business funding.#Small #business #funding


Small Business Funding In South Africa

For many entrepreneurs, the minute they realise they need small business funding, they automatically panic and wonder, “How on earth am I going to get funding?”

The good news is that there are a number of ways you can get funding for your small business if you know where to look and do the right preparation.

How small business funding differs from big business funding

Basically, it’s a matter of scale. A small business isn’t likely to require R100 million in finance.

A small business can get started on as little as R1 000 – and with profits put back into the business – can grow organically and rely very little on external funding.

The other difference pertains to size in another way: Big business tends to refer to corporate entities with shareholders, boards of directors etc., while small business tends to refer to privately owned and operated business.

Small business funding

The dangers of running your business finances through your personal account

Say you want to start a small business crafting wooden furniture and you can buy most of the equipment on your credit card. In one way, it’s the quickest and easiest way to get going, but running your business finances through your personal accounts come with risk.

Not separating your business from you personally sets you up for legal liability. If, for example, you default on credit card payments or fall into debt, your personal assets can be seized over and above your business assets.

The other risk is that of keeping clear records and distinctions of which expenses are business and which are personal. This can lead to tax complications come tax season and you can incur fines that can close your business.

Having a separate account for your business also lends credibility to it, and in the event you require finance from a bank, your clear financial documentation will aid the bank in assessing whether to grant you a loan.

Why a clean credit record is so important to small business funders

In order to qualify for grants or loans, the lending facility needs to assess whether you’ll be able to repay the loan, and your credit record is their way of checking. Even if you’re starting a brand new business, if you have a tarnished personal credit record or are blacklisted for bad/non-payment, your ability to borrow will be negatively affected.

Every South African is entitled to a free credit report once a year. You can learn more about about your credit record through credit bureaus like TransUnion.

Small business funding

Various small business funding options available

If you’re not in the position to self-fund through use of personal credit and/or savings, you can investigate these following ways to get small business funding.

Small Business Funding Option 1: Angel Investment

An angel investor is typically a wealthy professional who is able to provide you with start-up capital in exchange for equity in the business or a fixed percentage interest on the loan. Angel investors can be individuals or form angel networks in order to distribute risk.

Angel investors can be hands-off, not wanting to be part of the business, while others may want to be involved in decision-making and/or act as a business mentor.

A rookie mistake made by many is to enter into verbal agreements with angel investors without terms and conditions written and signed by both parties. Without a contract in place, conflict can arise; an investor can withdraw their funding, and the business’s future can be jeopardised. Make sure whenever finance is involved, there is a written agreement in place.

Small Business Funding Option 2: Bank funding

If you choose to approach a bank for finance you need a number of things in place before you approach them.

First is a comprehensive and fully understood business plan complete with financial projections. You also need to provide a full set of financials for them to examine. Then you need to understand the kinds of loans available and which kind is best suited to your needs.

If, for example, you need to buy equipment which devalues with age and use, it’s not advisable to take a long-term loan where you’ll be paying for it long after it’s served its lifespan.

Bank Finance Options for Small Business:

  1. Overdraft – is ideally suited to managing cash flow.
  2. Business revolving credit – this is a line of credit available as and when it is needed and repayments are typically fixed monthly instalments. The original limit is usually restored after a set percentage has been repaid.
  3. Medium-term loans – are ideally suited for capital expenses and repayable for a period of two to seven years, but can be longer. Interest and repayment tend to be linked to prime, how much collateral you have, and the value of the asset you need finance for.
  4. Business mortgage / Property finance – in the event you wish to buy or renovate property for your business or convert part of a residence into office space, this is the loan to investigate.
  5. Vehicle and asset finance – Whether it’s a vehicle or specialised equipment required, talk to your bank about vehicle and asset finance to determine whether its terms are suited to your business.

Small Business Funding Option 3: Crowd Funding

Relatively new to the scene, crowd funding is an exciting way to gather finance. It works in a similar way to angel investment, except many individuals are able to pledge varying amounts to the business in exchange for equity, interest, or other more creative returns.

As an example, new products, music albums and films have been crowd funded in exchange for early releases, while restaurants have named menu items after benefactors.

Typically, however, a product or service is pitched and uptake in funding helps determine whether there is demand for it, and first releases help fine-tune it.

South African crowd funding platforms include:

The top international crowd funding platforms include:

Small Business Funding Option 4:

Funding for Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDIs)

Small Business Government Grants and Loans

The government is involved in small business development by providing funding to previously disadvantaged individuals. These can take the form of grants, loans and tenders.

A government loan, like a loan from a financial institution, is given to an approved business that is required to repay the loan. It usually has more lenient repayment schedules and interest rates.

A government grant, by comparison, does not require repayment by the awarded business. The South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has a number of initiatives designed to improve business activity for previously disadvantaged individuals, women and youth. You can read more at www.dti.gov.za SMME development financial assistance. Any business wanting to gain access to grants or funding needs to be BEE accredited and have a tax clearance certificate.

Enterprise Development (ED) Funding

This form of government mandated funding is devised as a means to create more jobs in South Africa through business development, and enterprise development is one of the elements of the BEE scorecard. Large corporates are required to pay towards enterprise development or use an Enterprise Development beneficiary in their business supply chain as part of their BEE scorecard.

How a small business benefits from ED funding is by enrolling in a corporate’s ED empowerment programme that can include mentorship, incubation, becoming procurement ready, how to be commercially viable and sustainable, etc.

Small Business Funding Option 5: Bootstrapping your Small Business

If you’re not drawn to the previous examples of funding, you can bootstrap your business. Fundamentally it’s starting and growing a business without external help.

This is achieved through getting operational as quickly as possible; keeping fixed overheads as low as possible – even if you have to work in your childhood bedroom or understaff; reinvesting profits into the business; and keeping growth in check by maintaining steady growth over explosive growth.

Small business funding



More Than 15 Small Business Funding Resources for You, business funding.#Business #funding


More Than 15 Small Business Funding Resources for You

Business funding

Most small business owners can identify with the challenges of getting financing for their business or funding for a new product. There s no short, easy road to funding, most of the time, but these small business funding resources can help.

Kabbage

Kabbage has to be the most unique small business funding source found recently. They have created a powerful platform that, in my understanding, is creating a real-life look at how your business is doing to help you grow it.

They don t only look at credit scores, as so many traditional lenders do. They look at things like your Paypal, Ebay, Amazon, or Intuit QuickBooks account to figure out if you qualify and how much of a credit line you can receive. It is impressive.

Kiva Zip

Another innovative program and approach is found with Kiva, the microfinance platform. Etsy wrote about it. There is official information about zero interest (0%) with the Kiva Zip program (in Alpha, not even in Beta), and success stories on the main page.

The Lending Club

The Lending Club is a name that many consumers and business owners have heard before, but it is a site worth checking. Their peer-to-peer approach has taken the banking world by storm and it looks likely to continue in the business loan sector.

SmartBiz SBA Loans

SmartBiz SBA Loans ($5,000 $150,000) is a small business lender, but one that promises a much better process than traditional banks, on SBA type loans. If you ve ever gone through the SBA formal process, you know that it is rather comprehensive.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle has a large UK presence as well as a US site. It is an online marketplace for small business loans. The site explains you can find out in approximately one week if you qualify for a loan.

MultiFunding

Ami Kassar CEO of MultiFunding has a useful website on how the different funding options work and his consulting brokerage serves as a matchmaker for businesses that need more than just the best rate and need help with more complicated loan options.

OnDeck and BoeFly

Here are a couple of other small business loan providers that are promising an easier process, lower rates, and other options that might make their loans more appealing to you. OnDeck and BoeFly.

QuickBooks Financing

QuickBooks Financing has a site dedicated to helping you find the right financing. It is a matching engine that allows their selected lenders to provide you with the right loan. I m presuming it also uses some of your QuickBooks data, but I m not certain of that as I did not submit data on the form.

Wells Fargo and SBA Bank of America

There is no shortage of traditional lenders where you can walk into a branch and talk to someone about an SBA loan, so I would be remiss for not including at least a couple that I believe in. The Wells Fargo small business loan page offers a range of good information. And the SBA Loan page at Bank of America may help you sort different SBA options.

Factoring

If you have ever considered factoring, where you get financing based on your receivables, then I recommend this guide from RTS Financial, Your Complete Guide To Factoring.

PayPal Working Capital

PayPal Working Capital lets you pay your loan back as you get paid. A factoring method, of sorts.

Chase Mission Main Street Grants

One of my favorite places to look for less traditional financing options is the Small Business Events here on Small Business Trends. I used it to help compile this list, so I know there are some great funding options, often awards or contests, worth considering. This Chase Mission Main Street Grants is a terrific example. There is new information on the 2014 program.

Government Grants

You may need help to understand if a Government grant is worth pursuing. There are some large scale federal programs that pass funds through to universities and other nonprofit type institutions where you can sometimes find just the right help for your company.

City and State Level Resources

As I mentioned above, there are many city and state level resources, but too many to explain. If you search for your city or state combined with economic development, small business funding, and other related terms, you may find a niche program that serves your needs.

Here is a page from the Nevada Small Business Development Center where you ll get an idea of what you find at the state level. There are community-focused programs, as an example of a city program, for the Philadelphia area, Loan Programs City of Philadelphia Business Services Center. Scroll down through the long list to find the smaller loan amounts.

Opportunity Finance Network

Opportunity Finance Network (part of Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses initiative) is a big initiative sponsored by Goldman Sachs. The goal is to help educate business owners on a wide range of topics, to give you the best chance for success, in addition to access to capital. You must have an established business, with revenues.

There are plenty of sites that offer business loans too many to try and list. There are resources at the State and City level, depending on where you live, that can help you financially. There are also lists of USA State websites that offer resources or details around funding and details available on what it takes to qualify for a small business loan as well as sources of start-up funding.

We welcome you to list resources in the comments. We want to see the path to funding get easier, more transparent, and understandable for small business as a whole and we hope these resources do that for you.

If you have discovered a great resource that can help a small business owner find financing or a grant, please share it below.



Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups, business funding.#Business

Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have an idea for their business but lack the capital to actually start it. Brand-new businesses are often turned down for bank loans, and even if your business is established, funds can still be tough to secure. Loans funded by the Small Business Administration are usually more accessible, but they are becoming increasingly competitive.

So what options are left for someone aspiring to be a small business owner? Here are six options beyond bank loans for financing your startup.

Online lending

Online lenders have become a popular alternative to traditional business loans. These platforms have the advantage of speed, as an application takes only about an hour to complete, and the decision and accompanying funds can be issued within days. Because of the ease and quickness of online lending, economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said at the 2015 Lend It conference that he expects online lenders to eventually reach more than 70 percent of small businesses.

Editor s note: Are you considering a small business loan for your business? If you re looking for information to help you choose the one that s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

Angel investors

Angel investors invest in early-stage or startup companies in exchange for a 20 to 25 percent return on their investment. They have helped to start up many prominent companies, including Google and Costco. Mark DiSalvo, CEO of private equity fund provider Semaphore said, You are likely to get an investor who has strategic experience, so they can provide tactical benefit to the company they are investing in.

Find out what makes angel investors fund a business here.

Venture capitalists

Venture capital is money that is given to help build new startups that are considered to have both high-growth and high-risk potential. Fast-growth companies with an exit strategy already in place can gain up to tens of millions of dollars that can be used to invest, network and grow their company frequently.

Brian Haughey, assistant professor of finance and director of the investment center at Marist College, said that because venture capitalists focus on specific industries, they can generally offer advice to entrepreneurs on whether the product will be successful or what they need to do to bring it to market. However, venture capitalists have a short leash when it comes to company loyalty and often look to recover their investment within a three- to five-year time window, he said.

Learn more about venture capital here.

Factoring/invoice advances

Through this process, a service provider will front you the money on invoices that have been billed out, which you then pay back once the customer has settled the bill. This way, the business can grow by providing the funds necessary to keep it going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices.

Eyal Shinar, CEO of small business cash flow management company Fundbox, says these advances allow companies to close the pay gap between billed work and payments to suppliers and contractors.

By closing the pay gap, companies can accept new projects more quickly, Shinar told Business News Daily. Our goal is to help business owners grow their businesses and hire new workers by ensuring steady cash flow.

Visit BND s guide to choosing a factoring service here.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo can give a boost to financing a small business. These sites allow businesses to pool small investments from a number of investors instead of having to look for a single investment.

Make sure to read the fine print of different crowdfunding sites before making your choice, as some sites have payment-processing fees, or require businesses to raise their full stated goal in order to keep any of the money raised.

Check out some emerging trends in crowdfunding here.

Grants

Businesses focused on science or research may be able to get grants from the government. The SBA offers grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Recipients of these grants are required to meet federal research-and-development goals, and have a high potential for commercialization.

Learn more about applying for a small business grant here.

Additional reporting by Katherine Arline and Nicole Taylor. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Jennifer Post graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a Bachelor s Degree in Journalism. Having worked in the food industry, print and online journalism, and marketing, she is now a freelance contributor for Business News Daily. When she s not working, you will find her exploring her current town of Cape May, NJ or binge watching Pretty Little Liars for the 700th time.



Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups, small business

Beyond the Bank Loan: 6 Alternative Financing Methods for Startups

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have an idea for their business but lack the capital to actually start it. Brand-new businesses are often turned down for bank loans, and even if your business is established, funds can still be tough to secure. Loans funded by the Small Business Administration are usually more accessible, but they are becoming increasingly competitive.

So what options are left for someone aspiring to be a small business owner? Here are six options beyond bank loans for financing your startup.

Online lending

Online lenders have become a popular alternative to traditional business loans. These platforms have the advantage of speed, as an application takes only about an hour to complete, and the decision and accompanying funds can be issued within days. Because of the ease and quickness of online lending, economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said at the 2015 Lend It conference that he expects online lenders to eventually reach more than 70 percent of small businesses.

Editor s note: Are you considering a small business loan for your business? If you re looking for information to help you choose the one that s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

Angel investors

Angel investors invest in early-stage or startup companies in exchange for a 20 to 25 percent return on their investment. They have helped to start up many prominent companies, including Google and Costco. Mark DiSalvo, CEO of private equity fund provider Semaphore said, You are likely to get an investor who has strategic experience, so they can provide tactical benefit to the company they are investing in.

Find out what makes angel investors fund a business here.

Venture capitalists

Venture capital is money that is given to help build new startups that are considered to have both high-growth and high-risk potential. Fast-growth companies with an exit strategy already in place can gain up to tens of millions of dollars that can be used to invest, network and grow their company frequently.

Brian Haughey, assistant professor of finance and director of the investment center at Marist College, said that because venture capitalists focus on specific industries, they can generally offer advice to entrepreneurs on whether the product will be successful or what they need to do to bring it to market. However, venture capitalists have a short leash when it comes to company loyalty and often look to recover their investment within a three- to five-year time window, he said.

Learn more about venture capital here.

Factoring/invoice advances

Through this process, a service provider will front you the money on invoices that have been billed out, which you then pay back once the customer has settled the bill. This way, the business can grow by providing the funds necessary to keep it going while waiting for customers to pay for outstanding invoices.

Eyal Shinar, CEO of small business cash flow management company Fundbox, says these advances allow companies to close the pay gap between billed work and payments to suppliers and contractors.

By closing the pay gap, companies can accept new projects more quickly, Shinar told Business News Daily. Our goal is to help business owners grow their businesses and hire new workers by ensuring steady cash flow.

Visit BND s guide to choosing a factoring service here.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo can give a boost to financing a small business. These sites allow businesses to pool small investments from a number of investors instead of having to look for a single investment.

Make sure to read the fine print of different crowdfunding sites before making your choice, as some sites have payment-processing fees, or require businesses to raise their full stated goal in order to keep any of the money raised.

Check out some emerging trends in crowdfunding here.

Grants

Businesses focused on science or research may be able to get grants from the government. The SBA offers grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Recipients of these grants are required to meet federal research-and-development goals, and have a high potential for commercialization.

Learn more about applying for a small business grant here.

Additional reporting by Katherine Arline and Nicole Taylor. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Jennifer Post graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a Bachelor s Degree in Journalism. Having worked in the food industry, print and online journalism, and marketing, she is now a freelance contributor for Business News Daily. When she s not working, you will find her exploring her current town of Cape May, NJ or binge watching Pretty Little Liars for the 700th time.



Show Me the Money: 7 Ways to Get Funding for Your Business

Show Me the Money: 7 Ways to Get Funding for Your Business Idea

Funding for business

Having a big, billion-dollar idea for a new company or start-up is great—but now what? You probably need a website, a tech team, some office space, and, of course, at least enough cash coming in each month to pay your rent.

Which means, you need money. Whether it’s a cool new app or a swanky café, most businesses and most entrepreneurs require at least a little bit of funding to really get off the ground in their early days.

As an executive member of BizFilings , I’m often asked by entrepreneurs for help finding funding. The good news is, there are quite a few places to get it (and many that are frequently overlooked). Read on for a first-time founder’s guide to where to look for funding, and which type might be right for you.

Begin With Bootstrapping

When first getting started, many entrepreneurs use “bootstrapping,” which means financing your company by scraping together any personal funds you can find. This typically includes your savings account, credit cards, and any home equity lines you may have.

In many cases, using the money you have instead of borrowing or raising is a great approach—in fact, some entrepreneurs continue to bootstrap until their business is profitable. This can be beneficial because it means you won’t have extensive loans and monthly payments that bog you down, especially if you run into snags along the way.

But, if you’re looking to scale your business quickly, it can be advantageous to bring in outside sources of funding. So, what happens when your funds run out, or you decide you need something more? That will ultimately depend on the type of business you’re building, but there are some common places to start.

Consider Friends and Family

Asking your friends and family for money might seem like a daunting prospect—but tapping those closest to you is often a good first step before getting external funding. And hey, it can never hurt to ask. While Aunt Irene is probably not in a position to finance your entire new social network for dog owners, she may be impressed enough to toss you a couple grand to help you get rolling (and join the site to find Fido some new playmates).

Before you ask your friends and family for money, though, you should have a business plan at the ready. This way, you can explain to them exactly what you’re selling, what you plan on charging, how you’ll make money, and whether you’re asking for a loan, an investment, or a gift (i.e., whether or not they should expect to get back any money they put into your business, and if so, how much).

Explore Alternative Funding Sources

If you’re looking for a relatively small amount of money (anywhere from $25 to $5,000), there are quite a few micro-loan organizations that lend to start-ups and entrepreneurs, such as Kiva and Accion . These websites cater to low-income entrepreneurs in the U.S. or those working for social good (and some only provide micro-loans to those living below the poverty line). But if you think you might qualify, check out their websites for more information.

Another alternative are the increasingly popular crowd-funding sites, such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, which provide you a platform to raise money from individual, small supporters across the web. You’ll set up a campaign and name a target amount of money you want to raise, as well as create perks for donors who pledge a certain amount of money. Then, you raise money for the campaign over a specified time period. With Kickstarter, you’ll only get to keep the money if you raise the full amount of your goal, but IndieGoGo will let you keep anything you raise (for a cut of the proceeds). For more info, check out our guide to choosing between the two and maximizing your crowd-funding campaign .

Next: If You’re Running a Small Business

Look Local

If you’re launching a small company (vs. a tech start-up that you see as the next Facebook), you’ll definitely want to check out your local small business development center. Many universities have one, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) alone has 63 across the country. Not only can these centers help connect you with groups of entrepreneurs for networking and angel investors for funding, they can help you determine what type of loans and funding you might qualify for and help you apply. Your local chamber of commerce may also be a treasure trove of information and guidance in terms of where to get local funding. Many large cities have programs and organizations that exist solely to bring business into the local community.

Consider Taking Out Loans

If you can show that you’ve started gaining traction and making money (and that a loan would help you earn even more), you may be able to qualify for a traditional bank loan. Many banks, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, have recently announced increased commitment to small business. While each bank and individual situation differs, this may be a good bet if you’re looking to find funding between $5,000 and $500,000.

Next: If You’re Launching a Tech Start-up

Look to Angels

If you have a tech start-up, you’ll probably eventually need more capital to really get going— to hire people or get office space, for example—than bootstrapping and crowd-funding will afford you. You’ll likely need to reach out to outside investors. A good place to start is angel investors, usually established business professionals with high net worths who are looking to invest in promising companies. Typically, an angel will invest anywhere from $10,000 to a few million dollars.

To find angels, ask other entrepreneurs in your network, or check out the Angel Capital Association , which counts over 330 angel investor groups nationwide. You can also look at AngelList , a website that helps entrepreneurs make connections with interested investors. So far, the site has helped more than 1,000 start-ups get funded.

In addition to making direct loans, angel investing groups sometimes host events or competitions that can help provide new entrepreneurs with additional networking opportunities. Check your local community for these groups.

Venturing into Bigger Capital

If you’re looking for some serious funding (at least $1 million), you’ll need to turn to venture capital. Venture capitalists (VCs) are more likely to require an in-depth and airtight business plan, but they can also give you larger amounts of money.

VCs typically invest in a few different companies for their clients, and hope to make money off of one (or all) of them to pay back their client’s investments. What that means for you is that they see all kinds of businesses—and you have to make yours stand out . Also, you should know that VCs are looking for a return anywhere from 3-10 times their original investment, usually within the next 5-7 years, so it’s best to have an exit strategy in mind.

The best way to get meetings with VCs is through introductions from other entrepreneurs or investors—which means that if you’ve decided to solicit VC money, it’s time to leverage your contacts (and their networks) to see who you can talk to. Don’t have any contacts? It’s more of a gamble, but you can also browse the National Venture Capital Association website and pitch your business to the ones you find a connection with. While cold-calling a venture capitalist may not be the easiest feat, it’s somewhere to start.

Ready to Launch

Finding funding can be the hardest part of getting your business off the ground, but also the most rewarding. Once you’ve saved, gotten approved for a loan, or found other people to invest in your business, you can get back to—or start—your dream job! Though it can be a long road to success, finding allies along the way (whether they’re friends, angel investors, or venture capitalists) to help keep your business afloat can make all the difference in the world. Good luck!



Fundable, Crowdfunding for Small Businesses, business funding.#Business #funding


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The Business grants and funding available to UK small businesses, business funding.#Business

Government Grants

The government grants section has a wealth of articles and advice on how UK small businesses can get a grant from both the public and private sector, along with helpful guides on the different types of business grants and funding available to business owners starting and running a business.

A small business grants guide for 2017

Here, Peter Fleming takes a look at a range of options for funding your business through grants this year.

There are many European and UK-wide government business grant schemes; there are also local business funding schemes provided through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) or through local authorities and organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce. However there were 512 registered schemes at the last count! So a good place to start your research is on the government website.

Business grants are available at a local and national level and usually sector specific. They offer between £1,000 and £100,000 for SMEs, but funds can be unlimited for larger businesses within EU state aid programmes.

With grants you don’t pay the money back. However, it’s worth noting there will be clawback terms if you falsify claims in respect to expected outputs set by the grant scheme. Therefore, ensure your application is captivating and thorough as it will go through a due diligence process.

Normally there are two stages, submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to ensure your business and grant application meets the scope of the grant call and then a full application process whereby you will need to supply, market research, a business plan and at least 1-3 years of financial forecasts.

Throughout the process, you will need to justify there is additionality i.e. not just the reason why you need funding, but by obtaining a grant, how many new jobs you will create, if you’re opening up new markets or export opportunities or that your idea could be a game changer.

It is always worth getting a second opinion regarding the feasibility and strength of your application against the grant objectives and any regional strategic economic plan. Therefore speak to your accountant, a local business adviser or the Growth Hub.

The larger grant opportunities can be competitive and therefore be a long-drawn-out process, taking several months in some cases to receive just an offer. So if you are looking for subsidies and money quickly a grant may not be the right solution for your business.

It is also worth noting if your application is successful, grant moneys are not paid upfront but claimed normally at the back end of the project or even after any intervention is completed.

Therefore you will need to use your own cash reserves and any other funding prior to drawing down the grant money. I have even known businesses take out bridging loans till they have received their grant funds.

Some key areas of your business whereby you could access business advice or a grant;

Business advice and support, whether you are pre-start, a new start or an established business, there are regional Business Growth Hubs across the UK whereby you can obtain free or funded advice. You can normally obtain specialist support to devise a business growth strategy, do market research to create a sales and marketing plan, implement social media management or even get advice on how to apply for further funding.

Note each UK region may have a focus on specific business sectors, business sizes and locations, as eligibility can be even post code specific.

Skills and development government grants

The Skills Funding Agency oversees the current apprenticeship scheme, however on May 1st 2017 the new Apprenticeship Levy scheme starts whereby your business could access subsidised training and development to upskill existing employees to even Master’s degree level.

Many regional Universities, Colleges and further education organisations will be offering a multitude of subsidised short courses or funded degree level programmes which will help you develop your existing staff to be the managers and directors of the future.

If your business is within a rural development area and looking to grow, invest in infrastructure, machinery or seek specialist advice to diversify. Or if your business is involved with forestry and land projects the government have a scheme called LEADER managed through Local Action Groups.

The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund is a new energy efficiency support service for small and medium-sized companies in England, Scotland and Wales.

It provides direct funded support through energy assessments, training workshops, equipment procurement support and up to £10,000 capital contribution towards the purchase of energy saving equipment.

Manufacturing is an area which is increasingly supported through grant schemes. Therefore if you manufacture textiles, specialist tooling, operate in the digital market, within the nuclear supply chain or need support for international trade, or manufacture in many other sectors, there is likely to be a grant scheme that your business can access.

Innovation, Research and Development

Innovate UK, offers support and funding to help businesses develop new products and services and bring them closer to market, this may be to bring people together to share ideas, tackle challenges and make new technological advances.

They targets technologies and areas with the greatest scope to improve business, the economy and society.

Local Enterprise Partnership

For anyone looking for grants at the moment, the go-to people will be their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). One of the main functions of the LEPS is to generate economic growth and so many have their own grants programmes.

In addition, most provide some form of business support and advice. As part of the business advice service they collate information on local and national grants and will signpost business owners to the relevant organisations.

Another great source of information is the government ‘Business is Great’ website which has a page dedicated to a number of funds to support innovation.

There is also is an EU tool which does a better job than anything I’ve seen of clarifying what finance is available across the EU including although is does require some persistence in searching to get to the information.

For companies and individuals with ground breaking research which may require significant funding there is also Horizon 2020:

Grant funding is not for everyone but could give your business the boost it needs. Proper preparation, thorough research, getting professional advice and being able to clearly explain why you require your grant funding is more likely to lead to a successful application. And, as a result, help you obtain the financial support for a better, bigger and more profitable business for you.



More Than 15 Small Business Funding Resources for You, small business funding.#Small

More Than 15 Small Business Funding Resources for You

Small business funding

Most small business owners can identify with the challenges of getting financing for their business or funding for a new product. There s no short, easy road to funding, most of the time, but these small business funding resources can help.

Kabbage

Kabbage has to be the most unique small business funding source found recently. They have created a powerful platform that, in my understanding, is creating a real-life look at how your business is doing to help you grow it.

They don t only look at credit scores, as so many traditional lenders do. They look at things like your Paypal, Ebay, Amazon, or Intuit QuickBooks account to figure out if you qualify and how much of a credit line you can receive. It is impressive.

Kiva Zip

Another innovative program and approach is found with Kiva, the microfinance platform. Etsy wrote about it. There is official information about zero interest (0%) with the Kiva Zip program (in Alpha, not even in Beta), and success stories on the main page.

The Lending Club

The Lending Club is a name that many consumers and business owners have heard before, but it is a site worth checking. Their peer-to-peer approach has taken the banking world by storm and it looks likely to continue in the business loan sector.

SmartBiz SBA Loans

SmartBiz SBA Loans ($5,000 $150,000) is a small business lender, but one that promises a much better process than traditional banks, on SBA type loans. If you ve ever gone through the SBA formal process, you know that it is rather comprehensive.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle has a large UK presence as well as a US site. It is an online marketplace for small business loans. The site explains you can find out in approximately one week if you qualify for a loan.

MultiFunding

Ami Kassar CEO of MultiFunding has a useful website on how the different funding options work and his consulting brokerage serves as a matchmaker for businesses that need more than just the best rate and need help with more complicated loan options.

OnDeck and BoeFly

Here are a couple of other small business loan providers that are promising an easier process, lower rates, and other options that might make their loans more appealing to you. OnDeck and BoeFly.

QuickBooks Financing

QuickBooks Financing has a site dedicated to helping you find the right financing. It is a matching engine that allows their selected lenders to provide you with the right loan. I m presuming it also uses some of your QuickBooks data, but I m not certain of that as I did not submit data on the form.

Wells Fargo and SBA Bank of America

There is no shortage of traditional lenders where you can walk into a branch and talk to someone about an SBA loan, so I would be remiss for not including at least a couple that I believe in. The Wells Fargo small business loan page offers a range of good information. And the SBA Loan page at Bank of America may help you sort different SBA options.

Factoring

If you have ever considered factoring, where you get financing based on your receivables, then I recommend this guide from RTS Financial, Your Complete Guide To Factoring.

PayPal Working Capital

PayPal Working Capital lets you pay your loan back as you get paid. A factoring method, of sorts.

Chase Mission Main Street Grants

One of my favorite places to look for less traditional financing options is the Small Business Events here on Small Business Trends. I used it to help compile this list, so I know there are some great funding options, often awards or contests, worth considering. This Chase Mission Main Street Grants is a terrific example. There is new information on the 2014 program.

Government Grants

You may need help to understand if a Government grant is worth pursuing. There are some large scale federal programs that pass funds through to universities and other nonprofit type institutions where you can sometimes find just the right help for your company.

City and State Level Resources

As I mentioned above, there are many city and state level resources, but too many to explain. If you search for your city or state combined with economic development, small business funding, and other related terms, you may find a niche program that serves your needs.

Here is a page from the Nevada Small Business Development Center where you ll get an idea of what you find at the state level. There are community-focused programs, as an example of a city program, for the Philadelphia area, Loan Programs City of Philadelphia Business Services Center. Scroll down through the long list to find the smaller loan amounts.

Opportunity Finance Network

Opportunity Finance Network (part of Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses initiative) is a big initiative sponsored by Goldman Sachs. The goal is to help educate business owners on a wide range of topics, to give you the best chance for success, in addition to access to capital. You must have an established business, with revenues.

There are plenty of sites that offer business loans too many to try and list. There are resources at the State and City level, depending on where you live, that can help you financially. There are also lists of USA State websites that offer resources or details around funding and details available on what it takes to qualify for a small business loan as well as sources of start-up funding.

We welcome you to list resources in the comments. We want to see the path to funding get easier, more transparent, and understandable for small business as a whole and we hope these resources do that for you.

If you have discovered a great resource that can help a small business owner find financing or a grant, please share it below.