Most new small businesses begin with an idea. Something the new owner is either passionate about or believes is needed in the marketplace to fill a much needed void. Making the transition from good idea to start-up small business is a big step in many ways.
The biggest roadblock faced from concept to fruition is financing. Having a great idea or the desire to turn a passion into a business requires capital. The new small business owner’s personal credit cards are often one of the first options explored. But there are other, more creative ways to make a dream become reality.
Many a small business has been started at home to save on expenses and to limit the need for new capital. Once a steady stream of income can be relied upon, making the move to a commercial building is more realistic.
The equity in the home itself is another source of funds. As are other assets such as 401(k) retirement plans. Many such plans allow for easy to obtain loans so new small business owners can avoid early withdrawal penalties. The terms tend to be favorable as well, since the funds are secured by plan assets. The same concept applies to cash value life insurance policies.
Other Early Financing Options
Share your passionate idea with others; they may see the same opportunity and be willing to invest. Friends and family are alternatives of course, but there are also Angel Investors that recognize a good opportunity. Your local business networking groups and associations are good starting points.
Check out the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Micro Loan program. These are programs specifically designed for small businesses. Loans can range from as low $100 up to $35,000 and are funded by non-profit Intermediaries. The SBA has a number of other programs as well targeting women, minorities, disabled business owners, and those in disadvantaged areas. These programs and others were developed with the small business owner in mind.
The Internet has spawned a relatively new financing method called Social Lending. Sites such as prosper.com and lendingclub.com allow you to post financing requests dictating the maximum interest you will pay and terms. Investors then bid on your request until there are enough to fund the loan.