If you are in need of funding, whose opinion do you ask? Your co-worker? Yahoo Answers? Google? NPR? The options are endless, but they are usually not the best way to find the best answers. Industry insiders are not shy about their opinions on the issue, and thankfully they give good advice. Below are some of their recommendations for small business funding.
Crowdfunding: This is the new guy on the block, as well as the hot topic in terms of small business funding. While those with a big online following can reap its benefits, most cannot, and while you may raise some funds, you have to take into account that most of these sites charge a percentage to house your fundraiser.
Non-Profit Grants: These grants are often overlooked, but they are well-worth it if you are eligible. Nonprofits are also a great way to market your company. If you advertise or collaborate with an organization, you will not just get great exposure and support, but you can also claim a tax write-off that will ease your burden.
Government Grants: If you are a woman or a minority, you should look here first for small business funding. According to the government, 80% of grants go unused – and many small business owners can take advantage of this little-used funding option.
Training Scholarships: This is targeted at women, as well, for the most part. Organizations like Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC) offer thousands of dollars in entrepreneurship and corporate training to help you learn the skills you need to launch or take your business to the next level.
Merchant Cash Advance: This is more applicable for most small business merchants. From those in “mainstream” industries to those in “high risk” industries, as long as you have a merchant account, you are probably eligible for this service. This isn’t a loan, but rather a “buy in” to your future credit card sales. When you make a credit card sale, a certain amount is paid back to the merchant account provider. The process is that simple, and while you have to pay this back (unlike a grant) it is the most widespread way to get funding for your small business.