As an entrepreneur, how have you financed your startup?
To help finance your next startup, we asked business professionals and leaders this question for their insights. From crowdfunding to savings from a full-time job, there are several ways to fund a startup.
Here are 9 ways entrepreneurs finance their startups:
- Look into Commerce Authority Programs
- Partner with Others
- Finance with Commercial Bridge Loans
- Connect with Local Non-Profits and Support Networks
- Raise from Crowdfunding
- Apply for Small Business Grants
- Pitch to Potential Investors
- Ask for Support from Family and Friends
- Save Your Full-Time Salary
Look into Commerce Authority Programs
I’ve bootstrapped the financing of our company for 10 years, but programs from a local commerce authority can certainly help support and fund new initiatives. For example, the Arizona Commerce Authority offers programs such as the Small Business Capital Investment Incentive Program, where the ACA may certify up to $2.5M [US$] in tax credits each fiscal year, or the Rapid Employment Job Training Grant, a reimbursement for training and development expenses. Look into the programs at your local commerce authority, as many small businesses and startups may discover funding and grant incentives designed just for them. — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Partner with Others
Financing your business with partners to fund your growth in exchange for special access to your product, staff, distribution rights, ultimate sale, or some combination of those items using strategic partner financing is the best strategy to finance your startup. I’ve noticed that this option is often neglected. Strategic investments are similar to venture capitalism in that it is typically a stock sale (rather than a loan), yet it can also be royalty-based, in which the partner receives a portion of every sale, in my opinion. Partner financing is a great option because the firm you partner with is likely to be a huge corporation, and it may even be in a similar industry or one that has a stake in your company. — Carey Wilbur, Charter Capital
Finance with Commercial Bridge Loans
We like to overcome the obstacle of financing small businesses by bringing innovative solutions to the table. One such solution is our commercial bridge loans, which are flexible short-term financing options for commercial real estate properties. This might be a great option for fast growing businesses as they continue to grow and scale their operations.
As loan experts, we commit to truly helping clients as advisors. If you’re just starting a business, consider consulting a lending expert. Make sure your needs are heard and that you are provided with affordable options to choose from. — Allan J. Switalski, AVANA Capital
Connect with local Non-Profits and Support Networks
In addition to bootstrapping, local not-for-profit organizations and networks that support female entrepreneurs are some great ways to fund your startup. You can find funding and investors through these kinds of organizations like we did when we found Beam. One of the other great things about organizations like Beam is that you will become part of a network you can lean on for support and can also find mentorship from business professionals in your area. This mentorship can make a huge difference in helping you grow your business. Also, there’s a lot of grants out there that support female-founded businesses which require a little extra upfront research and work but another great avenue to fund the business.
— Sara Shah, Journ
Raise from Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding may be an alternative if you have a hot idea and are good at social media. When crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo were launched, there were a lot of enterprises that had significant success raising funds through their reach.
What’s the disadvantage? Because many businesses seek funding through crowdfunding, you must build a lot of buzz in order to cut through the total signal noise. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to overextend yourself and irritate backers, which can lead to a lot of resentment before your firm even gets off the ground. — Veronica Miller, VPNOverview
Apply for Small Business Grants
I usually advise startups to consult small business grant administrators to fund your startups. Especially, when your new company is a pioneer and investing in innovative technologies and techniques, more funding opportunities arise. What’s more, small businesses founded by women, minorities, or veterans are often eligible for grants from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other organizations that promote entrepreneurship. If you fall into one of these categories, you should contact your local SBA branch or chamber of commerce to see if there is any local grant money available. — Spiros Skolarikis, Comidor
Pitch to potential Investors
We joined an accelerator program that connected us to investors. In turn, they take a share in the company in exchange for capital. The ownership-to-capital ratios are variable and are usually determined by a company’s valuation. I believe this is a wonderful option for companies who don’t have physical collateral to serve as a lien on a bank’s loan. However, it is only a good fit when there is a proven high growth potential as well as a competitive advantage of some sort, such as a patent or a captive consumer. Another advantage of working with investors is that they may give you a wealth of information, industry connections, and a clear path for your company. — Guy Katabi, Lightkey
Ask for support from Family and Friends
Borrowing money from friends and family is a traditional method of starting a business. While it may be more difficult to persuade investors or banks of the excellence of your idea, your family and friends will typically trust in your ambition.
They might be more willing to contribute to the funding of your company. If you do seek loans from friends and family, make sure that each of you has appropriate legal guidance, especially if the money is taken as a loan. However, what about the disadvantages? Borrowing money is an easy way to alienate friends and ruin family relationships. If you decide to go this route, go with caution. — Edward Mellett, Wikijob
Save your full-time Salary
I financed my startup with the salary from my full-time job. I was fortunate to have a good paying job as a software engineer, which enabled me to fuel my startup while it was just a side hustle. I’ve never been a big spender, and I live modestly: this low-cost lifestyle left me with enough money to feed my business while getting it off the ground. I have since quit my job and operate my small business with the money it generates. –– Andy Kolodgie, Cash Home Buyers Georgia