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Startup Financing: How to Fund Your New Small Business Venture


Startup Financing: How to Fund Your New Small Business Venture

Every entrepreneur faces a pivotal moment shortly after conceptualizing a startup business idea - how to get your venture up and running by financing its launch. Whether you want to disrupt an industry with innovative technology or meet an unmet consumer need locally, you’ll need capital to transform your business concept into reality.


However, determining where and how to raise capital can seem daunting for many aspiring founders developing their first startup companies. There are many financing options to consider between loans, venture capital, crowdfunding platforms, and more. And the choices you make early on can have consequences for your business in both the short and long term. 


This comprehensive guide examines the most viable funding sources available for startups and small businesses. It outlines the pros and cons of each approach so you can wisely weigh the tradeoffs for your unique situation. You’ll also gain insider tips to strengthen your chances of getting approved for financing to get your business idea off the ground.


Article Outline


  1. Key Startup Financing Options 

  2. Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Startup Financing

  3. Tips to Strengthen Your Chances of Securing Funding 

  4. Startup Financing Considerations By Stage

  5. Key Takeaways


Key Startup Financing Options


Key Startup Financing Options

Small Business Administration Loans


A popular option for new startups and small business owners is small business administration (SBA) loans. The government backs SBA loans to incentivize lenders to fund entrepreneurs and early-stage companies they may otherwise view as too risky. 

There are a few main types of SBA small business loans to consider:


7(a) Loans – The most common SBA loan, used for various general business purposes like working capital, equipment purchases, or commercial real estate. Maximum amounts go up to $5 million.


504 Loans – Used specifically to purchase fixed assets like real estate or heavy equipment. Requires 10% down from the borrower.


Microloans – Offer smaller loan amounts up to $50,000. It is helpful for very early-stage financing needs.


SBA loans offer longer repayment terms of up to 25 years and competitive interest rates since the government guarantees a portion. This can facilitate getting a business loan that might normally be difficult for a fledgling startup business.


The downside is that the SBA application process is extensive and has strict eligibility and reporting requirements. And you still need good personal credit and possibly some collateral to secure approval.


Business Lines of Credit


Business lines of credit function similarly to credit cards by providing revolving access to capital, where you only tap what you need. Lines of credit offer more flexibility than term loans since there are no fixed monthly payments. As your business fluctuates, you can draw down variable amounts as needed to help with operating expenses and cash flow management.


Lines of credit tend to have higher variable interest rates but don’t require collateral for approved applicants with strong credit. This type of funding works well for established businesses looking to expand. Startups generally need more traction before qualifying.


Venture Capital Investment


Many tech startups and innovative emerging companies choose venture capital to raise substantial capital quickly to fund rapid growth plans. Venture capital firms raise pools of money from institutions and wealthy individuals to invest in early-stage businesses with exceptional scale potential in exchange for equity shares.

 

The VC investment process occurs in rounds, starting with smaller seed funding and progressing to larger Series A, B, and C funding rounds. VCs help fill a startup’s need for capital to accelerate hiring, product development, and marketing efforts to capture market share aggressively.


While venture capital offers the benefit of raising sizable capital fast, you trade significant control and ownership stakes in your company. The investment partners will also expect a 5-10x return on investment within about five years via a buyout or public offering. This short-term focus can conflict with the founders’ longer-term priorities.


Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide a platform for startups and entrepreneurs to raise money from small investments made by a large collective of individuals. The concept taps into the “wisdom of the crowds” for funding ventures the broader public wants to support.


Campaigns typically seek to raise limited capital, often less than $50,000. But crowdfunding offers other unique advantages - market validation, future customers, brand ambassadors, and valuable product feedback derived from putting your idea out to the public. However, developing and managing crowdfunding campaigns can be extremely labor and resource-intensive.


Bootstrapping Your Startup


Bootstrapping means self-funding your startup by leaning on your personal savings and assets or taking on debt via personal loans or credit cards. Many founders bootstraped in the very early days by living frugally and maintaining full-time jobs for income to put toward their side ventures.


Almost all startups bootstrap initially in their infancy when raising funding would be difficult regardless. However, at some point, sufficient capital is required to establish and advance operations formally. Bootstrapping too long can hold back critical growth.


Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Startup Financing


There are several important variables to assess when determining the best funding sources to pursue:


1. How much control are you willing to forfeit?

A balance exists between control and capital. Debt instruments like loans allow you to maintain control but scale slowly. Giving up ownership shares to investors funds growth rapidly yet dilutes control. Find your sweet spot.


2. What stage is your startup at presently? 

Funding eligibility depends greatly on your startup’s maturity, revenue levels, assets, and growth prospects. Assess your company realistically before setting funding expectations.

 

3. How confident are you in your ability to repay debt?

Loans come with legal obligations for repayment regardless of your financial situation. So, significant debt burdens can be dangerous unless you expect healthy near-term revenue.


4. Do you meet credit score, collateral, and eligibility requirements?

Debt-based financing depends heavily on your creditworthiness and any hard assets that can be put up as security. Know where you stand.


5. Does a source offer more than just capital? 

Evaluate prospective funding partners on dollar amounts and beyond the money they provide. Do their networks, expertise, or connections unlock growth?


There are always trade-offs to weigh. Set clear priorities for what matters most before reacting to the first funding offer you get. Your business decisions now lay the foundation for financing options later. So choose wisely.


Tips to Strengthen Your Chances of Securing Funding 


Follow these guideposts to inspire investor confidence in your startup:


  • Develop a quality business plan. Demonstrate you've validated customers’ needs, researched your market opportunity size, mapped out operations, and formulated detailed financial projections. This inspires confidence in your readiness.  

  • Maintain a strong personal credit score. Funders will thoroughly vet your business and personal financial history before issuing credit or capital. Manage your credit responsibly.

  • Be transparent and consistent with finances. Clearly communicate past income sources and spending habits, indicating how you may handle investment capital. 

  • Summarize your background and accomplishments. Connect how your past experiences and skills equip you to execute this business venture to drive strong returns.

  • Commit some “skin in the game" upfront. Put your savings or assets on the line before asking others to back your idea. This builds trust through shared risk.


Startup Financing Considerations By Stage


Pre-Venture Stage 


Funding needs are low in the earliest developmental phases, but so is outside financing eligibility. Begin brainstorming how to self-finance your way forward. Reducing living expenses helps direct more income towards your side hustle until revenue ramps up. 

Every dollar counts pre-launch. Look into options for small loans under $50k, such as SBA microloans, community development loans, or pitching “friends and family”. Stay laser-focused on conserving capital and achieving small milestones.


Early Stage 


As you formalize your startup, sufficient capital should fund essential operations – legal entity formation, billing systems, website development, prototyping, etc. 


Having invested substantial sweat equity, sharpening your concept now begins the capital-seeking stages. Work your connections to identify affluent individuals who may invest smaller sums to get your business off the ground. Have a solid pitch deck summarizing your business plan and growth roadmap.


Now is also the time to check if you qualify for traditional small business loans, grants, or crowd-sourced capital campaigns to round out funds. Budget wisely and keep the burn rate low until revenue from first customers hopefully fuels sustainability.


Growth Stage


After finding early sales traction and product-market fit, you need further capital to meet scaling demands – more inventory, expanded production, and additional talent. Requirements likely exceed what bootstrapping or debt financing can provide.


Seeking equity financing from angel investors or venture capital firms is advantageous now to fund more aggressive expansion plans. Outline how capital will pour into heavy upfront marketing, product enhancements, or distribution infrastructure to widen market reach rapidly.


Your proven concept is attractive, but remember, investors seek large multiples of returns within roughly five years. So, plan for buyout offers or initial public offering exits eventually. Manage conflicts between this short-term and your long-term vision.


Key Takeaways


Startup Financing Considerations By Stage

There are many approaches to choose from to get your startup funded, ranging from debt instruments like loans to equity deals with angel and venture investors. Every funding source has its own eligibility requirements, application processes, advantages, and disadvantages.


Avoid going with the first option available without exploring what makes the most strategic sense aligning to your business lifecycle stage and objectives. Set priorities, run analyses, weigh tradeoffs, and educate yourself on each financing mechanism to chart the optimal funding mix powering your entrepreneurial aspirations.


Get your funds for your business with Lendtek and get matched with the perfect lender. Click here to apply!

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