For entrepreneurs in all stages of the business lifecycle, finding funding to jumpstart your business is an integral part of the journey. Not having access to enough capital can quickly derail even the most well laid-out plans, and it’s a problem many entrepreneurs still face, in spite of improving consumer and business confidence. According to the Federal Reserve’s Joint Small Business Credit Survey, 50 percent of small businesses received none of the financing they had applied for in the first half of 2014.
If you’re like many entrepreneurs who have been denied for traditional small business financing, here are four alternatives that can help you secure the funding you need to get your business off the ground:
With peer-to-peer lending (also known as crowdlending), an individual or institution lends money directly to a business, taking banks out of the equation. This funding solution is best for entrepreneurs with a solid credit score who may have been denied for traditional financing methods. Lending platforms like Prosper and LendingClub offer an online marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, connecting borrowers with lenders. Just remember: because it involves working with individual investors, the application/approval processes may not be as streamlined as those at a bank, and interest rates may be higher.
Rollover for Business Start-up (ROBS)
This alternative business financing method is becoming more and more popular as entrepreneurs seek access to capital. With a Rollover for Business Start-up, entrepreneurs can use funds in an eligible retirement account (like a 401(k), IRA, etc.) to invest in their business without incurring any tax penalties or getting a loan. This provides immediate capitalization to the business with equity, not debt, meaning there are no interest rates or monthly repayments to worry about. Navigating the associated tax and ERISA rules can be overwhelming for many, though, which is why it’s wise to work with a qualified ROBS provider throughout the process.
Crowdfunding – raising money from a large pool of small-amount investors, typically through the Internet – is a rapidly growing source of successful funding. It works in one of two ways: rewards-based, in which investors receive some type of perk for their support, or equity-based.
Crowdfunding is best used as short-term capital as it rarely raises enough to sustain a business long-term. It also provides an excellent opportunity to determine market validation; the more investments received, the more obvious it becomes that there’s a need for the product/service.
Similar to business credit cards, unsecured loans offer revolving lines of credit, with no collateral required, based on personal credit history. Borrowers may draw against the funds as needed, then pay back as they go. As with crowdfunding, unsecured business loans work best as a short-term financing solution since long-term interest rates can be high, especially if the borrower’s credit score/history is less than favorable.
More Options, More Opportunity
These alternatives to traditional lending create exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs. Every day, more entrepreneurs use them to successfully realize their business dreams and make their impact.