How to Raise Money for a Business?

The capital is one of the first things that needs to be taken into consideration when one is setting out on a business venture, and there are many different sources to obtain this capital. It is not necessary to stick to one particular source rigidly; even a combination of various different sources can be used.

Anyone who is wondering how to raise money for a restaurant, a start-up, an advertising agency, or any other small-scale venture should keep these methods in mind. Approaching the right people for it is vitally important for the success of the business, and if this is not catered to properly, it will be doomed from the very beginning.

Personal Savings

This is the most obvious source of money for starting a business. If you have saved up enough money over the years, go ahead and make use of it to serve the underlying purpose. You will not be answerable to anyone, and you will not have to worry about repaying someone. If you choose this option, ensure that you are not using all your savings though. Many people neglect this option because if they lose it, they will have nothing left to live on.

Venture Capitalists

This is the next most obvious source for your initiative. Venture capitalists are professional agencies who put in venture capital into an upcoming business. What they get in return is either its share, or a share of the profits, or pretty high interest rates. It may sound like exploitation, but this is one of the best ways to get money. Venture capitalists are always looking for new and innovative business ideas that are likely to succeed.

Angel Investors

These are a refined form of venture capitalists, but many people think that they mean the same thing. Angel investors are less demanding than venture capitalists and remain with your initiative in the long run. Usually, these are someone who you would know personally, and they are simply looking for ways to get a higher return on their investment. How companies raise money depends a lot on the nature of the business and the method of entrepreneurship adopted. Angel investors also help them by providing some guidance and mentoring.

Personal Borrowings

Here is a method that should be avoided as far as possible. You can borrow money from someone you know, namely your friends, family, or other people. The problem here is that once you mix business and personal relationships, things start to get a bit sour. This is a situation that needs to be handled with great tact and diplomacy, and not everyone can manage to do that. Still, this is a method that many people consider.

Bank Loans

Another answer is to approach a bank for a small loan. With banks, you will not be required to pay a very high interest rate, but you will need sufficient documentation about the business model of your initiative. Along with that, your credit history and financial stability will also be scrutinized, in order to find if you are worthy of getting a loan. Most people would love to get it, but are simply not eligible. This is especially true for someone looking to collect the money, without owning any fixed assets.

Advertising

Here is another answer, but one that requires a suitable amount of investment and more than a fair share of patience. If you can handle the advertising of your upcoming company well, you can get more than enough money to sustain it in the long run. There are some websites that also allow you to advertise your business plan and then suit you up with a matching investor. This is a slightly unreliable method for sure, but it works wonders if one can find the right match.

Other Options

One can approach some small-business investment companies, business development commissions, life insurance companies, or a money broker. The reliability of these options will not be very high, and their demand may be exorbitant, but if you have run out of all other options, then this is something that you will need to resort to.

You should act as early as possible, in order to get sufficient capital and business financing. There is a variety of sources available, and as long as you have a great and reliable plan, you will be able to procure capital. It is not all that difficult; all you need more than anything else is faith in yourself.

How to Establish Business Credit?

With the rapid change in the financial world, everything related to finance is changing, whether it is credit facilities or investments. Steps are being taken to make everything simple, convenient, and fast. There is a consensus among financiers that businesses have different financial requirements, and there is a need to resolve them. One such step taken by these, which may help businesses, small or big, is to establish business credit. This is an option which you can avail of, where financial institutions provide loans, without needing the credit rating or the personal assets of the owner as security. And, most importantly, the organizations of every size and age can avail of it, whether it’s old or new, big or small. Whether you need finance for setting up or expanding the business, purchasing material or equipment, or advertising, this facility is always there for you.

Steps

There are various steps involved in establishing it. The first point that you should remember is to ensure strong fundamentals of your business. Moreover, you should also take care to see to it that you meet the requirements of financiers. Ensuring this would make listing of your business with commercial credit reporting agencies easier.

The next step is to develop a connection with suppliers and vendors. These suppliers and vendors should be such that they not just extend credit payments, but most importantly, report the history of your payments to the respective agencies. You need to have the backing of at least five such vendors, and they should not tie your personal guarantee or social security number while giving you such credit.

Obtaining credit cards for the same is the next step. You should get three such cards, but make sure that they are not connected to your personal credit. Moreover, you should also ensure that these credit card companies report your transactions and payment history to the concerned agencies. However, unluckily, there are not many types of such cards, which would consider approval without checking your personal credit report. In such a scenario, you should look around and search for such a card. Take your time in this step as it can be crucial. In case you are not able to pay your corporate bills on time, your personal credit would nosedive, even if you have an excellent history. Similarly, if your commercial credit history is excellent, but your personal one is not that good, it would affect your business ratings. So, it’s absolutely important to segregate both these entities. Once these steps are done, you can then opt to use these references so as to obtain bigger credits.

How to Establish It for the First Time?

Today, suppliers and creditors are increasingly checking, not only your personal, but also your commercial credit reports to decide on how much to lend and at what rate. This is the reason why it has become necessary to set up a separate report. In case you have set up your business for the first time and still haven’t established it, you can opt to get trade lines so that you can start building your respective report. You may incorporate or apply for a Limited Liability Company so that your business seems to be a separate entity. You can also get an Employer Identification Number from the Federal Government. Open up a bank account for it. Moreover, a dedicated phone line would do you a whole lot of good, but make sure that you list it. Once these steps are done, you can ask for business credit in the name of your company and start building a good score.

How to Establish It With Bad Personal Credit?

Even if you have a bad credit history, it is still possible to establish it. For this, you should legally separate from your business. If you don’t opt for this and you apply for one, your social security number would be used, and your bad personal credit would come in the way of getting you a good deal. For separating your personal finances from it, you need all the necessary licenses, and most importantly, apply for a tax ID number.

You need to start small as getting a business loan is easier for a startup without credit history, in case you have dropped your personal credit. Build it over time, paying off the amount you have borrowed on time and making the required payments on time.

You should not only concentrate on building the credit score of your business but also work on rebuilding your personal one, as well. Ultimately, you may need to approach a larger financier for a bigger loan, and in such cases, financial institutions consider both these scores.

Thus, the most important thing to remember, alike in all other cases, is that you should try to make your payments on time so that you can establish it fast. These are the necessary steps that will help you to build up a good credit score.

What is a Business Bottom Line?

There are many ways to determine if a business is in profit or loss. The most effective way of obtaining the profit and loss status of an organization is referring to its financial statements. The balance sheet is a financial statement which gives a clear idea of the financial status of a firm. It comprises the bottom line, which is the last line in the audit, and is a critical point regarding profit or loss figures.

What is a Business Bottom Line?
Fundamentally, it is the amount of profit and gain realized after all the expenses and taxes have been paid off. Because bottom lines begin with the gross sales and then deduce taxes and disbursements to assert the net profits for a quarter, investors are able to promptly find out the current fiscal status of the organization. It sums up all the information, which is why, it is possible to know if a company is earning any net income from the business venture or whether the operation is presently functioning in red.

The bottom line can be a reason for rejoicing or can render motivation to make some modifications in the company operations and processes. When there is little or no net profit earned, the organization generally takes steps to better the profitability of the business. Depending upon the situation, the strategy and plan to increase profits might initiate from the management of an organization.

How to Increase Your Business Bottom Line?
Introduce and implement strategies that will provide appropriate solutions to people’s problems and needs. You are required to create marketing strategies which would effectively cater to the wants and needs of the public. Conduct a regular follow-up with people who may need your help and support. Maintain healthy relations with the public, marketing professionals, advertising agencies, and most importantly, your clients and customers. By doing so, you will get good business due to referrals from clients and customers who are satisfied with your services.

As the bottom line is the amount of profit earned after all the disbursements are paid back, a logical approach to meliorate it can be lessening the amount of resources that are related to covering expenses. Generally, this step includes a cut in departmental budgets, or at the very least, terminating discretionary funds which are called upon to deal with the expenses not covered in existing budgets. The cost cutting measures may also be supported by eliminating positions and combining responsibilities, cutting back on overtime allowances, and changing required number of full-time posts to part-time.

Along with the measures to trim the expenses and improve financial planning, the bottom line is usually raised by introducing and incorporating new revenue streams for an organization. This may include launching new products and services, or creating a new market for the existing line of products. The management tries its best to cut down on expenses, and implement new methods and strategies to attract business and increase income.

An Overview of Commercial Financing for Business

Financing a business, keeping the economic perspective in mind, is very different from obtaining a loan for personal reasons. From an economic perspective, the expenses that have to be borne by a business can be broadly classified into fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs remain the same, regardless of the level of production. In other words, whether or not a business is in operation, the amount of fixed costs will remain the same. Expenditure on machinery and equipment is an example of fixed cost. Variable costs, on the other hand, change, depending on the level of production. Variable costs are directly related to the level of production. The cost of raw materials is an example of variable cost. Hence, from the point of view of an economist: Total Cost = Total Fixed Cost + Total Variable Cost

From the perspective of accounting, costs can be classified as implicit or explicit. Explicit costs are expenses which can be accounted for in monetary terms. Both, rent and wages paid, are explicit costs. On the other hand, a businessman who does not pay his wife for assisting him in day-to-day workings of a business, is said to incur implicit costs. Hence, for the purpose of accounting, total cost can be defined as: Total Cost = Explicit Cost + Implicit Cost

Commercial financing is needed, not only during the start-up phase, but also during the development, operating, and growth phase.

Pioneer Phase/Start-up Phase

Seed Capitalists: Seed capital is usually provided by friends and family members of an entrepreneur. This funding is necessary for activities like market research in order to test the feasibility of the business venture. The amount of seed capital is usually small.

Angel Investors: A business can also be funded during the start-up phase by angel investors. Angel investors are affluent people who finance a business for reasons best known to them. In other words, return on investment (ROI) may not be the sole criteria for funding. Angel investors may not demand participation rights in the business and they generally provide finances on a small scale.

Venture Capitalists: Venture capital is provided by institutional investors like banks, hedge funds and pension funds, who believe that the enterprise is capable of generating long term profits. Venture capitalists usually come into the picture after the business has established a few basic operations. Since venture capitalists invest other people’s money, they are very particular about the return on investment (ROI). Moreover, they demand participation rights in the form of preferred stock, and they may also be a part of the Board of Directors.

Development, Operating, and Growth Phase

Commercial Construction and Real Estate Financing: Banks, credit unions and other lending institutions provide commercial construction loans. US Small Business Administration loans (SBA loans) are also available for small entrepreneurial ventures. Depending on the needs of the business, an entrepreneur can avail of acquisition and development loans, bridge loans, mini-perm loans, take-out loans, joint venture loans and loans for purchasing real estate . These loans supplement loans provided by venture capitalists and angel investors.

Asset Sale Leaseback: Asset sale leaseback is common in case of real estate. In this case the entrepreneur sells an asset only to rent it back from the buyer. The main reason for asset sale leaseback is to remove the asset from the balance sheet of a company while retaining its use. Asset sale leaseback is undertaken for accounting and tax purposes.

Leasing Equipment: Generally buying equipment does not pose a problem even if the business does not have adequate finance. This is because the equipment functions as collateral against which a business borrows money for purchasing the same. However, start-ups prefer leasing equipment. The business is required to make monthly payments towards the rent of leased equipment. At the end of the leasing period start-ups have the choice of either buying the equipment or continue leasing it.

Invoice Factoring: Many a time, a business uses invoice factoring in order to convert its accounts receivables to cash so that it can meet its expenses in case it encounters delay in receiving payments from the customer for services rendered. In case of invoice factoring, the business sells its invoice to a third party and receives up to 80% of the value of the invoice. Once the customer pays for the services rendered, the business obtains the remaining value of the invoice, less the amount of fee charged by the third party.

Lines of Credit: Lines of credit are usually obtained by the business to meet its working capital requirements and avoid cash flow problems. A line of credit, unlike a loan, is not a lump sum amount on which the borrower is expected to pay interest. Using a line of credit is similar to using a credit card. Depending on the needs of the borrower, the amount of money required can be withdrawn from the sanctioned loan, and interest is paid only on the amount used/withdrawn, and not on the amount sanctioned.

These are some ways of financing a commercial business. In addition to these, entrepreneurs can obtain a number of other short-term and long-term loans. They can also make use of credit card advances in case of good credit history. Financing is a prerequisite for the establishment and the successful operation of any business. Regardless of whether the business is in the pioneer, growth, or mature phase, the importance of commercial financing never diminishes, although the amount of finance required may vary.

Information on Raising Funds for Small Businesses

Obtaining the necessary funds to kick-start your small business start-up can be quite a challenging task. But before you get dejected, lets first take a look at what the numbers have to say. The average small business start-up cost to become an affiliate marketer for instance, is somewhere around $250, which is a small investment when comparing it with a $30,000 cash deposit, that is required to start a franchise.

But when you take into consideration all the other additional monthly expenses like rent, advertising, payroll and inventory, then you know that starting a small business is no ‘small’ deal. So, coming up with the necessary cash to fund your business can be very difficult when you have a car loan to pay, a mortgage to take care of, and a family to support.

Going the traditional way and opting for a loan from your bank won’t really get you very far, especially when you consider the fact that they don’t like lending out money to start-up businesses that have no assets or history. But, again do not let this dampen your spirit. It is time to take a look at all your personal assets. You never know, you might actually already have the required ‘wealth’ to get your small business started.

Sources for Funds

Here are some sources:

Life Insurance Policy
401(k) Plan
Friends and Family
Credit cards

These are all potential sources that can be tapped into. In doing so, you will raise money out of your own resources. It will give you full control over your money. And this control is the very thing you wanted in the first place right? That’s why you chose to become an entrepreneur!

If you do have a life insurance policy, then you can put it to work. Though it sounds weird, think about it – a life insurance policy will provide money to your family and spouse in the vent of your death. What most people don’t know is that you can actually borrow against the cash value of the life insurance policy, and then pay it back at flexible rates, on your own terms.

Next, you have the 401(k) Plan from your previous employer – all those monthly statements that you filed away so diligently but never cared to even look at. Though the whole concept of borrowing money from friends and family to start your business may sound like a simple one because you already have an inbuilt level of comfort and trust with them, but you need to understand that there are many risks involved as well. If things go smoothly, then you’ll probably be the Donald Trump or the entrepreneurial king of your family or your friend circle. But, if your business goes down the drain, then it will put stress on the relations you had with those closest to you. So, is this risk worth taking?

Now, take a long hard look at your credit card. The one that you used to buy that dinner, your computer, and those new shoes – yes this credit card can help you get your business off the ground. If none of these resources work for you, then you can always take the traditional route and opt for bank loans.

Business Loans Available

Long-term loans are probably the most common types of loans available. These loans can be used as a working capital funding source and you can repay them on a monthly basis over a term agreed with your bank or financial institution.
Short-term loans on the other hand are supposed to be repaid within a year in a lump sum, instead of monthly.
Credit lines are usually used for working capital funding. Instead of granting you the entire loan amount, the financial institution will give you a certain amount each year.

Some Other Sources

When looking around for small business funding resources, your bank should be your first stop, especially if you have a history of working together before. Familiarity does go a long way in clearing any insecurities and doubts. There are many other types of lenders as well, the only differentiating factor between each of them would be the kind of loan they grant – secured or unsecured. Banks grant unsecured loans, while financial institutions are in favor of secured ones.

Ideas For Creative Business Financing

Whether you are already a business owner, or are starting up new, the first thing that you will think about is finance. There are many ways of going about getting the money you need.

That said, you must also take into consideration several factors before you get the money. Have a look at the various options you have in front of you, and compare it with your business plan and projected revenues. Realistically speaking, identify how you would be able to repay the money that you are borrowing.

Here are some ideas that will help you get the money you want.

Savings Account: Here we are talking about your own savings account. Before you dip into your kitty of savings, consider the following: How much savings have you got in that account? Are you dependent on that money for your day-to-day expenses? How confident are you that your business venture will succeed? Be realistic while you make these considerations. If the savings account is not something you depend upon, and you can afford to forget about the money you take from it should you incur a loss, then go ahead and take the money from it. The upside to this is that you are taking an interest free loan from yourself and saving quite a bit of money on that end. You can even repay this loan in variable installments, and not suffer penalties for it.

Family and Friends: This is also a good option for you to acquire funds for your business venture. Depending upon what you discuss with your friends and family members, you can choose the method of repayment, and also if you are liable to pay interest. The downside to this is that if you cannot repay the money back in the time that you promised, you stand to lose a good relative or friend.

Partners: Another way of generating funding is to take on partners in your business. This is again a matter of choice, and your partner must have the money and the inclination to invest.

Loans: This may not be a very creative idea, but some banks offer very interesting kinds of personal and business loans. It is worth a shot to go have a look at these options. You may just strike a gold mine, and find the perfect method of financing your new venture.

Sell the Junk: If you have any unused premises, or unused inventory lying around, or unused trademarks and licensing rights, it is a good idea to sell them to those who need them. This is a good method of recycling your own assets to create finance for your enterprise.

Sell Shares: Selling the shares of your company is a time-honored method of creating finances for your company. If you have a new company, you can do it. You can also do it, if you own a well-set company. You can also sell the shares to your employees. Talk to your CPA and get more details.

Advertise: This sounds silly, but sometimes an advertisement can also generate interested financers for your project. Putting word out there ensures that you generate interest from persons looking for a good investment opportunity. It also gives you a chance to advertise about your company along with it.