Put to the music of Donald Trump’s TV show, the Apprentice, the title of this piece provides an emotion that says…there is money to be had. I recently came across an article on Bankrate.com that addresses the major sources of money for small businesses.
The article points to Banks as the cheapest source of funding, as well as the most trustworthy. It goes on to point out that an entrepreneur needs to be aggressive and target at least 10 banks to find those that can make the needed loan. A number of them may make proposals with unacceptable terms. So be sure to check these carefully. The key to success with banks is to show past profitability and to have a well defined and documented business plan for the future. It is harder to get larger sums of funding, so be careful what you ask for.
Another way to get a bank loan is to use the concept of a government guaranteed loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Check www.sba.gov. They can provide access to banks that provide loans with SBA guarantees. To make this process work an entrepreneur should contact the local SBA office for current details. Banks providing SBA loans generally put more attention on business plans, cash flow and profit forecasts. The SBA will often make referrals to a SCORE chapter for counseling and assistance.
There are also funding opportunities via on line providers. One example is Prosper.com. Usually these sources provide network links between borrowers and lenders. Most often the interest rates are higher than a bank. Some of these sites may have up front fees, others may bury the costs in the rates. If you take this approach be careful not to give away anything you consider proprietary. Remember these sites are open to anyone.
No matter which source of funding you consider, it can’t hurt to contact you local SCORE chapter for some free advice and counseling.
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor
Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net