CREATIVE FUNDING IDEAS FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
HELP FOR GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURS
A recent Gallup Study found that 70% of American workers are unhappy in their jobs. The research went on to say that these employees were less productive and engaged in their work. That startling figure drastically contrasts with U.K. data from the Office for National Statistics and published in the Guardian which found in 2010 (most recent period available) that 77 percent of U.K. citizens were “somewhat, mostly, or completely satisfied” in their work.
Does that mean U.K. workers are much happier in their work than their U.S. counterparts? Not necessarily. One can’t definitively compare these results since the survey questions approached the topic in different manners.
Dissatisfaction in the workplace is a driving force for the boom in entrepreneurship. Combine that with high levels of global unemployment and you have a perfect climate for entrepreneurial endeavors. Many former employees have taken the plunge into the online entrepreneurial world. Others choose more tangible commercial businesses.
Small entrepreneurs can usually fund their own businesses, those with larger operations and large inventories usually need some funding. Here in Silicon Valley there is venture capital clamoring for unique business ideas. The venture capital usually goes to unique start up ideas or early stage entrepreneurs. But some businesses prefer invoice finance and aren’t suitable for venture capital.
How to Fund Your Business Idea
The funding choices for entrepreneurs and small businesses include self financing, using your credit cards (I don’t recommend this one), using a peer to peer lender, or friends and family (get everything in writing and make sure your relationship can handle this one). Many family and friend relationships have gone sour due to unpaid or misunderstood financial arrangements. Larger and more established organizations can acquire commercial finance within their businesses. This is not for every firm.
Creative Business Funding Ideas
For a small business idea, you can’t go into debt if you’ve saved up the money to fund your own business. Take a few thousand dollars or GBPs and use it for initial start up and capital funding. If the idea takes off, you can look to other financing options. If this idea fails, you haven’t lost too much or gone into debt.
Credit Card Funding
I’ve heard of movies that couldn’t get commercial funding and the director’s maxed out their credit cards. According to Visual Economics, the “Blair Witch Project” was funded with credit cards. That movie was a success. If your project fails, you’re left with debt to pay off and no income stream. I don’t recommend this approach.
Kickstarter.com is a new way to fund creative and other business projects. Project creators set a funding goal deadline and supporters pledge their contributions. This is another company in the long line of community collaborated funding.
Peer to Peer Lending
Lending Club and Prosper are some of the bigger companies that match borrowers with lenders. Consumers like you and I can invest our money in the loans (disclosure; I invest in both Lending Club and Prosper loans). Borrowers describe their project and request a loan. Like any other loan, the funds must be repaid with interest.
Friends and Family
There’s a long tradition of enlisting friends and family in a new business. The problem with this approach is if your idea doesn’t take off and you cannot repay your friends and family, you run the risk of ruining those relationships. My recommendation for the friends and family lenders is to give the money as a gift and preserve the relationship. If not, make it a business arrangement with a legal contract.
Whether you go the traditional route and obtain funding from a bank or try more creative approaches, make sure you do your homework. Create a business plan including a thorough study of the market. Test market your idea to see if it has the potential for success. Finally, do not invest more than you can afford to lose.
Entrepreneurs, how are you funding your businesses?
image credit; google images_skip richard