With nearly 50% of small businesses surviving less than four years, getting business funding is a crucial, but often difficult, part of staying afloat as you strive to make it over the hump of sustainability and eventually profitability. While traditional methods of funding (such as bank loans) can be elusive for small business funding because of their lack of collateral and trade credit history, the growth of alternative, online funding sources in recent years has made it much easier for SMBs to find funding and flourish!
If you’re looking for funding for your business, here are six options for you to consider:
StreetShares allows small business owners to pitch directly to investors for loans. Once you submit your pitch and loan request, investors review and compete to fund different portions of your loan. The investor members with the lowest interest rate are the ones who fund you. StreetShares also funds a portion of every loan requested on their marketplace. To qualify for a loan, you must be a U.S. citizen, have been in business for at least one year, earning revenue, and be incorporated. When you apply, you find out instantly if you qualify. There is also a special program for veterans.
OnDeck Capital offers short-term business loans with lower interest and fees than traditional merchant cash advances. Businesses with at least one year of trading history, over $100k in annual revenue and at least one director with a personal credit score of 500+ qualify for OnDeck’s funding, and they also provide access to SCORE advisors, whether you qualify or not.
Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, and was actually the first of its kind back in 2006 when the site started. Investors signed up to the site are able to invest using whatever criteria they choose, and borrowers benefit from better rates than a traditional funding set-up. You can only apply for a loan between $2,000 and $35,000, so if you’re looking for a higher amount of investment, Prosper might not be the right choice for you.
Fundable is a business crowdfunding platform where startups can offer either business equity or rewards in return for funding. It’s completely free to set up but costs $99 per month while a campaign is up and running (plus fees for processing payments), but you do get the option to defer your payments until the campaign is finished and you’ve raised your funds!
Unlike its biggest competition, Kickstarter, Indiegogo is more inclusive (not just limiting its requirements to creative projects) and allows funds to be released even if your campaign doesn’t reach its target. This does, of course, mean higher fees, but it’s still a popular choice for small businesses looking for funding.
Kabbage offers loans to small businesses from between $2,000 to $100,000, and to qualify your business needs to have been running for a minimum of one year, have a PayPal or business checking account and annual revenue of $60,000 or over. As with any financial product, it’s always important to check the small print – and here you’ll notice that borrowers must sign a personal guarantee for repayment if for whatever reason your business can’t repay the loan.
Banks don’t always approve credit to small businesses for the same reason that they often refuse loans. Therefore, these funding options are great for investments that aren’t always accessible to small businesses. Additionally, if you want to make your loan go farther, you can layer on a solution like Bento for day-to-day expense management and disbursement of your loan funds.
BONUS: Bento for Business – Make Your Money Go Further
All small business owners need funding at one point or another. But how do you manage that cash once you have it? Bento for Business is a tool that controls how much, where and when money is spent with real-time control, reporting and visibility. Bento cards can be configured to control spending for specific uses, say a Gas Card, Project Card, or Petty Cash Card. Or, you can hand out Bento cards to employees, set spending limits, and turn cards on/off with a single click. With real-time reporting, you can receive instant alerts for purchases and declines, so you always know what is being spent where. Simply put, get peace of mind and make your money go further with Bento.