Report Says Businesses Are Still Cautious on Borrowing

Small businesses are still the best hope for economic recovery and job creation, but if 2013 is the year, it may be without traditional financing. Entrepreneurs know borrowing isn’t the only way to fund business startup and growth. Today’s roundup has more about the state of small business financing and other tips on where to get the money you need to grow.

Don’t Borrow Trouble

A different one percent. We’re not talking about millionaires here, but the percentage U.S. small business lending rose in November, the last month for which small business credit rating company PayNet has data. The numbers suggest small businesses are still shy about borrowing. Concern over the economy, taxes, and the fiscal cliff only recently averted by Congress, are probably reasons. On the plus side, the report also shows companies have been paying down on debt. The Huffington Post

Draw us a picture. It’s difficult to get a good picture of the lending situation with small business, says Ami Kassar, founder of MultiFunding, a Philadelphia-based firm that helps small companies find financing. That’s because various reports tell different and incomplete stories. For example, Small Business Administration data is limited to businesses receiving SBA funding, while information coming from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation includes credit card loans. The New York Times

Other Options

Turn on the juice. Ray Li and John Vitug founded Heart Juice, a healthy beverage brand now finding its way into grocery stores after winning a business plan competition. Instead of seeking out a business loan or other financing, Li and Vitug funded their startup with money from family and friends. Their success story is a great reminder that there are many ways to bring in the money needed to start up or expand an existing business. When seeking money for your company, consider all the possible sources available. CareerFuel

Money tree. The U.K. government is looking to fund entrepreneurs to the tune of £2,500 a piece at a very low interest rate. The idea is to help young entrepreneurs obtain financing for startups. Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced changes in the eligibility criteria for the program. At first, the loans were available only to applicants between 18 and 24 years of age, but the age limit has now been raised to 30. More money will soon be available overall for loans, too, with an addition £30 million being added to the program over the next three years. bOnline Blog

Up to the Challenge

Know what you’re in for. Even with funding available, getting it for your business idea isn’t easy. Odds are stacked against you, says small business adviser Ian Smith. Even big name entrepreneurs like Dharmesh Shah, founder of HubSpot, have faced trouble getting financing. Knowing the challenge ahead, an entrepreneur seeking financing for a startup should go though what Smith calls “exceptional preparation.” Get ready for your next fundraising effort with this simple checklist. The Smith Report

Elevate your pitch. The elevator pitch, an effort to convince a potential investor of the value of your idea in the few minutes it takes to share an elevator ride, is practically a rite of passage among certain entrepreneurial groups. The challenge is to convince a potential investor of the value of your business idea and get them to finance it in the shortest time possible. Here are some important tips from Noah Parsons, COO of Palo Alto Software, to help make your pitch the best. bPlans

Find a following. The first thing investors like Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, look for in an opportunity is the ability to attract a massive audience. When you think about it, the ability to draw in a huge number of customers is the best way to insure your business idea will receive funding. Developing a solid customer base, or at least knowing how you will go about it, is the key to building a strong business anyway, so make this first on your list of priorities. Urooj Kazi

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