Are you having a tough time finding financing for your small business or just don’t know where to turn?
Today there are more financing opportunities out there than ever before — if you know where to look.
We tapped into the expertise of Linda Jenkins (pictured), CEO of the Gold Alliance Group, for some advice. She is the author of “Creative Financing: How to Get a Small Business Loan Without a Banker” and provides consulting for business owners seeking creative financing ideas.
According to Jenkins, “If you are trying to finance a startup or grow your business, don’t be afraid to approach a bank. Just realize that less than 30 percent of businesses are actually funded that way.”
Don’t get discouraged with those kinds of odds. This is where you have to get creative.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional banks. Instead, dig deeper. Find today’s new sources of capital and off-the-beaten-track places to find funding, Jenkins said.
In her book, Jenkins points out the differences between traditional loans and the new kind of funding today: peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding.
Peer-to-peer lending is literally one person or peer loaning money to another. No banks.
Popular websites like Kiva, Lending Club and Prosper are dedicated to fostering peer-to-peer loans. This kind of lending has been successful in countries all around the world including England and New Zealand, but it still just catching on in the United States.
Another type of funding is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding goes to the potential customers or users of a product or service and asks for their financial support. Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Crowdfunder offer an even lower risk alternative for entrepreneurs, according to Jenkins.
Jenkins recommends a free resource, “Crowdfunding: An Introduction .” She points out that crowdfunding doesn’t involve loans. The money need not be paid back. It is given to complete a project or create a product. Investors are buying into the end result.
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending are becoming more popular avenues to access funding for your business. And the market is becoming quite competitive.
Here are three sites Jenkins recommends looking into, depending on your circumstances:
She recommends a resource for businesses owned by women called PlumAlley.co. It has a reputation for educating and supporting business owners during the entire funding process.
Jenkins says, “It’s definitely an important resource for any female entrepreneur, and since women are starting businesses at twice the rate of males according to the Harvard Business Review, they are definitely serving a growing niche.”
Kabbage.com caters specifically to online merchants. They are an underserved niche that often has trouble getting financing through traditional methods. Kabbage provides cash advances at a flat rate based on monthly revenue, business credit rating, and your Amazon, Yahoo or eBay store rating.
And there’s Dealstruck.com, too. This is an online crowdlending platform which provides a quick turn-around on term loans. It could be a viable option if you run an established small business and need less than $250,000.
Jenkins emphasizes that your choice really depends on the profile of your business and its goal for more capital. A loan will lead you in one direction. If you’re looking to exchange equity for funds, there are sites and resources for that, too.
Of course, when in need of capital to grow your business, it’s natural to think first about going to a bank. But there are alternatives today.
Read “Creative Financing: How to Get a Small Business Loan Without a Banker” to learn about new and better sources for funding your business.
Crowded Street  Photo via Shutterstock