Funding your company can be difficult as a new LLC or corporation because you don’t have a financial history for potential lenders to make a lending decision from. Instead, you’ve got to find creative ways to fund your company in order to get the capital you may need to either launch or grow your business. The best funding methods for you will likely depend on where both you and your business currently are financially.
From bringing all of the money yourself to using your retirement funds or getting a large bank loan, we’ve summarized each of your best options below to help you find the method to use when funding your company.
9 Best Ways to Fund Your Business
|Funding Source||What is it||Funding Amount|
|Bootstrapping||Providing your own capital.||As much as you have available|
|Friends & Family Loans & Investments||Getting investments or loans from friends and family.||Unlimited|
|Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS)||Money from your retirement account invested in your business without paying taxes or early withdrawal fees.||$50k – $10 million or more|
|Home Equity Loan||Loan against the equity in your personal home that can be used to fund your business.||Up to 80% of the equity in your home|
|Angel Investors||Investment from high net worth individuals.||$500k – $2 million|
|Credit Cards||Small lines of credit you can use as short term financing when business expenses come up.||$500 – $25k|
|Bank Loans||Traditional financing from banks or traditional financing institutions.||$50k – $10 million|
|SBA Loans||Low-cost business loans for businesses with 2+ years of history.||Up to $5 million|
|Sell Company Stock||Selling ownership shares of your company.||Depends on Company Value|
The form of financing that is right for you will depend on a number of factors that include your business’s history, future strategy, and whether you want to take on business debt. Traditional loans available to new businesses will typically all require personal guarantees, which means if your business folds and can’t meet the debt obligations then you could be required to repay the funds personally.
Before deciding which funding method is for you, it’s important to go over each one in greater detail and know exactly what you’ll be getting your business into. Once you’ve chosen one, make sure you understand your agreement and read through all the fine print before accepting any money so that you can identify your obligations and what you might be giving up.
Bootstrapping is essentially self-financing. You, as the business owner, are utilizing everything you currently have available to fund your company. This typically means depleting your personal savings account and possibly cashing in your retirement accounts in order to finance your venture.
The best thing with bootstrapping is that there are no limits to how much of your own money you pour into the business. If you’re wealthy then the sky’s the limit and you don’t have to make any debt payments, which could handcuff your business early on. This is the best scenario for all business owners willing to put a significant amount of their personal money into the business.
2. Friends & Family Loans & Investments
This is the same as bootstrapping except you’re relying on other people who you are close to in order to get the money you need. Essentially you will ask for a loan from your friends or your family members who have money to invest. This can also be structured as an equity investment where your investors will get ownership in the business in exchange for the money they provide.
This is a tough way to get the money you need because if your business fails then it could damage your relationships with people you’re close to. Many business owners also don’t know individuals with significant disposable income to invest. If you go this route you need to make sure that you document every transaction so that there aren’t any negative tax implications down the road for your business.
3. Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS)
A ROBS allows you to invest your deferred retirement funds into your business without paying income taxes or early withdrawal fees. This is not a loan but if your business fails then you could lose the funds you invest. ROBS financing is not widely-known but if you’re willing to risk your retirement accounts then it could give you the capital you need without strapping your business with expensive debt payments.
A ROBS has setup fees that you must come up with on your own (about $5,000) and there will be a small ongoing fee to make sure that your transaction is monitored correctly. This financing method is typically right for individuals with at least $50,000 in a deferred retirement account and are willing to risk it for their business. Due to the specialty of the transaction you’ll need to make sure you partner with a firm that is experienced in ROBS transactions, which many accountants and lawyers are not.
4. Home Equity Loan (HEL)
A home equity loan is given to you based on the equity you’ve built in your personal home. This is something you must personally guarantee, but the proceeds can be used to fund any business. With a HEL you can typically borrow all of the equity you’ve built in your home up to 80% of the home’s current market value. You’ll need a minimum of 20-30% equity in your home in order to get a loan at all.
This isn’t a way to get large amounts of cash into your company but it is a way to get the startup capital you may need to get off the ground quickly. This is a loan so there will be monthly loan payments that you’ll personally be responsible for. Make sure you understand your obligations before accepting any money. This is one of the most affordable loans you could potentially qualify for that allows you to put the money in your business.
5. Angel Investors
Plenty of angel investors, on sites like angel.co, look to invest in businesses that they believe will be successful for the long haul. Angel investors are similar to venture capitalists in that they invest money in growing businesses and they look to eventually exit the investment with a profit. They differ in that they’ll likely ask for less involvement on a day-to-day operations than a VC. Angel investors also typically invest less than $1 million and they don’t need immediate growth like many VC’s require.
The problem with angel investors is that they don’t invest in many businesses. Many investors that have the capital may only invest in a single deal per year, if any, so finding the right match can take a very long time. You’ll need a proven business model that has huge growth potential. This is great for businesses that meet those standards because it is an investment and you won’t have to take on debt to get access to the capital you want.
6. Credit Cards
Credit cards are almost always the first form of debt you will be able to qualify for. If you have even average credit then you could get access to these revolving lines of credit to help cover the costs of business expenses as they pop up. When your business starts to get income for a few months then your business could qualify for credit lines that may be larger than what you can qualify for personally.
These cards carry large interest rates (12 – 29.9%) and can weigh down on your business in the early days if they’re not managed properly. Credit cards are best used as ways to cover unexpected expenses as opposed to funding initial business costs. In other words, these are good to apply for and have on hand in case something happens but the other funding methods will typically be a better fit for a new business.
7. Bank Loans
Your local bank may be your best bet to fund your business plan if you’re building a brick and mortar retail business. Local banks love to invest in their community and if you have a solid business plan, a good credit history, and are going to keep the business in your community then you could qualify. Bank loans are more difficult to get for new businesses today than they were 10 or 15 years ago, but they are still available. This is a great way to fund larger business costs that involve real estate because banks love lending on real estate.
You will have to personally guarantee any bank loan so it is imperative that you know what you’re agreeing to before you take the money. You’ll need to make sure you feel comfortable with the loan payment in the event your business fails to make the payments. These loans will also likely be secured by your own assets, such as your personal home. This is a great way to get access to larger funding amounts of $500k – $1 million, but they can be risky for the business owner.
8. SBA Loans
SBA loans are guaranteed, but not given, by the Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are difficult to qualify for but carry some of the lowest business loan interest rates in the country. They are great for growing businesses looking to get access to capital to fund growth or to purchase needed real estate.
SBA loans aren’t a good fit for brand new businesses because you have to be in business for a minimum of two years before you can qualify. Your business will need to show growth and that you’ve been profitable for at least the last three months. While you can get access to as much as $5 million, it could be awhile before you qualify for anything at all.
9. Selling Company Stock
Taking your company public is often a goal of businesses that scale quickly. This means allowing your business to sell ownership shares on the open market. Some businesses use this as a tool to take money out of the company while others do this as a way to raise funds to grow faster. You can raise millions of dollars if your company is large enough.
While this option used to only be available for large corporations, small businesses can now raise money through the sale of company stock. In 2012, Congress passed a bill known as the JOBS Act or the CROWDFUND Act, which enables small businesses to use crowdfunding to issue securities. This makes it possible to raise smaller amounts of cash without having to take your business public.
Before you go down any of these paths to get the right funding for your company, you’ll need to first register with the right business entity. You can get started today by registering your LLC (or corporation) with us. It’s a simple three step process where you select your company type and state, you fill out a simple online form, then we send you your paperwork. Get started today!