Small Business Financing
You've got the idea. You've written your business plan. But it's going to take some small business financing to get started. Small business financing is one of the main obstacles to getting started. But it is not insurmountable. There are several ways to obtain the small business financing you need to get started. However, you might also be able to start your business for less than you think!
I was reading a business forum the other day. One of the posts was from a woman who was announcing she was quitting her business and going back to work. She just couldn't make her business successful. It seems she stared out with way too little money and so her plan was to go back to her job and save enough money to start again. I don't know what type of business she was in, but I do know one thing. If she had less than $100 dollars, she could still start a successful business. It doesn't matter what type of business you start, there are very inexpensive ways to market and promote it. Let me show you how to get started - without any small business financing!
If you've read my blog at all, then you know that one thing you need is a website. Even if you do plan to conduct the majority of your business offline, you still need a website to help market your business. Today's internet-savvy consumers often search online to find the products or services they need. You can build a web presence completely free by starting a blog or by simply joining some affiliate programs that provide a free website. If you want to host your own site, you can do so for under $30 a month! Solo Build It! is a great way to build an inexpensive, professional-looking website. It's the tool that I use and I highly recommend it whether you are skilled in web design or a complete novice. They provide everything you need, including domain name registration (which can be another expense otherwise).
Website done and domain name registered! How about some business cards? You can get 250 quality business cards for as low as $3.99 at VistaPrint. I have used VistaPrint for my business cards and they did a wonderful job.
Okay - now how to promote your business inexpensively. Well, if you have a printer of any quality, you can post flyers on bulletin boards, depending on the type of business you are starting. This works well for local business such as house and pet sitters, daycare providers, personal assistants, etc. You can buy paper for less than $10 just about anywhere. Design your flyer and print it. Go to your local UPS Store or Kinko's and make your own copies - cheap!
If your business isn't suited to bulletin board advertising, try classified ads - online for as low as $9.95 per month. There are so many online ad services available and almost all of them do a fine job. I don't really have a favorite. Just Google classified ads and you'll find all you need. Advertising locally is also usually very affordable. Now by locally I mean in papers such as The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for me. Not the NY Times or The Washington Post!
If you need to learn some other inexpensive ways to market your business then the best investment you can make is to buy a copy of Jay Conrad Levinson's books on Guerrilla Marketing techniques. For about $20.00, you can receive all the advice and tips you will ever need on how to market your business on a budget. His books are available from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com or directly from Jay's Guerrilla Marketing website. Even if you don't buy the book there, I suggest you still visit his site just to read the articles. And be sure to sign up for the free weekly newsletter!
If you simply must obtain some type of small business financing for supplies and equipment, you have several options. Micro loans and SBA loans are the two I would recommend first.
Micro loans are small loans - typically under $35,000 - for start-up and/or newly established small businesses.
The SBA provides funds to non-profit community lenders which then make the loans to business borrowers with the credit decision made locally.
SBA loans are government supported small business financing.
SBA loans are an excellent source of small business financing. The Small Business Administration offers a variety of loan guarantee programs. These programs help a business that may not qualify for a loan get approved on reasonable terms. The SBA does not actually give you the money, the commercial banks will loan you the money.
If you need more information of these two types of small business financing, I recommend you go to BusinessFinance.com for more information.
Lack of money shouldn't be a reason for you not to get started on your own future. When I first started, I had NO money. My husband didn't believe this could work and wouldn't agree to let me use any of our money to get started. So I could only spend what I managed to save myself after household bills. Since I was working for a non-profit at the time, that wasn't much! Keep your job until you are making enough to quit. Use these resources to learn how to build and market your business for little or no cost. Take some of your business profits and invest it back into marketing and building your business. And next year, look back in satisfaction at how far you've come.
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