3 Ways to Fund Your Business and Marketing Expenses
Once upon a time, finding startup capital involved going door to door (sometimes literally) and asking existing businesses and entrepreneurs for money in exchange for stock, a percentage of profit or a place on the company’s board. This is still one of the best ways to find investors for a business, but what if you want to go it alone? What if you don’t want to be beholden to a dictatorial board from the get go?
Use your existing credit to help you set up and build your business’s credit rating and to fund the initial parts of your projects. Then, later, you can get credit cards in your business’s name. It is important, though, that you don’t ever let yourself fall into the trap of seeing credit as “free money.” Learning how to use credit wisely is important for your business’s future…and yours. Remember: if your company defaults on its credit debt, you will be held personally responsible for the balances due.
Note: To get the most “bang for your buck” make sure you shop around for the best credit card for your business. Look at all of the rewards programs and pick the best one for your business. Some professionals prefer perks like frequent flier miles, while others go for the cash back rewards system (you can figure out which one is best by checking out NerdWallet's list of business cash back credit card offers).
There are tons of grants out there for small and independent businesses. You just have to know how to find them. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is a great place to start. The US Small Business Administration has a huge list of grants you can check out. You can also find local grants by paying a visit to your nearby library’s reference desk. Grants are great because you don’t have to pay them back. It is important to read the fine print, though. Some grants will need to be considered income at tax time.
Pro Tip: Make sure you hire a professional grant writer to help you with your application. You don’t want a tiny mistake to keep you from getting your funding.
These days it seems like everybody has a KickStarter project. It’s completely understandable that a serious entrepreneur like yourself might be wary of using the same service as independent game creators, bands and artists.
Note, though, that “real” businesses (even brick and mortar businesses) are jumping on the KickStarter bandwagon. Frisch, a vegan café in Salt Lake City used crowdfunding to acquire most of its initial startup capital. They were also able to use their successful KickStarter as evidence of community support while applying for licenses and loans.
Important: Kickstarter is certainly the most trusted crowd sourcing platform but it is important to know that if you don’t reach the goal you set for yourself you won’t get any of the money people have pledged to support you. If you want to be able to keep whatever gets sent in, a different portal (like Indiegogo) is a better bet.
Businesses are expensive! This is something that every startup figures out eventually. Even businesses that have been up and running for decades sometimes need to find outside funding sources to keep their doors open. There’s no shame in asking for help and these sources are the best places to start finding that help.