When it’s time to finance a business, there can be substantial work involved to facilitate this step. Every small business is different, and businesses in different industries and sectors have different ways of going about getting credit. There are various costs which widely range over the span of particular sectors.
However, for the core process of securing the financial assistance that a business owner needs for a startup, some basic guidelines and principles will help create effective programs and a solvent business model. Estimate the costs of doing business, find out what you need to borrow money, and then research your financing options.
Estimating Costs of Your Business
Determine the one-time costs of your business. These are costs that will only occur at the very beginning of opening your business. These include mileage (getting to a location), market research, advertising, and training. You will also need to look up any fees which will occur, such as a lawyer or consultant fee.
Calculate the recurring costs of your business. These are costs that you will have to pay over and over again, usually on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. These include costs of utilities, insurance, wages, etc. Recurring costs are generally larger than one-time costs, and span a length of 10-30 years depending on your financing options. Calculate not only the total cost over the lifespan of your business, however also that on a yearly, and bi-yearly basis.
Ascertain whether costs are fixed, or variable. Fixed costs are those which will not change. The cost of your utilities, or your administrative costs are all fixed. Variable costs are those which will change over time. This includes wages, insurance, and shipping/packaging costs. If you are managing money for self employment, the best way to keep all this information organized is to create a spreadsheet (use Excel). That way you can graph out this information, and view it multiple ways(bar graph, line chart, etc.).
Create a balance sheet. If you are just starting a small business, it is important that you write out balance sheets, which include: assets, liabilities, and equity. Each of these three categories will help you keep track of the finances of your business, and make it easier to pay your bills.
Develop a cash flow analysis. This measures money which goes in and out of your business. This is then broken down into operational activities, investment activities, and financing activities. This analysis will help you determine when you break even, and can start reinvesting/expanding your business. Once more, the best way to do this is to create a spreadsheet. Find all of your financial statements and gather them together before you start to analyze.
Borrowing Money for Your Business
Use equity financing to start your business. Equity financing usually comes from a primary investor, or other business. They will provide you a sum of money, in exchange for part-ownership of your company. This is a good option because investors look further down the road than a loan company, and you will have more money on hand. However, the investors will naturally want to interfere, and change aspects of your business model.
There are networks online which can set you up with a primary investor. You can also check out private equity firms, which contain a vast array of specialized and experienced investors.
Remember, that small business owners generally use very little equity financing. It all depends on your business model, and the potential for growth.
Start your business using debt financing. Debt financing is when you take out a loan, usually from a bank or lending institution. This is a great option because the bank will have no say in how you run your business. The loan is tax deductible, and you can get short-term or long-term loans. However, you must have the loan repaid in a certain amount of time, and if you don’t, you could have a hard time getting capital investment.
Talk to your local bank, or lending institution about the qualifications for specific loans. You will probably have to fill out some paperwork to determine whether or not you are qualified.
When using a local bank, you may be able to set up a personal relationship. This way, you can postpone a few payments if you fall on hard times.
Find out about credit scores and ratings. The higher your score is, the less risky you are to investors. In many cases, the initial business loan will be based on the borrower’s own personal credit score. However, in some cases where a business is already operational, a business plan and other documents can provide for a different kind of credit specifically for the continued operations of that enterprise.
The main focus of the score is how long you have maintained a credit line, and how many monthly payments you have made on time.
If you have no prior experience taking out credit, it may be hard to get a loan. It is best to start using a credit card on small things like gas, or grocery store trips. Then gradually build up. Show the creditors you are a responsible client.
Maintain an adequate debt to equity ratio. You want to make sure that the total debt and liabilities of your business is no more than four times the equity in the business. Equity simply means any retained earnings and cash injections by investors. In order to start out with equity, the owner of the business usually has to put in anywhere from 20-40%. This will maintain an adequate debt to equity ratio, and allow you to get a loan.
Put up collateral to start your business. Before you get a loan for your new visitor management system or office security, the lending institution or bank will ask for collateral. This means you risk some of the items you own. In the case you cannot repay the loan, the bank can seize your property. Collateral usually includes homes, cars, furniture, equipment, stocks, bonds, etc. this is a scary proposition, so you need to be sure that your business will be financially successful beforehand.
Shop around for different lenders. There are a variety of lenders who may or may not be willing to issue new business loans, and all of these potential lenders have their own terms and conditions. Talk to various lenders and ask them about what kinds of loans are available. Evaluate loans by timeline.
Lenders will offer various short-term, long-term or revolving-credit loans to business owners. Look at which ones suit the needs of a startup the best. Look at secured and unsecured business loans. Secured loans actually use existing assets as collateral. For example, the person trying to start a business can use his or her home, or other property, as collateral and get lower interest rates for the loan.
However, this leaves the assets vulnerable to seizure in cases of nonpayment. Unsecured loans rest solely on the borrower’s credit score. See which of these types of loans best matches desired risk.
Select the best deals. You want a loan that has the lowest interest rates and most favourable terms for repayment.
Financing Your Business
Get a bank loan. Small, local banks have received more strict standards after the financial crash of 2008. However, large investment banks such as JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America have received a set of moneys from the Federal Reserve to lend out to small businesses.
This is your best option to go with, although it takes the long to pay off. Local banks will set you up with a contract, and a monthly payment. The other benefit is that you can get this loan postponed if you are having trouble paying it off.
Place your home up as collateral. Banks will generally allow you to borrow up to 75-80% of your home’s worth, as long as you have at least 10-15% already down on your home. This is great for things like when you promote your small business, because the loan will have a much lower interest rate than a credit card. Talk with your financier, or local mortgage company for more detailed information. Read latest trending article at thewiremagazine.com.
Use your credit card. This is a very dangerous game to be played. You need to stay on top of your monthly payments. If you fall behind, you get trapped in a death spiral. However, when carefully managed, credit cards can be great to get out of an emergency. Only use a credit card occasionally, when you are experiencing a hole you know that you can get out of.
Tap into your 401(k) plan. You will need a financial expert who can start up a C Corporation which you can then roll your retirement assets into. This is also a risky business, because you are tapping into your nest egg. This should only be done if you have more money put away in a savings account, or if you are independently wealthy.
Try loaning money from your friends and family. Ask who would be willing to make a contribution, or purchase a percentage of the company. Go about asking members of your church for donations. Let local businesses partner with you. You might make some acquaintances, and make some deals (you make cheese, they make wine, a chance to exchange).
Pledge your future earnings. Some companies, or people, are willing to gamble and put money upfront, if you are willing to commit a certain percentage of future profits. This is a gamble because they, and you, are betting that you will be able to earn enough in the future. There is usually a contract involved, guaranteeing that they will at least get some money back, so keep that in mind.
Kickstart your business. Crowdfunding, in the age of the internet, has become a very popular way to finance businesses. Write a description of your business idea online, at sites like Kickstarter, and convince people to donate to your business. You will want to be really descriptive, and excited in your word choice. The downside of this is that it could take months or years before you raise enough money.
Secure an SBA loan. SBA (Small Business Administration) is a branch of the Federal Government that supplies loans to businesses struggling to get off the ground. However, there are a number of qualifications.
You had to have been denied a loan from another bank before. You have to meet the government’s definition of a small business. You will also have to meet other restrictions, depending on the type of SBA loan. Go to the SBA’s website, and fill out a form if you think you might meet these qualifications.
Attract an angel investor. These are wealthy individuals who like to bet on the financial success of start-up businesses. Angel investors are usually found at private-equity, and venture capital firms. You will want to bring someone older, who looks like he has had experience in business before.
Be passionate about your idea when you present, and know all of the financial details before you walk in the room. Keep in contact with the investor days and weeks after your initial meeting.