As a small or medium enterprise business owner, you are probably always looking for growth opportunities. To realize such opportunities, you need a lot of money, and often you may not have that much to help you realize your dreams. You will need to source funds from other sources to make the most of the opportunities that come your way. But sometimes, due to the lack of financial literacy or good financial advice, you may end up making the wrong choice. For instance, you need to know the difference between grant & loan to know which one best suits your needs. Here are some options that you may consider when sourcing funds to expand your business.
Bank loans remain the most common option for most businesses looking to expand. Bank loans provide medium to long-term finance for your business. You will need to provide some documentation about your business, a plan, and collateral to acquire one. To be safe, get a financial advisor to help you understand the loan terms before deciding to go in for it.
Only available in the United States, The Small Business Association offers small businesses various loans via participatory banks all over the country. SBA-backed loans are set up to help small businesses secure funding to grow their company specifically. Mind you, though, the SBA itself is not responsible for the loan. You will need to have a good working relationship with the loan officer at your local bank to gain access to such loans. You could also find the nearest Small Business Development Center SBDC and register to access their small business loans.
Venture capitalists are people who choose to invest in businesses to help them start-up or expand. Venture capitalists are looking to make a good return on their investment and, as such, may get involved in running the business or offer their expertise. Due to the huge amounts that venture capitalists look to invest in a business, you must have a solid business plan and serious projections for the future for you to be considered. The basic sums venture capitalists invest are from $500,000 to $10 million, so you must have a high growth strategy to entice them to listen to your pitch.
Much like venture capitalists, angel investors are looking to invest in businesses and see them succeed. The significant difference here is that instead of looking out for returns, angel investors rather want to transform their investment into the equity of your business. But they may not invest as much as venture capitalists. To seriously consider angel investors, you must first have an exit strategy for your business and solid projections for the future. If you aim to hold onto your business, then angel investment may not be for you. The goal is to gain equity, help the company grow and then sell it or when it goes very well, do an IPO.
This type of source funding has seen quite a hike as there have been many success stories. It is pretty straightforward; you ask people to donate a sum of money for a particular project to exchange diverse rewards. These rewards are generally categorized into equity, debt, and donation. However, to participate in crowdfunding, you need to know the rules and requirements of the sites and carefully review your options before you proceed.