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How To Write the Funding Request for Your Business Plan

What goes into the funding request, parts of the funding request, important points to remember when writing your request, frequently asked questions (faqs).

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A business plan contains many sections, and if you plan to seek funding for your business, you will need to include the funding request section. The good news is that this section of your business plan is only needed if you plan to ask for outside business funding. If you're not seeking financial help, you can leave it out of your business plan. There are a variety of  ways to fund your business  without debt or investors. Below, we'll cover how to write the funding request section of your business plan.

Key Takeaways

  • The funding request section of your business plan is required if you plan to seek funding from a lender or investors.
  • You'll want to include information on the business, your current financial situation, how the money will be used, and more.
  • Tailor each funding request to the specific funding source, and make sure you ask for enough money to keep your business going.

The funding request section provides information on your future financial plans, such as when and how much money you might need. You will also include the possible sources you could consider for securing your funds, such as loans or crowdfunding. Later, you can update this section when you need outside funding again for business growth.

An Outline of the Business

Yes, you've done this already in past sections, but you want to give potential lenders and investors a recap of your business. In some cases, you might simply share the funding request section so you need to have your business details such as what you provide, information about your target market, your structure (i.e. LLC), owners' and members' information (for partnerships and corporations), and any successes you've had to date in your business.

Current Financial Situation

Again, you've provided some financial information in the financial data section , but it doesn't hurt to summarize. If you're submitting just the funding request, you'll need this information to help financial sources understand your money situation.

Provide financial details such as income and cash flow statements, and balance sheets in your funding request section.

Offer your projected financial information as well. If you're asking for a loan for which you'll be offering collateral, include information about the asset. If the business had debt, outline your plan for paying it off. Finally, share how you'll pay the loan or what sort of return on investment (ROI) investors can expect by investing in your business.

How Much Money Do You Need Now and in the Future?

Indicate what type of funding you're asking for such as a loan or investment. Outline what you need now and what you might need in the future as far as five years out. 

How Will the Funds Be Used?

Detail how you'll be using the money, whether it's for inventory, paying a debt, buying equipment, hiring help, and more. If you plan to use the money for several things, highlight each and how much money will go to each.

Most financial sources would rather invest in things that grow a thriving business than things that pay for debt or overhead expenses. 

Current and Future Financial Plans

Current and future financial plans include items such as loan repayment schedules or plans to sell the business. If you're getting a loan, outline your plans for repayment (although most lenders will have their own schedules). If you have plans to sell the business, let the lender know that and how it will affect them. Other issues to consider are relocation (if you move) or a buyout. Finally, let investors know how they can exit the deal, such as cashing out (and how long before they can do that).

You're asking for money, so you need to always be professional and know your business inside and out. Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Tailor your funding request to each financial source : Lenders and investors need different information, such as loan repayment versus ROI, so create different reports for each. 
  • Keep your funding sources in mind : Each resource will have different questions and concerns. Do a little research so you can address them in your report.
  • Ask for enough to keep your business going : Don't be stingy, as you don't want your business to fail from a lack of money. At the same time, don't be greedy, asking for more than you need. 

How do you request funding for a nonprofit?

Most nonprofits seek funding in the form of grants. Write a grant proposal that includes information on the project or organization, preliminary budget needs, and more. Be sure to format it with a cover letter, proposal summary, the introduction of the organization, problem statement, objectives, methods, evaluation, future funding needs, and the budget.

What are three methods of funding?

Grants and scholarships, equity financing, and debt financing are the main three methods of funding for small businesses . Grants and scholarships do not need to be repaid and are often best for nonprofit organizations. Equity financing is when you receive money in exchange for ownership and profits. Debt financing is when you borrow money that needs to be repaid.

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Small Business Administration. " Fund Your Business ."

Congressional Research Service. " How To Develop and Write a Grant Proposal ."

Library of Congress Research Guides. " Types of Financing ."

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The Importance of Market Research

Creating a business plan, legal requirements, exploring funding options, crafting a marketing strategy, managing and growing your business, how do i start a small business for beginners, how do i create a business plan, what are six ways to grow and scale a business, the bottom line.

  • Small Business
  • How to Start a Business

Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide

From market research to managing growth

how to get a business plan funded

The U.S. is home to 33.2 million small businesses, which drive over 43% of GDP.   If you are looking to start a business, there are key factors to consider—from market research and creating a business plan to scaling your business. These factors are critical to your journey and can make a big difference no matter what stage of the process you are in.

Entrepreneurs who take concrete action can differentiate themselves from competitors, innovate, and grow. For successful entrepreneurs, the execution of the business is often what means the most. 

Key Takeaways

  • Starting a small business involves extensive market research of your target audience, competitors, and gaining a deep understanding of the industry.
  • It is important to build a comprehensive business plan that includes the product or service description, your target customers, financial projections, and all other key details.
  • Understanding the legal requirements of starting your business involves knowledge of business registration, permits, licensing, and other regulatory requirements.
  • There are various types of funding channels for starting a business, including financing it yourself, securing external funding from your network, and applying for government and corporate grants and loans. 

Being clear about your business goals involves doing your research. Successful entrepreneurs often do extensive research on their field. This includes understanding their prospective customers, the technical aspects of the industry, and the challenges other businesses are facing. 

Understanding how other players operate in an industry is important. Attending conferences, joining associations, and building a network of people involved in the field can help you learn how decisions are made. Often, comprehensive market research takes six months to a year. 

Understanding Your Target Audience

Knowing your target market is critical for many reasons. These are the customers who are most likely to purchase your product, recommend it to friends, and become repeat buyers. Apart from driving your bottom line, having a strong understanding of your target audience will allow you to tailor your offering more effectively, reach your customers more efficiently, and manage customer expectations.

Compiling demographic data on age, family, wealth, and other factors can give you a clearer understanding of market demand for your product and your potential market size.

It’s important to ask, “Why would someone buy this and part with their discretionary income?” or “Will someone love this enough to tell someone about it?” At the heart of these questions is understanding whether your business solves a key problem, as well as whether it delivers the “more” that connects to your audiences’ human emotions.

Assessing Market Trends and Opportunities

To find an advantage in a given market, look at key market trends in customer behavior and the business landscape. Explore the state of business conditions and consumer spending, along with the economic environment and how interest rates may affect financing and business growth.

Several resources are available to dive into market trends across industries, such as Statistics of U.S. Businesses and the U.S. Census Business Builder . To analyze the competitive landscape, and in turn, identify key opportunities, Porter's 5 Forces is a classic model to help businesses build their competitive strategy.

A business plan is a road map for achieving your business goals. It outlines the capital that you need, the personnel to make it happen, and the description of your product and prospective customers.

There are a number of models for creating a business plan. The Small Business Administration (SBA) , for instance, provides a format that includes the following nine sections:

  • Executive summary: This should be a description of your company and its potential for success. The executive summary can cover your mission statement, employees, location, and growth plan.
  • Company description: This is where you detail what your business offers, its competitive advantages, and your strengths as a business.
  • Market analysis: Lay out how your company is positioned to perform well in your industry. Describe market trends and themes and your knowledge of successful competitors.
  • Organization and management: Who is running your company, and how is your business structured? Include an organizational chart of your management team. Discuss if your business will be incorporated as a business C or S corporation, a limited partnership, a limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship. 
  • Service or product line: Here is where you describe how your business will solve a problem and why this will benefit customers. Describe how your product lifecycle would unfold.
  • Marketing and sales: Detail your marketing strategy and how this will reach your customers and drive return on investment. 
  • Funding request: If you're looking for financing, lay out the capital you’re requesting under a five-year horizon and where, in detail, it will be allocated, such as salaries, materials, or equipment. 
  • Financial projections: This section shows the five-year financial outlook for your company and ties these to your request for capital.

Having a coherent business plan is important for businesses looking to raise cash and crystallize their business goals.

Setting Goals and Strategies

Another key aspect of a business plan is setting realistic goals and having a strategy to make these a reality. Having a clear direction will help you stay on track within specified deadlines. In many ways, it allows companies to create a strategic plan that defines measurable actions and is coupled with an honest assessment of the business, taking into account its resources and competitive environment. Strategy is a top-down look at your business to achieve these targets.

Financial Projections and Budgeting

Often, entrepreneurs underestimate the amount of funding needed to start a business. Outlining financial projections shows how money will be generated, where it will come from, and whether it can sustain growth. 

This provides the basis for budgeting the costs to run a business and get it off the ground. Budgeting covers the expenses and income generated from the business, which include salaries and marketing expenses and projected revenue from sales.

Another important aspect of starting a business are the legal requirements that enable you to operate under the law. The legal structure of a business will impact your taxes, your liability, and how you operate.

Businesses may consider the following structures in which to operate:

  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship

Each has different legal consequences, from regulatory burdens to tax advantages to liability being shifted to the business instead of the business owner.

Registering Your Business

Now that you have your business structure outlined, the next step is registering your business . Your location is the second key factor in how you’ll register your business. In many cases, small businesses can register their business name with local and state government authorities. 

If your business is being conducted under your legal name, registration is not required. However, such a business structure may not benefit from liability protection, along with certain legal and tax advantages. Often, registering your businesses costs $300 or less.

Before filing, a business structured as a corporation, LLC, or partnership requires a registered agent in its state. These agents handle the legal documents and official papers on your behalf.

Businesses that are looking to trademark their product, brand, or business, can file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Understanding Permits and Licenses

If your business conducts certain activities that are regulated by a federal agency, you’re required to get a permit or license. A list of regulated activities can be found on the SBA website, and includes activities such as agriculture, alcoholic beverages, and transportation.

There are many different ways to fund a business. One of the key mistakes entrepreneurs make is not having enough capital to get their business running . The good news is that there are several channels to help make this happen, given the vital role entrepreneurs play in creating jobs and boosting productivity in the wider economy.

Self-Funding vs. External Funding

Bootstrapping, the term commonly used to describe self-funding your business, is where companies tap into their own cash or network of family and friends for investment. While the advantage of self-funding is having greater control, the downside is that it often involves more personal risk.

External funding involves funding from bank loans, crowdfunding, or venture capital , among other sources. These may provide additional buffers and enable you to capture growth opportunities. The drawback is less freedom and more stringent requirements for paying back these funds.

Grant and Loan Opportunities

Today, there are thousands of grants designed especially for small businesses from the government, corporations, and other organizations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a weekly update of grants and loans available to small businesses. 

For instance, Business Warrior offers loans between $5,000 and $50,000 to small business owners. As another example, Go. Be. Elevate Fund offers $4,000 to grant recipients who are women and/or people of color business owners to help them grow their businesses.

When it comes to marketing, there is a classic quote from Milan Kundera: “Business has only two functions—marketing and innovation." In order to reach customers, a business needs a marketing strategy that attracts and retains customers and expands its customer base.

To gain an edge, small businesses can utilize social media, email marketing, and other digital channels to connect and engage with customers.

Branding Your Business

Building a successful brand goes hand in hand with building a great experience for the customer. This involves meeting the expectations of your customer. What is your brand offering? Is it convenience, luxury, or rapid access to a product? Consider how your brand meets a customer's immediate need or the type of emotional response it elicits. Customer interaction, and in turn loyalty to your brand, is influenced, for example, by how your brand may align with their values, how it shifts their perception, or if it resolves customer frustration.

Digital Marketing and Social Media

We live in a digital-first world, and utilizing social media channels can help your business reach a wider audience and connect and engage in real time. Given that a strong brand is at the heart of successful companies, it often goes without saying that cultivating a digital presence is a necessity in order to reach your customers. 

According to HubSpot’s 2023 report, The State of Consumer Trends, 41% of the 600-plus consumers surveyed discovered new products on social media and 17% bought a product there in the past three months.

Managing a business has its challenges. Finding the right personnel to run operations, manage the day-to-day, and reach your business objectives takes time. Sometimes, businesses may look to hire experts in their field who can bring in specialized knowledge to help their business grow, such as data analysts, marketing specialists, or others with niche knowledge relevant to their field.

Hiring and Training Staff

Finding the right employees involves preparing job descriptions, posting on relevant job boards such as LinkedIn, and effectively screening applicants. Careful screening may involve a supplemental test, reviewing a candidate's portfolio, and asking situational and behavioral questions in the interview. These tools will help you evaluate applicants and improve the odds that you'll find the people you are looking for.

Once you have hired a new employee, training is the next essential step. On average, it takes about 62 hours to train new employees. Effectively training employees often leads to higher retention. While on-the-job training is useful, consider having an onboarding plan in place to make the transition clear while outlining expectations for the job.

Scaling Your Business

Growing your business also requires strategy. According to Gino Chirio, executive vice president at the consultancy group Maddock Douglas, there are six ways that companies can grow their business to drive real growth and expansion:

  • New processes: Boost margins by cutting costs.
  • New experiences: Connect with customers in powerful ways to help increase retention.
  • New features: Provide advancements to your existing product or service.
  • New customers: Expand into new markets, or find markets where your product addresses a different need.
  • New offerings: Offer a new product.
  • New models: Utilize new business models, such as subscription-based services, fee-for-service, or advertising-based models.

With these six ways to grow a business, it is important to consider the risk, investment, and time involved. Improving your margins through new processes is often the most straightforward way to grow. Offering new features is also effective since it is tailored to your existing market with products you have already delivered.

By contrast, offering new products may involve higher risk since these have not been tested in the market. However, they may offer higher reward, especially if you have a first-mover advantage and release your product in the market before the competition.

A good place to start building a business is to understand the following core steps that are involved in an entrepreneur's journey : market research, creating a business plan, knowing the legal requirements, researching funding options, developing a marketing strategy, and business management.

A business plan is made up of a number of primary components that help outline your business goals and company operations in a clear, coherent way. It includes an executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management description, service or product line description, marketing and sales plan, funding requests (optional), and financial projections.

Business growth can fall into the following six categories, with each having varying degrees of risk and investment: new processes, new experiences, new features, new customers, new offerings, and new models.

Knowing how to start a small business involves the key steps of market research, setting up a business plan, understanding the legal requirements, exploring funding options, crafting a marketing strategy, and managing your business. 

For aspiring small business owners, these steps can help you successfully deliver your product or service to the market, and ultimately grow. While it can take a considerable amount of work, the payoffs are manifold: independence of work, personal fulfillment, financial reward, and following your passion.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce. " The State of Small Business Now ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Market Research and Competitive Analysis ."

U.S. Small Business Administration." Write Your Business Plan ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Choose a Business Structure ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Register Your Business ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Apply for Licenses and Permits ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Fund Your Business ."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce. " 52 Grants, Loans and Programs to Benefit Your Small Business ."

Ogilvy. " Behind Every Brand Is a Great Experience, and Vice Versa—Why Today's Customer Expects Synergy ."

HubSpot. " The State of Consumer Trends in 2023 ."

Training Magazine. " 2022 Training Industry Report ."

Harvard Business Review. " The Six Ways to Grow a Company ."

  • How to Start a Business: A Comprehensive Guide and Essential Steps 1 of 25
  • How to Do Market Research, Types, and Example 2 of 25
  • Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, and How to Create One 3 of 25
  • Marketing in Business: Strategies and Types Explained 4 of 25
  • What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One 5 of 25
  • Business Development: Definition, Strategies, Steps & Skills 6 of 25
  • Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How to Write One 7 of 25
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Meaning, Types, Impact 8 of 25
  • How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan 9 of 25
  • Business Startup Costs: It’s in the Details 10 of 25
  • Startup Capital Definition, Types, and Risks 11 of 25
  • Bootstrapping Definition, Strategies, and Pros/Cons 12 of 25
  • Crowdfunding: What It Is, How It Works, and Popular Websites 13 of 25
  • Starting a Business with No Money: How to Begin 14 of 25
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Establishing Business Credit 15 of 25
  • Equity Financing: What It Is, How It Works, Pros and Cons 16 of 25
  • Best Startup Business Loans 17 of 25
  • Sole Proprietorship: What It Is, Pros and Cons, and Differences From an LLC 18 of 25
  • Partnership: Definition, How It Works, Taxation, and Types 19 of 25
  • What Is an LLC? Limited Liability Company Structure and Benefits Defined 20 of 25
  • Corporation: What It Is and How to Form One 21 of 25
  • Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide 22 of 25
  • Starting an Online Business: A Step-by-Step Guide 23 of 25
  • How to Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: Essential Tips 24 of 25
  • How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business: A Comprehensive Guide 25 of 25

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How to start and fund your own business

Learn from the Small Business Administration (SBA) how to start and fund a small business, from researching the market to launching your new business.

How to start a business

The SBA can help you learn how to start your own business with 10 Steps to Start a Business .

The SBA's Business Guide covers other important aspects of running a business. These include:

  • Paying business taxes
  • Getting business insurance
  • Applying for licenses and permits
  • Hiring and managing employees

Business funding options

Learn from the SBA about sources for funding your business . They include:

  • Self-funding

Funding resources for specific groups

The SBA also provides business guides and resources on funding and contracting programs for special groups, including:

  • Women-owned businesses
  • Minority-owned businesses
  • Native American-owned businesses
  • Veteran-owned businesses
  • Military spouse-owned businesses
  • LGBTQ-owned businesses
  • Rural businesses

LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023

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40 Proven Ways to Fund Your Small Business

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Angelique O'Rourke

22 min. read

Updated October 27, 2023

When it comes to funding, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Aside from every business having unique funding needs, each funding option differs in availability, terms, funding amounts, and eligibility criteria. We’ve compiled a list from a variety of places to help you research and narrow down the best option for your business.

Determine how much funding you’ll need

Estimating your startup costs is not only a  necessary element  of your financial plan, but it can help you determine how much  funding you really need . This can immediately give you a jumpstart on your financing search and narrow down potential options simply based on the amount they offer. 

Additionally, having a cohesive financial plan in place can improve your chances of actually being approved for funding. It showcases forward-thinking on your part and for traditional loans, investors, and any other funds that require a business plan or pitch, it’s necessary to even be considered. 

Once you’ve planned out how much you’ll need, it’s time to survey your options.

  • Traditional loans

One of the most widely available options is a traditional business loan. And while the process and requirements may be fairly similar no matter the lender, there are different loan options you’ll want to consider.

1. SBA loans

Small Business Administration loans  are often one of the first places that small business owners in the United States think of looking for a loan, and they’re right to think this way. This can be a great option if you fit the criteria. 

If you’re unsure if you qualify,  take a look at this article  for details on the SBA Loan program. Or if you’ve applied and had your application rejected,  check out this article  for ways to improve your chances of being approved if you reapply.

2. Bank loans

Bank loans may be the most obvious solution for business owners looking for funding. While lending standards have become stricter over time, there are often funds set aside strictly for small businesses depending on the lender. 

Shop around and look for lenders that you can actually talk to a real person when applying. This helps ensure that you’re filling out the necessary paperwork and provides insight into what you can do to  improve your chances  of being approved. You’ll typically have better luck chatting with a real person at a local bank or credit union, so do your research and chat with multiple institutions to find the best fit.

3. Small Business Lending Fund 

This is a dedicated government fund that provides capital for small business loans through specific lenders in each U.S. state. The primary benefit of this program is that it’s designed to grow the economy. 

The more a bank increases its loan output the less it pays for funding. Giving access to loans to more businesses and potentially passing along better rates or terms to business owners. You can review which banks are participating and download an application through the  Treasury website , which is updated on a monthly basis as banks enter or exit the program. 

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Entrepreneurs can also look into various  grants  to support their budding idea. These are often difficult to acquire and include very specific eligibility requirements, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a viable funding option. Here’s a list of places to find that perfect grant for your business.

4. National Association for the Self-Employed Grants

Since 2006 the  National Association for the Self-Employed  has given out $650,000 in grant money. Applicants can receive up to $4,000 and must use the money for marketing, advertising, hiring employees, or expanding facilities. You do have to be a member of the association to apply, which costs $120 a year.

5. Nav’s Small Business Grant

Nav is an online marketplace that matches small business owners with their best business financing options by using credit and finance data. Each quarter, Nav gives away 3 grants, with the top grant winner receiving $10,000. This is to provide relief to small businesses that are struggling right now and hopefully empower them to reach their next level of success.

The application is easy. Simply explain your business, the challenges you are facing, and how the grant money would help push you in the right direction. All details about Nav’s Small Business Grant can be found  here .

6. Small Business Innovation Research Program

One of the more lucrative federal grant programs is the  Small Business Innovation Research Program , which helps businesses with research and development projects.

The program, which is coordinated through the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers several kinds of grants: open, closed, future, and solicitation listing. You’ll want to research which option is best for your company.

Expect a lengthy qualification process and, if selected, a strict measurement plan to ensure the money is going to good use.

7. Amber Grant for Women

Female business owners can take advantage of the  Amber Grant . This grant was launched in 1998 by Womennet to help entrepreneurs succeed. Each month, one woman is selected for a $500 grant. At the end of the year, one of the winners is selected for a $2,000 grant.

It’s a simple application process. You just have to answer a few short-answer questions through an online form and pay a $7 application fee.

8. National Institute of Health Funding 

The  SBIR/STTR grants  provided by the National Institute of Health Funding are going to apply fairly specifically to technology or research-based businesses. If you fall within an eligible business-type, you can speak to a program manager before applying to discuss the technology or study you plan on using the grant for. This gives you an idea of what the institute is interested in and willing to fund, as well as guidance on how to develop your application.

9. Government Small Business Grants

Possibly the most widely available grants are provided by the U.S. government. However, these are typically industry-specific, meaning that you’ll need to look into what’s available for your business type. The SBA offers a convenient area on their website to  conduct research  about which may be right for you.

  • Fintech funding options

Financial technology (fintech) lenders are institutions that provide loans or lines of credit as an alternative to traditional bank or government loans. More and more of these funding options are becoming available, and typically provide similar loan amounts and lending terms. 

That being said, you’ll want to check out a lenders track record, services, application requirements, and customer support, as well as loan terms, to find the best option. Here are just a few of the platforms currently available.

10. Kabbage 

If you run an eCommerce business through the likes of eBay or Amazon,  Kabbage  is a great option for you. Overlooking the traditional collateral and credit score criteria associated with most loans, Kabbage is more concerned with your status as an online seller. You still need well-documented accounting data and  cash flow statements , but the rest is determined by customer feedback, selling history, turnover, and other digital metrics. 

So as long as you have a solid history of selling online and have your financial documentation in order, you can easily be approved for unsecured cash advancements in just a few minutes.

11. OnDeck 

Similar to Kabbage,  OnDeck  awards loans based on alternative metrics regarding the health of your business. In this case, they look at the annual revenue of your business to determine eligibility and help tailor the loan and payments around your needs. They also give you the opportunity to apply for either a loan or a line of credit depending on your circumstances, meaning that you can potentially stick with one lender for your funding needs. 

12. PayPal 

PayPal  offers both working capital and traditional business loans and will lend based on an existing business’s earnings on its site. The primary limitation of this service is that you need to currently make sales using PayPal and/or operate using a PayPal Business account in order to apply. But if you already utilize PayPal, funding through them is incredibly fast, requires no collateral, and doesn’t penalize you for a low credit score.

One drawback is that a loan through PayPal does not build your business credit, meaning that you won’t be helping your chances of getting a different business loan later on. But if you want to stay within the PayPal ecosystem, it will improve your chances of getting more funding through additional PayPal loans.

Instead of serving as a direct lender,  Lendio  instead acts as a financing aggregate platform. Working with a network of over 300 lenders, including Kabbage and OnDeck, they match users with the best option for their needs. So rather than reviewing every single fintech organization and filling out different applications, you can simply review hundreds at once and apply with a simple form.

The only drawback of using a middleman like Lendio is that your funds will likely take longer to get to you. But if you’re looking for long-term funding that also provides excellent customer service, Lendio is worth checking out.

  • Crowdfunding sites

On crowdfunding websites, you create promotional materials and set up a page for your business or project to accept financial backing from those who visit the site. Each site varies a little, so be sure to  read the fine print  as you decide which is right for you.

14. Indiegogo

Another option for crowdfunding is  Indiegogo . Similar to other crowdfunding sites, you create a profile, tell your story, set a fundraising goal, and ask for donations. However, Indiegogo’s fee structure is a little different—it’s not an all-or-nothing scenario. Indiegogo takes nine percent of your earnings if you don’t reach your goal, and four percent of your earnings if you do reach it. Here’s the  fee structure.  

15. Kickstarter 

Kickstarter  is the most popular crowdfunding site out there; since its inception in 2009, the site has raised $1.7 billion dollars, which funded 85,000 projects.

Like most crowdfunding sites, business owners create a profile page that outlines the business and sets a fundraising goal. Those who donate are promised some sort of reward, like being the first to try out the new product.

However, it’s an  all-or-nothing scenario on Kickstarter.  In other words, you have to hit your fundraising goal to keep the money. If you fall short, your donors get their money back. Even if you do reach your goal, Kickstarter takes five percent as a fee. Learn more about  Kickstarter’s guidelines here.

Kickstarter has the name recognition, but it also has a lot of campaigns. Everything from art projects to business ventures are actively competing for funding, so you’ll want to evaluate the site to make sure it’s the right fit for your business.

Causes  has been designed specifically to fund social, political, and cultural initiatives, making it perfect for nonprofit businesses. It’s entirely free to join and also acts as somewhat of a social platform for like-minded people looking to improve the world at large. That means this platform isn’t just useful for acquiring funding but is a great way to connect with donors, partners, and potentially even future employees. 

17. Patreon

If you operate a digital media business such as a podcast, web series, or blog, a monthly subscription-based model may be more appropriate for you. And luckily,  Patreon  was designed as a crowdfunding platform specifically for digital creators. Instead of a single upfront investment or financing round, Patreon lets you establish specific tiers at different price-points for your followers to subscribe to. 

You can offer exclusive content, merch, access, and other items that grow in cost or quality, basically allowing you to conduct user testing continuously. It’s a great platform to build and directly connect with your audience while still operating across other social channels outside your Patreon. 

Just make sure you keep to a schedule or your subscribers may end up finding somewhere else to spend their money.

18. Fundable

Think of  Fundable  as a cross between Kickstarter and traditional venture capital funding. Instead of just posting a single product or service, you promote your entire business on the site, geared toward attracting funding from venture capitalists and other accredited investors. You still post timeline updates and an overall funding goal, but you also need to showcase your overall business plan. 

It basically acts as an ongoing pitch, but with a bit of additional investment on your part. Unlike most crowdsourcing sites that typically take out a fee, Fundable charges a monthly payment to stay on the platform. Additionally, it acts as an all-or-nothing funding system, meaning that you need to reach your goal or lose it all.

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending

It’s not always easy to  explain your business concept to a banker,  but explaining it to your peers is a whole different concept. A lot of startups chose to borrow money from their peers, but rather than asking your college buddy to cough up a few grand, try these websites instead.

19. Prosper

Prosper  is a well-known peer-to-peer lending site. It has the name recognition in the field, with $3 billion given out in loans.

With this resource, you’re given an interest rate based on an evaluation. You create a loan listing so investors can see what you’re all about and what you need the money for. Once an investor commits to funding your loan, you’ll get the cash and set up a payment plan. Rates start around seven percent but can go as high as 35 percent.

20. LendingClub

If you’ve been in business for a few years, but need some additional capital, check out  LendingClub . With LendingClub, loans are financed through investors. You need two years of business history, at least $75,000 in annual sales, and have a good personal credit score. There’s a five-year cap to pay back your loan, and as with any loan, you’ll face interest rates and additional fees.

21. Upstart

Upstart  is designed to help younger entrepreneurs get funding with little to no credit or financial history. It does so through an underwriting model, that utilizes AI and nontraditional data, to review and evaluate based on things like education level, job history, place of residence, etc. This means that their requirements are far less strict and that eligibility is based solely on forward momentum and potential.

While the loans themselves cap out at $50,000, using Upstart can be a great method to consolidate high-interest debt or fund expansions to your business. 

22. Funding Circle

Funding Circle  connects your small business with investors. Loans range from $25,000 to $500,000; you’ll speak with a loan manager who will walk you through the process, and you could get funding within two weeks.

Interest rates vary from six to 20 percent, depending on how quickly you pay back the loan. Plus, there are origination fees and late fees if you miss a payment. Check out the rates and fees before you apply.

23. Peerform

Peerform  is designed to be beneficial for both investors and small businesses. The online portfolio builder helps investors create unique and diversified portfolios specific to their financial goals and willingness to take on risks. For borrowers that have between a 600-700 credit score, it offers incredibly competitive rates, as low as six percent, on short-term loans up to $25,000. 

While not the strongest choice to fund a full-on business expansion or startup, it can be a great way for a relatively healthy business to pay off debt, make a large purchase, or cover operational costs for a time.

  • Venture capital

If you have a strong initial interest in your business and a roadmap for long-term growth, you may want to pursue venture capital for funding. You can  utilize the SBA investment finder  to find potential investors or utilize one of the following platforms to pitch your business and connect with venture capitalists. 

24. FundersClub

FundersClub  was one of the earliest online venture capitalist crowdfunding platforms originally emerging from the YCombinator back in 2012. For businesses, you can either be solely funded by specific investors or be grouped in with similar businesses as a diversified fund to invest in. 

While it’s a great way to gain exposure to hundreds of accredited investors, actually getting on the platform itself is fairly difficult. They only accept around 2% of applicants and even recommend that your business be recommended by a founder before applying. But with a strong pitch and the willingness to make connections, it’s still a viable option for small businesses.

25. MicroVentures

MicroVentures  is the other original online venture capital platform with a long history of making funding available to early-stage startups. While they originally only offered traditional angel investment and venture capital options to accredited investors, they’ve adapted their platform to make specific investment opportunities available to anyone. This expansion is especially great for business owners pursuing funding as it simply means there are more people looking to invest.

Now, this open nature does have its drawbacks as there are simply so many businesses seeking investment on the site. This can make it easy to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t have a solid pitch or way to standout. But as far as an additional way to potentially seek out investors, MicroVentures is worth exploring even if it’s simply expanding your options.

  • Angel investment

An  angel investor  is typically an individual or group that have spare cash available and are willing to provide capital for a start-up or expansion. The primary benefit of  having an angel investor fund your business  is that it is far less risky than a loan or venture capital as you typically don’t have to repay. Instead, an angel is looking for some sort of share in your business and is willing to look further ahead on seeing any sort of return. 

So if you’re willing to relinquish some control and want to seek investment from an angel investor, here are some great options to do so.

26. Gust 

Gust  operates as both an investment matching network and a tool to make your business more attractive to investors. No matter the stage of your startup, Gust helps you organize specific documentation, set benchmarks, identify gaps in your team, and a number of other methods to grow and improve your business. All with the intent of designing it to be an easy yes for angel investors.

27. CircleUp

If you own and operate a company focused on retail and consumer products,  CircleUp  is the perfect platform for you to seek funding. Utilizing their proprietary Helio machine learning platform, CircleUp seeks to provide funding to as many early-stage entrepreneurs as possible. 

Taking publicly available, partner, and private data (provided by entrepreneurs), it aggregates the information into a digestible scenario that represents the potential for a business. It even helps CircleUp identify business opportunities around an emerging trend, which can be useful for business owners that may not be aware of how to leverage it.

Offering both credit and equity financing, CircleUp is a diverse option that’s great for those seeking angel investment that also provides insight they can leverage to improve their business.

28. Angel Capital Association

Think of the  Angel Capital Association  (ACA) as the hub for a network of angel investment organizations across North America. Less of a virtual platform and more of an opportunity to connect with and build relationships with over 18,000 angel investors, the ACA was designed and currently operates by bringing in angel groups over individual investors. 

While it may be more traditional in nature, it’s still a great method for researching and learning from investors across various industries. It can be a great tool for growing your business even if you don’t end up seeking out funding in the end.

Microloans are simply just smaller business loans. In many ways, these smaller funding options kicked off the explosion of fintech organizations who eventually grew to offer traditional loans as well as microloans. While there are typically specific limitations in regards to how much you can get, a microloan may be a great option if you need a bit of capital to fund specific operational costs, expansions, or projects. 

Accion  operates as a global nonprofit with the primary goal of helping small businesses secure worthwhile funding partnerships. Aside from loans, they also provide advisory services and continuously lead the charge as thought leaders for financial inclusion.

Additionally, they offer funding opportunities focused on growing organizations that work to accelerate global financial inclusion. While it’s less of a traditional microlender, it does ensure that any investment or partnerships follow a specific methodology and goal. If that matches up with your organizations’ mission, Accion may be a great option for you.

30. LiftFund

LiftFund  runs the gambit in regards to loans. Not only do they offer microloans, but traditional and SBA options as well. This makes the range in loan amounts extremely vast, with the lowest option being just $500 and the maximum being up to one million. It acts as a great option for businesses that are either extremely new or don’t make enough monthly revenue to pursue traditional loan options. 

The only drawback is that LiftFund operates similarly to local SBA or credit union locations. This simply means that if they don’t operate in your area you’ll be out of luck and need to find a different option.

Kiva  is a great example of an online portal for microloans. The application is simple and the terms are great, with US small businesses being able to take out loans of up to $15,000 at a 0% interest rate. You can invite friends and family to help fund you and then set up a 30-day fundraiser to attract funding from the Kiva lending community. 

Once you receive funding, you then have up to 3-years to repay. But you can utilize Kiva as a marketing platform to help build your customer base and accelerate your road to repayment.

32. Opportunity Fund

The  Opportunity Fund  operates strictly as a microloan provider for small businesses owned by low-and-moderate-income immigrants, people of color, and women. Their goal as an organization is to promote growth in low-income communities by helping entrepreneurs that traditionally have difficulty acquiring funding. If you fall within any of these categories and have had difficulty acquiring a bank loan or even alternative funding, a microloan from the Opportunity Fund may be a better option.

  • Pitch Competitions

Looking for a fun way to get your hands on some business capital? Enter a contest. There are several contests that happen throughout the year. If you miss the deadline this year, bookmark the site for a shot next year.

33. Hatch Pitch

If you’re creating a product or service based on innovative technology, you can pitch your idea during Hatch Pitch, an event that takes place each year at the South by Southwest (SXSW) event. You have four minutes to pitch your startup to judges. Learn more about how it works on the  Hatch Pitch site.

34. TechCrunch Disrupt

Traditionally an in-person event,  Disrupt  is going all digital this year. Sponsored by TechCrunch, this event is all about hearing from tech founders and networking to build your business. You’ll have opportunities to interact with individuals from similar industries, pitch your business to investors and founders, and gain insight from the best and the brightest from Silicon Valley.

While not necessarily a traditional pitch competition, this event provides a great opportunity for emerging businesses to make their mark and connect with founders. 

35. WebSummit PITCH

PITCH  provides an opportunity for startups that have received less than $3 million in funding to battle it out and pitch their businesses. The only criteria to actually apply for the competition is that you must be part of the WebSummit Startup Program before applying, which you can apply to  here . The primary benefit of being one of the 135 startups to participate is that even if you aren’t the winner, you get a ton of exposure to lenders and investors.

It also ensures that you’ve refined your pitch and get an incredible amount of practice presenting it in front of investors. There are some hoops to jump through to get involved, but it’s well worth the effort if you’re an early-stage startup.

  • Bootstrapping methods

Bootstrapping: the time-honored tradition of doing basically any and everything you can think of to find money to use in your business. While any of the other funding options on this list are viable, you’ll likely find yourself doing some variation of bootstrapping to prepare your business. Here’s what you should be considering.

36. Friends and family

This is a tried and true method—the people in your life often believe in you and will put their money where their mouth is. Here are some suggestions on navigating  fundraising from friends and family. 

37. Business line of credit

This is an option for those who need cash quickly and have fairly good credit.  Check out this article  for more information.

38. Service or product presales

I have a friend who helped pay for massage school by pre-selling massages—she simply offered her massage services for  after  she would become an LMT (licensed massage therapist), in exchange for a contribution to her tuition. Once she graduated and got her licensure, those who contributed had a “pre-paid” massage waiting for them, which they could schedule at their convenience.

39. Using your savings/selling assets

Although this is also known as “betting the farm” and can certainly be risky, it is an option to use your personal savings and/or sell one of your existing assets and use that money to fund your business.

40. Using other income to fuel your business

As we’ve written about on Bplans previously, many people have  a side hustle  until they are able to go full time in the direction of their own business. Renting a room in your house using a popular site like  Airbnb  is a great example.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Angelique O'Rourke

Angelique is a skilled writer, editor, and social media specialist, as well as an actor and model with a demonstrated history of theater, film, commercial and print work.

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  • How to Use Your Business Plan Most Effectively
  • The Basics of Writing a Business Plan
  • 12 Reasons You Need a Business Plan
  • The Main Objectives of a Business Plan
  • What to Include and Not Include in a Successful Business Plan
  • The Top 4 Types of Business Plans
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Presenting Your Business Plan in 10 Slides
  • 6 Tips for Making a Winning Business Presentation
  • 12 Ways to Set Realistic Business Goals and Objectives
  • 3 Key Things You Need to Know About Financing Your Business
  • How to Perfectly Pitch Your Business Plan in 10 Minutes
  • How to Fund Your Business Through Friends and Family Loans and Crowdsourcing
  • How to Fund Your Business Using Banks and Credit Unions
  • How to Fund Your Business With an SBA Loan
  • How to Fund Your Business With Bonds and Indirect Funding Sources
  • How to Fund Your Business With Venture Capital
  • How to Fund Your Business With Angel Investors
  • How to Use Your Business Plan to Track Performance
  • How to Make Your Business Plan Attractive to Prospective Partners
  • Is This Idea Going to Work? How to Assess the Potential of Your Business.
  • When to Update Your Business Plan
  • How to Write the Management Team Section to Your Business Plan
  • How to Create a Strategic Hiring Plan
  • How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary That Sells Your Idea
  • How to Build a Team of Outside Experts for Your Business
  • Use This Worksheet to Write a Product Description That Sells
  • What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition? Use This Worksheet to Find Your Greatest Strength.
  • How to Raise Money With Your Business Plan
  • Customers and Investors Don't Want Products. They Want Solutions.
  • 5 Essential Elements of Your Industry Trends Plan
  • How to Identify and Research Your Competition
  • Who Is Your Ideal Customer? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself.
  • How to Identify Market Trends in Your Business Plan
  • How to Define Your Product and Set Your Prices
  • How to Determine the Barriers to Entry for Your Business
  • How to Get Customers in Your Store and Drive Traffic to Your Website
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Business to Customers and Investors
  • What Equipment and Facilities to Include in Your Business Plan
  • How to Write an Income Statement for Your Business Plan
  • How to Make a Balance Sheet
  • How to Make a Cash Flow Statement
  • How to Use Financial Ratios to Understand the Health of Your Business
  • How to Write an Operations Plan for Retail and Sales Businesses
  • How to Make Realistic Financial Forecasts
  • How to Write an Operations Plan for Manufacturers
  • What Technology Needs to Include In Your Business Plan
  • How to List Personnel and Materials in Your Business Plan
  • The Role of Franchising
  • The Best Ways to Follow Up on a Buisiness Plan
  • The Best Books, Sites, Trade Associations and Resources to Get Your Business Funded and Running
  • How to Hire the Right Business Plan Consultant
  • Business Plan Lingo and Resources All Entrepreneurs Should Know
  • How to Write a Letter of Introduction
  • What To Put on the Cover Page of a Business Plan
  • How to Format Your Business Plan
  • 6 Steps to Getting Your Business Plan In Front of Investors

The Best Books, Sites, Trade Associations and Resources to Get Your Business Funded and Running When it comes to business, information grows money. And there is an incredible array of free and low-cost resources available for passionate entrepreneurs.

By Eric Butow • Oct 27, 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is part 3 / 8 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 6: Getting Your Business Plan to Investors series.

Never forget that information grows money.

Thanks to the internet, market research for business planning purposes has become much easier and less time-consuming. For example, by logging on to the U.S. Census Bureau website ( www.census.gov ), you can learn everything you need about population trends in your market, which helps you determine market share—a key piece of information in any business plan. Using your site or email, you can set up an online focus group to get a handle on what prospective customers want from a product or service like yours, how they'd use it, where they'd like to buy it, and how often they'd purchase it.

This kind of information will help you establish pricing, distribution, and promotional strategies.

Related: The Best Research Tools for Entrepreneurs

You can garner a wealth of valuable information via the web on your competitors—and on businesses similar to yours operating in other markets. Visit these companies' websites to see what their product/service lines are, what their unique selling propositions are, who their target markets are and what media are used to reach them, what their prices are, and where and how their product is distributed. If their websites have a section called "News" or "Upcoming Events," you can learn about their plans for future marketing efforts and determine how they'll affect your business.

Related: Here's the Secret to Growing Your Small Business, According to Execs at UPS, Airbnb, Mastercard, and Other Big Brands

Trade Associations: Key Source of Targeted Information

Trade associations are an excellent source of specific trade and industry information. Suppose you are an artisan specializing in concrete countertops and related items. Is there a trade association? Sure, see The Concrete Network's newsletter for specialized information.

Because there are more than 22,000 trade associations in the United States, you will be hard-pressed not to find one that will include your business. Most have periodicals—magazines or newsletters—whose editors are eager to justify their positions by providing the membership with up-to-date information of all kinds. You can call the editor directly (they like to hear from members) or send him an email with your particular questions.

Related: How to Develop a Great Business Website

Trade associations often sponsor trade shows, which can help you get information on suppliers, industry trends, consultants, and even seminars directly related to your business. The people you meet and the informal exchange of knowledge that results provide the greatest value: production tips, problem solutions, contacts, and ideas.

Customer Data

If your business is already established, use your website and social media presence to solicit valuable feedback from your customers. Stay in touch with them to foster customer loyalty. After a sale is made, ask them whether they're satisfied or if more service is needed. Let them know about upcoming events and specials. Ask them what changes, if any, they'd like to see made in your product or service and how it's delivered.

Keep in mind the 80-20 principle in business, which says that 80 percent of your business comes from repeat customers and 20 percent from new customers. Too many businesses spend an inordinate amount of money trying to lure new customers when their repeat customers and the friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members of those regular customers are the backbone of most successful businesses.

Use the web and email to get the information you need about vendors and suppliers. Get a list of customers you can email, text, or phone so you can assess their business relationships before you make any commitments.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Position Their Businesses for Growth This Summer

If you don't yet have your business up and running, you may want to tap into social media on your own to discuss your upcoming business— don't give too many secrets away, but go to online groups, discussions, or Facebook pages where you may find your demographic audience and start a conversation. See what they think in general about your ideas—get feedback.

Financing Options

If your business plan will double as a financing proposal, visit the U.S. government's Small Business Administration site to learn more about the many different types of financing programs available. In addition to financial assistance through guaranteed loans, the SBA also offers counseling services, help in getting government contracts, management assistance through programs like SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), and lots of publications.

Related: A Guide to Elevating Your Franchise with Competitive Research and Data-Driven Insights

Other government organizations also offer financing to small businesses, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Export Assistance Centers . To find nongovernment organizations that provide financing to small businesses in your area, visit the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and ask which programs serve businesses in your area. Your banker and state economic development office can also help.

Books and How-To Manuals

Scores of books have been written on how to write a business plan. Most provide skimpy treatment of the issues while devoting many pages to sample plans. Sample plans are useful, but unless planners understand the principles of the planning process, they can't really create sophisticated, one-of-a-kind plans. The following books will help you with the details of various sections in your plan:

Dictionary of Business and Economics Terms (Barron's). In its fifth edition, this compact, 800-page dictionary is a cure for jargon overexposure. It provides concise definitions of business and has appendices that explain common business acronyms, provide tables of compounded interest rate factors, and more. It's the kind of book you'll turn to again and again.

Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days (Entrepreneur Press) by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager. The most recent edition of this marketing classic provides updated marketing techniques for those with little cash but high hopes. Levinson's insistence on the central role of planning and his simple but effective explanations of how to do it will serve business planners well.

What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know: An Insider Reveals How to Get Smart Funding for Your Billion Dollar Idea (McGraw Hill) by Brian Cohen and John Kador. If you want an inside and honest look at what angel investors think, this is a good book to get the perspective from the other side of the table. Cohen is chairman of the New York Angels, an independent consortium of individual accredited angel investors.

The internet provides a virtually inexhaustible source of information for and about small business, including numerous sites with substantial databases of tips and ideas concerning business planning. Some of the best include the following:

Entrepreneur.com . This is the website of Entrepreneur Media, the nation's premier source for information for the entrepreneur and small business community and the parent corporation of this book's publisher. The site contains a vast array of information resources, practical advice, interviews with experts, profiles of successful entrepreneurs, product and service reviews, and more.

The site offers resources for new entrepreneurs, including sample business plans and sections on startups, marketing, and technology, all of which can be helpful while in your planning process.

The Entrepreneur website also hosts Entrepreneur Media's Bookstore , a source for books— including this one—that offer expert advice on starting, running, and growing a small business. These include business startup guides, step-by-step startup guides to specific businesses, and business management guides, which offer in-depth information on financing, marketing, and more.

Related: Business Plan Lingo and Resources All Entrepreneurs Should Know

Small Business Administration ( www.sba.gov ). The SBA's website is a vast directory of services provided by the federal agency devoted to helping small businesses. These include special lending programs, electronic databases of minority- and disadvantaged-owned businesses, directories of government contracting opportunities, and more.

There is also a generous selection of answers to frequently asked questions, tip sheets, and other advice. You can get a list of questions to ask yourself to see if you have the personality of an entrepreneur, find help with selecting a business, and browse an entire area devoted to help with your business plan.

BPlans.com . Bplans offers a very comprehensive website with a host of information about all aspects of business plans, as well as starting and growing a business. Funding, tools for creating a plan, and robust business plan guides and templates are all available at bplans.com/business-planning .

Related: You Need Consumer Insights To Ensure The Success Of Your Business. Here Are Five Ways To Find Them.

Trade Groups and Associations

You're not in this alone. There are countless local and national organizations, both public and private, devoted to helping small businesses get up and running. They provide services ranging from low-rent facilities to financial assistance, from help in obtaining government contracts to help with basic business planning issues. Many of these services are provided for free or at nominal cost.

SCORE . The Service Corps of Retired Executives, known as SCORE, is a nonprofit group of mostly retired businesspeople who volunteer to provide counseling to small businesses at no charge. SCORE has been around since 1964 and has helped more than three million entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. SCORE is a source for all kinds of business advice, from how to write a business plan to investigating marketing potential and managing cash flow.

Related: The Top 6 Small-Business Trends on the Rise

SCORE counselors work out of nearly 400 local chapters throughout the United States. You can obtain a referral to a counselor in your local chapter by contacting the national office. For more information, visit Score.org or call (800) 634-0245.

International Business Innovation Association . The InBIA is the global organization for business incubators, which are organizations specially set up to nurture young firms and help them survive and grow. Incubators provide leased office facilities on flexible terms, shared business services, management assistance, help in obtaining financing, and technical support. For more information, visit inbia.org or call it at (407) 965-5653.

U.S. Chambers of Commerce . The many chambers of commerce throughout the United States are organizations devoted to providing networking, lobbying, training, and more. If you think chambers are all about having lunch with a bunch of community boosters, think again. Among the services the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers is a web-based business solutions program that provides online help with specific small business needs, including planning, marketing, and other tasks such as creating a press release, collecting a bad debt, recruiting employees, and creating a retirement plan.

Related: Capital Sources For Your Business

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the umbrella organization for local chambers, of which there are more than 1,000 in the United States. If you're planning on doing business overseas, don't forget to check for an American chamber of commerce in the countries where you hope to have a presence. They are set up to provide information and assistance to U.S. firms seeking to do business there. Many, but not all, countries have American chambers. You can find the national chamber of commerce at USChamber.com or call its Washington headquarters at (800) 638-6582.

More in Write Your Business Plan

Section 1: the foundation of a business plan, section 2: putting your business plan to work, section 3: selling your product and team, section 4: marketing your business plan, section 5: organizing operations and finances, section 6: getting your business plan to investors.

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how to get a business plan funded

How To Get a Startup Business Loan With No Money | Money

I f you have a business dream but zero capital, don’t fret. The financial world is teeming with opportunities, including the possibility of getting a startup business loan without any money on hand.

When starting a business, financing is often one of the initial challenges. Consider this an opportunity to hone your business vision and entrepreneurial skills.

During the process of pursuing a startup business loan, you’ll need to present a compelling story and a buttoned-up business plan to even get a hearing with a lender or investor. Read on to learn how business loans for startups work, whether you can get one without revenue and how to secure such a loan.

How does a startup business loan work?

Just like planting a seed requires water and sunlight, nurturing a startup requires capital. Small business loans are specifically designed to provide this financial nutrient. They are loans offered by online lenders, traditional banks, investors and credit unions to aid entrepreneurs in launching their businesses.

The process usually involves borrowers presenting a detailed business plan, including financial projections, a loan application and potentially some collateral. The lender examines your plan, gauges the potential success of your venture and decides on the loan amount, interest rates and repayment terms. The specifics of this process can vary from lender to lender.

Once your loan has been approved and you’ve received the funds, the journey doesn’t end there. Now comes the crucial phase of putting that capital to work effectively. Here are some things to consider:

  • Stick to the plan : Ensure that you adhere to your business plan as much as possible. Remember, your loan was approved based on this plan. Deviating significantly from it can not only lead to business instability but also make it challenging to meet your repayment obligations.
  • Manage cash flow : Be meticulous with your cash flow management. With a loan to repay, you’ll need to have a firm grasp on your revenue and expenses so that your business can meet all its financial obligations.
  • Repayment strategy : Be disciplined about repayments. Defaulting on your loan can have severe consequences, including damage to your credit score, loss of collateral and potential bankruptcy.
  • Communicate with your lender : Keep open lines of communication with your lender. If you foresee any issues with repayment or if your business conditions change, it’s always better to discuss this proactively.

Can you get startup business loans with no revenue?

Yes, it’s entirely possible to secure a small business loan for a startup even with no current revenue or a poor credit score. Traditional financial metrics such as revenue and credit scores are crucial for lenders, but in the case of business financing, lenders understand that such indicators might not yet exist for startups. Lenders may consider any combination of the following factors when deciding whether to lend to your startup:

  • The business plan : A well-articulated business plan serves as the backbone of your application. It demonstrates to lenders your understanding of the market and your competition. It should also lay out your strategy for attracting customers and beating out the competition. A lender pays particular attention to your financial projections, which outline your expected revenues, costs and profits.
  • Strength of the idea : Some lenders base their decision on the potential of your business idea. If your idea is innovative and caters to an unmet need in the market, lenders might see a higher chance of success and hence, a higher likelihood of loan repayment.
  • Personal credit score : If your business has no revenue or credit history, lenders often look at the personal credit score of the business owner. A good personal credit score can increase your chances of loan approval, as it signifies to lenders your history of responsible credit behavior.
  • Collateral : Lenders may also consider any assets that you can offer as collateral. These could be personal or business assets that the lender can claim if the loan isn’t repaid.
  • Personal guarantee : For startups with no revenue, lenders might ask for a personal guarantee. This means that if your business fails to repay the loan, you as the owner become personally liable.
  • Length of time in business : While startups by definition have a shorter history, the length of time you’ve been in operation can still play a role in the lender’s decision-making process. If you’ve been in business for a few months, this could indicate to lenders that you have some level of business acumen and stability. Even if you haven’t generated revenue yet, the fact that you’re still operational can be a positive sign. However, each lender will have their own threshold for how long a business needs to have been in operation before they’ll consider a loan.

If you already have a limited liability corporation (LLC) with some revenue to show, look into the best LLC business loans .

How to get a startup business loan with no money

With the right approach and careful planning, you can successfully navigate this process. Follow these practical steps when you’re ready to secure a startup business loan without any money:

1. Check the eligibility requirements of multiple business lenders

Every lender has unique requirements for a startup business loan. Some might require a minimum credit score, a guaranteed time in business or even specific financial statements. Review multiple lenders, from traditional banks to online lenders, and understand their specific terms before applying.

2. Decide which assets you may be able to offer the lender as collateral

If you’re applying for a loan with no money and no revenue, lenders will likely require collateral. This could be anything from personal property to future business earnings. Knowing what assets you can offer as collateral will not only enhance your application’s credibility but also expand your options when it comes to lenders.

3. Determine how much loan you can comfortably repay

Understanding your repayment capacity is vital. Consider your projected revenue, calculate your expenses and ascertain what size loan your business can handle. Remember, overextending yourself with a loan that’s too large can lead to financial stress and jeopardize your startup’s survival. You can always apply for an additional loan once you have some revenue to show lenders.

4. Carefully read over the loan terms and fine print

Take the time to pore over the fine print. Understand your interest rate, the repayment terms you must adhere to, and any penalties or fees attached to the loan. Some loans might come with variable interest rates that can significantly inflate your repayments over time. Others might have strict penalties for early repayments or late payments. Thoroughly understanding these terms can save you from costly surprises in the future.

5. Understand that you’ll likely have to sign a personal guarantee

In many cases, lenders require a personal guarantee when granting loans to startups. This means if your business defaults on the loan, you, as the business owner, become personally liable for repaying the debt. Before signing such a guarantee, consider the implications this could have on your personal finances and assets. While it’s an excellent way to get approval for your loan, it also increases your personal risk.

6. Weigh the benefits and risks of applying for a startup business loan

While a loan can give your startup the financial jumpstart it needs, it’s not without risks. You’ve got to balance the potential growth of your business and what it will mean to you financially against the obligation of loan repayments and the risk of default. Consider how the loan will impact your business’s cash flow and whether you can meet the repayment schedule even in less-than-ideal financial circumstances.

7. Have a detailed business plan ready

As a business owner, knowing how to write a business plan is an important skill. A robust, well-researched business plan can significantly improve your chances of approval. It should highlight the business’s potential profitability, target market, competition and a realistic projection of revenues and expenses. Financial projections, in particular, can demonstrate to lenders that you’ve thought through how you’ll use the loan and how you’ll generate enough revenue to repay it.

Alternative business funding options for startups with no current revenue

If traditional loans seem unattainable or unsuitable, other funding options might better fit your startup. Business credit cards, for instance, can provide short-term financing. Investors, whether they’re angel investors or venture capitalists, may be willing to finance your business in exchange for equity.

One popular new financing option for small businesses is through microloans . These loans can yield new businesses anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1 million. They’re typically offered by nonprofits, but government agencies have also started offering them. The Small Business Administration, for example, now offers microloans of up to $50,000 for supplies and equipment financing.

However, be aware that microloan lenders will still need to thoroughly analyze your business plan and creditworthiness before disbursing funds.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms like Kickstarter are also popular resources for entrepreneurs. These platforms allow a large number of people to contribute small amounts towards your funding goal, often in exchange for product discounts or early access.

If you’re lucky enough to have family or friends with piles of cash sitting around, you might consider pitching your idea to them. Many businesses get their start through investors that have a personal relationship with the entrepreneur. Keep in mind what kind of terms you could offer and whether or not you’re willing to put your personal reputation and relationship on the line if your endeavor doesn’t work out the way you hope it will.

Lastly, personal loans can be used to fund a business, though this typically comes with higher interest rates and requires a strong personal credit score.

To summarize, be sure to weigh all your options, and consider the risks and benefits of each funding option, before making a decision.

How to get a startup business loan with no money FAQ

What do i need for a startup business loan, how much can i get for a startup business loan, which banks offer startup business loans, how hard is it to get a small business loan for a startup, summary of money’s how to get a startup business loan with no money.

Knowing how to get a small business loan for a startup with no money may be one of your first, great entrepreneurial lessons. Getting a loan for startup money is, in fact, possible. But, you’ll have to produce a well-researched business plan to get any consideration from lenders. It’s likely you’ll also have to personally guarantee the amount you borrow for your business or offer collateral. You should carefully review applications to decide if the terms are acceptable. And, if you find that your loan offers fall short of how much money you were hoping to get, consider combining alternative funding sources to bolster your coffers.

With a sound strategy, clear understanding of the lending landscape and a solid business idea, you can turn the odds in your favor. It’s all about the right approach, research and perseverance.

© Copyright 2024 Money Group, LLC . All Rights Reserved.

This article originally appeared on Money.com and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer .


House passes $1.2 trillion bill to avert partial government shutdown

  • House lawmakers voted to avert a federal government shutdown.
  • The $1.2 trillion bill passed the House on a 286 to 134 vote.
  • The House needed the bill to pass with at least two-thirds support.

Insider Today

House lawmakers on Friday rushed through a $1.2 trillion bill to avert a partial government shutdown that would occur at midnight, sending the legislation onto the Senate.

House Speaker Mike Johnson had to use a special procedure to bring the legislation to the floor, forcing it to pass with at least two-thirds support. The final vote passed 286 to 134, it needed 280.

Related stories

It remains to be seen if Congress will actually avert the shutdown. Some Republican senators could throw up roadblocks to the legislation that could drag final passage past midnight.

Despite a potential lapse in funding, lawmakers have a little wiggle room as there are few practical effects to a government shutdown on a weekend when most employees would be off anyway . Once passed, the funding will last through September 30, meaning lawmakers will need at least one more deal this fall to keep the government open through November's election.

Under a plan Johnson engineered last year, the entire government would not shut down. Rather, lawmakers are funding roughly 70 percent of the federal government, per The Washington Post. If a shutdown were to occur, some employees, including TSA screeners, would stay on their jobs without pay.

The overwhelming majority of the bill ($824.4 billion) is devoted to funding the Defense Department.

As for its specific provisions, servicemembers are set to receive a 5.2% pay increase. Outside of defense, there's a $1 billion increase for child care and Head Start programs; a one-year extension for PEPFAR, the US program to combat HIV-AIDS; and a $3.5 billion for a new FBI headquarters.

Watch: What Happens If The US Hits The Debt Ceiling And Defaults

how to get a business plan funded

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  1. How to Make a Business Plan That’ll Get You Funded

    how to get a business plan funded

  2. How to Get Funded to Start a Business: 5 Ways to Get Your Business

    how to get a business plan funded

  3. Business Plan Tips: How to Write a Plan That Gets Funded

    how to get a business plan funded

  4. How to Get Funding Requirements in Your Business Plan

    how to get a business plan funded

  5. Step-By-Step Guide to Write Your Business Plan + Template

    how to get a business plan funded

  6. 9 Key Elements of an Effective Business Plan

    how to get a business plan funded


  1. How You Get Business Credit Without A Business

  2. How to get business grants in 2024 #businesstips #businessfunding #entrepreneurship #buinesstips

  3. How to Get funded in 2024 (Beginner's Trading Guide)

  4. 📚 Entrepreneur's Business Plan guide🏅


  1. How To Write the Funding Request for Your Business Plan

    A business plan contains many sections, and if you plan to seek funding for your business, you will need to include the funding request section. The good news is that this section of your business plan is only needed if you plan to ask for outside business funding. If you're not seeking financial help, you can leave it out of your business plan.

  2. 11 Startup Funding Options To Grow Your New Business

    1. Online Startup Loans. Online lenders and other fintech companies are becoming an increasingly common way to get a business loan. Business owners can typically borrow up to $500,000, but limits ...

  3. How to Fund Your Business Idea

    Equity financing, including angel investment and venture capital. Equity financing gives individuals or firms a share of ownership in your business in exchange for the capital they provide to you ...

  4. Starting a Small Business: Your Complete How-to Guide

    The Bottom Line. Knowing how to start a small business involves the key steps of market research, setting up a business plan, understanding the legal requirements, exploring funding options ...

  5. How to start and fund your own business

    The SBA can help you learn how to start your own business with 10 Steps to Start a Business. The SBA's Business Guide covers other important aspects of running a business. These include: Paying business taxes. Getting business insurance. Applying for licenses and permits.

  6. How to Write Your Business Plan to Secure Funding

    Step 5: Write out your sales plan. Here are a couple of steps you'll want to take to outline your sales plan. Have some branding ideas on hand: These might include a company name, logo, color ...

  7. 40 Proven Ways to Fund Your Business

    15. Kickstarter. Kickstarter is the most popular crowdfunding site out there; since its inception in 2009, the site has raised $1.7 billion dollars, which funded 85,000 projects. Like most crowdfunding sites, business owners create a profile page that outlines the business and sets a fundraising goal.

  8. 13 Ways to Get Funding for a Business

    1. Bootstrapping. Type of funding: Self. Bootstrapping is one of the funding sources that many business owners choose when starting their venture. In fact, 73% of business owners plan to self-fund their business this year. When you bootstrap, you use personal funds, such as savings or credit cards, to jump-start your business.

  9. How to Write a Business Plan for Funding

    Here are the core components of a successful business plan for funding. 1. An Executive Summary. The executive summary should cover the essential information about your business: what it does, who it serves, and what you're looking for from the people who read it.

  10. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

  11. Startup Funding: What It Is, How It Works, & 5 Tips for Landing It

    Startup funding is the money a business uses to start or support a new business. There are many different types of funding. Startups use these funds to cover marketing, growth, and operating expenses to launch the business. The number and types of funding options can be overwhelming for a new startup. Understanding the types of startup funding ...

  12. How To Write A Business Plan To Secure Funding

    There are a few key sections to include in your requests for funding. First, clearly state how much total funding you need, as well as the timeframe over which the funds will be used. Instead of grabbing a random number, give a detailed explanation of why and how the funds will be used. Also, outline any specific terms and conditions you need.

  13. How To Get Business Funding: A Guide for Employers

    Here are some steps to take in orderto find funding for your business: 1. Calculate how much funding you need. Before you can ask for funding for your business, determine exactly how much money you need. Calculate the costs for materials, a workspace, staff members and anything else you may need to start and run your company. 2.

  14. Startup Funding: How to Get Startup Capital

    Write a business plan. Many lenders and potential investors will require a business plan. This document outlining your business model, funding needs and plan to turn a profit can help persuade ...

  15. Small Business Grants: How To Get Free Money

    Fiserv + Clover Back2Business Grant Program: This program provides grants to Black and minority-owned small businesses in certain cities that have been affected by Covid-19. To qualify, you must ...

  16. Best Resources to Help Get Your Business Funded and Running

    Incubators provide leased office facilities on flexible terms, shared business services, management assistance, help in obtaining financing, and technical support. For more information, visit ...

  17. How to Create a Fundable Business Plan

    One business plan audience with very specific needs is funding sources such as investors and lenders. Unlike other audiences, funding sources are bombarded with business plans and are only able to fund a small percentage of plans they see. As such, when creating business plans for this highly competitive audience, be sure to do the following.

  18. How to get funding for a small business if you're just starting out

    4. SBA microloan. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers microloans to business owners who need startup funds, extra working capital, or cash to purchase supplies and equipment. The loans, which provide up to $50,000, are often granted to underrepresented business owners, like women, veterans, and minorities.

  19. Rules For Writing A Killer Business Plan That Gets funded

    2 Section: How to develop a business plan that gets funded. 2.1 If you're looking to get funded through venture capital or private equity, there are a few key pieces of information you'll need in order to create a successful business plan. In this section, we'll take a look at what those pieces are and how they can be used to help make your ...

  20. Small Businesses Seek Funding Despite Tough Lending Market

    In fact, 67% of U.S. small-business owners plan to pursue funding for their business within the next 12 months, according to a new NerdWallet survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among 335 ...

  21. How To Get a Startup Business Loan With No Money

    7. Have a detailed business plan ready. As a business owner, knowing how to write a business plan is an important skill. A robust, well-researched business plan can significantly improve your ...

  22. How to Get a Small Business Loan: A Guide in 10 Steps

    There are multiple types of small business loans available. The options vary depending on your business needs, the length of the loan, and the specific terms of the loan. Here are a number of small business loan choices: Small business line of credit. Under a small business line of credit, your business can access funds from a lender as needed.

  23. Business Plans

    Let us write your Business Plan. Many investors and banks require a well-constructed business plan road mapping how you will use their funds. A business plan with reasonable projections and a strong mission statement can be gratifying when successfully achieved also serving as a road map of success for you and your team and to help accomplish ...

  24. 10c 1 Summary Sheet BAHFA Business Plan Equity Framework Funding

    Association of Bay Area Governments. Bay Area Metro Center 375 Beale Street, Suite 800 San Francisco, CA 94105-2066. Phone: (415) 820-7900 Fax: (415) 660-3500 [email protected]

  25. House passes $1.2 trillion bill to avert partial government shutdown

    Under a plan Johnson engineered last year, the entire government would not shut down. Rather, lawmakers are funding roughly 70 percent of the federal government, per The Washington Post. If a ...

  26. Recur Club, InCred plan to provide Rs 300 crore funding ...

    Financial services firms Recur Club and InCred plan to invest Rs 300 crore in early and mid-sized startups in India in 2024. The funding will be primarily made across sectors like SaaS, tech services, B2B marketplaces, D2C, and logistics, among others, according to a statement.

  27. An Entrepreneur's Guide To Financing A Business Acquisition

    SBA 7(a) Loans. Prospective buyers with good credit and liquidity may be able to apply for a loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) program.

  28. Privately owned vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rates

    Socio economic categories Check your eligibility for small-business set-asides. Training and videos Suggested training for doing business with us. Travel Toggle submenu. Explore travel Plan a trip ... Plan a trip expand menu. Per diem rates. Transportation (airfare rates, POV rates, etc.) Lodging. State tax exemption. Travel charge card.

  29. 333 Oak Apartments set to get upgrades in Portland

    Anderson described the $7.2 million from HUD as "catalyst funding." "When we start work, it'll take about a year to do it. That includes relocating residents as we move throughout the building.

  30. Who ends up holding the bag for the Baltimore bridge collapse?

    Some funding could come from the Federal Highway Administration, as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed under Biden that provides grants to improves the nation's bridges.