Securing the necessary funding can be the hardest part of pursuing any type of dream business. Without initial capital, you might not even have good enough credit to take out a business loan from your bank. The good news is that there are a number of alternative paths you can take to launch your business.
As bank requirements make it increasingly difficult to secure loans for business purposes, microlending programs are becoming increasingly popular for entrepreneurs. Case in point, at the start of the year, a microlending program in Illinois announced expansion plans in order to reach out to more lower-income people who either want to start their own business or stabilize their finances. Microlending programs can be found all over the country and are usually run by non-profit organizations who offer flexible and low to zero-interest terms if they know that the loan is for business.
Apart from getting you the money you need to get your business going, crowdfunding also doubles as an early way to reach out to and build trust among potential customers/clients. The Muse details how crowdfunding websites are all about getting the right people involved. The popular Kickstarter for instance allows you to create and offer certain perks for donors, depending on how quickly they follow you or how much they 'donate' to your fund. And since crowdfunding happens online where it's easy for anyone to get involved, it also makes sharing your vision for your dream business easier.
These are the high net-worth individuals who might want to be part of the development and growth of your potentially successful business. By investing anywhere from $10,000 to millions of dollars — depending on the current scope of your strategy— angel investors are hoping to rake in much more than what they invested later down the line. Apart from approaching established entrepreneurs and tapping personal contacts, you can also use the Angel Capital Association to find and meet angels that are amenable to doing business with you. As long as you can present a business plan that's more profitable than it is risky, you're bound to get an angel's attention.
This increasingly popular loan option is named such because their providers require just the title of a borrower's car —and not the car itself— as collateral. It's an option that's especially useful if you need to acquire capital fast for your dream company. Every city and state will have their own terms for title loans, so it is best to be thorough in your research to find a loan that best suits your requirements. Often cities will also offer special deals for citizens of a specific location with residents in Columbus, Ohio able to receive their title loan funds within one business day. Many other cities will offer a similar deal for locals, which is why it would pay to search close to home first. This is a valid option for those who need to inject some immediate cash into their venture. Just remember to always read the fine print before you sign any loan contracts, especially for new loan types that you're not already familiar with.
Friends & Family
While it's not always ideal, there are healthy and potentially productive ways to mix money with friendship. "Take a hard look at the history of your friendship. Have you had a conflict before? If so, how did you resolve it?" Our own Jodi Meltzer Darter asks the hard questions that need to be answered if you're going down this path. "Differences of opinion are inevitable when dealing with money and business partnerships. Is your friendship strong enough to overcome challenges and weather storms while remaining intact? Do you really trust her or are you taking a leap of faith?" If you're going to source seed funding from friends and/or family, weigh these questions well before making any decisions.
Starting any business is a risky venture and it can be hard to raise the funds you need through traditional loans. Hopefully the above tips will help you find the cash you need to develop your dream business.
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Help! I'm Sick of Seasonal Weight Gain!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
How would you deal with the seasonal weight gain that most women experience? I've put on literally 5–7 lbs around my waist/butt/lower thighs and it's the bane of my existence. Getting dressed hasn't even been fun lately:( I know it's "normal," but how do I battle the psychology behind this?
- McFattie in Brooklyn
Dear McFattie in Brooklyn,I'm sorry to hear that the winter blues is making your zipper hard to close. Personally, I roll with the rolls during the dark and frigid winter season, while chalking the glutton up to a basic survival mechanism. The feelings that accompany being out of shape and not wanting to dress cute (because your clothes don't fit well) can be both demoralizing and a blow to your self esteem. In this fantastic post, the author suggests great techniques that include keeping things in perspective and to "Ignore the panic," "Get curious" about your weight gain, and to keep it moving by "getting out of your room." Best of all is the advice to "Remember all things that are more important than this." If these head games don't serve you over time, and you still feel low, there may be deeper underlying reasons to your weight gain. In this case, I suggest you speak to a qualified therapist.
- The Armchair Psychologist