As a small business owner, getting an initial commercial loan for a startup may not be the easiest thing in the world. Even with the United States economy turning around and companies seeing better consumer confidence add to their annual revenue, not every bank is going to be excited about receiving a startup loan application.
Not long ago, the federal government fed over $4 million into TARP funding to assist banks with giving out funds to small business, but even that didn't encourage lending. Most of those entities wound up taking the money for themselves, resulting in a similarly stagnant commercial loan market. Privately owned businesses are still making every attempt to stay active, and are looking for alternative funding options to help offset their existing loans, as well as their inability to secure new ones.
A whole new funding arena
In the past, the internet has shown itself to be useful for just about everything: Holiday shopping, locating housing, talking to friends next door or meeting people on the other side of the planet, there are few, if any, things that cannot be accomplished online. A rising trend in the alternative funding category, crowdfunding, has also proven invaluable to small entities in this area.
Businesses of all kinds and sizes have been able to secure startup and extra financing assistance from interested donors online. Because of the amounts given, businesses aren't always required to hand over shares of the organization or even claim them on tax returns, Forbes noted, so long as the total amounts received don't exceed a certain dollar value. Websites like Kickstarter can help with established firms as well, asking that entrepreneurs explain what product or service they're raising money to fund specifically and setting a goal with how much they feel they need to raise for the project to be successful. Online users donate and vote for specific programs, helping to boost corporate visibility as well as money for long term or short term use, depending on the nature of the fund.
Finding the means
When it comes to getting money to make small business dreams come true, online banking can help entities keep track of their current financial health, but putting money in these accounts could require some persistent applications.
USA Today wrote that, while some companies have profitable operations, they may not have anything to put up as collateral, making banks unwilling to extend commercial loans. Instead, these businesses can go online and find funding from similar sources or smaller dollar amounts to help them meet these goals. Unlike crowdfunding, entities don't have to wait to meet goals and potentially lose out on their whole initiative, instead targeting online resources that guarantee lending.
Robert Abendschoen of SearchLightcomics.com told the source that he had sent out lending applications to nearly 10 banks, all of which denied him because he owned no assets besides his inventory. Instead, he expanded his product line by asking online lenders for one-fifth the amount he needed, slowly enhancing his portfolio and then repaying the funds in a cycle until he met his goal.
The one thing that companies need to be mindful of when working with an online lender as opposed to business banking with a local source is that fees can easily get out of control. Being sure to repay quickly and keep overall balances at a minimum is the key to financial planning with alternative funding sources.