Learn about some of the sources below, as well as how to obtain them, their relevant benefits, and associated risks.
Business Credit Cards
Business credit cards are credit cards issued under the business’s name, and used solely for business purposes. Approval for a business credit card often depends on the business owner’s personal credit and financial situation. Having a business credit card can help build business credit, offer rewards and bonuses, be useful in keeping personal and business expenses separate, and provide a relatively quick way to access cash.
High interest rates and fees, however, can make it easy for extra charges to add up quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on your balance, and make all of your payments on time. Depending on the terms of your business credit card, misusing a payment could affect your personal credit as well.
Crowdfunding is a financing method of raising funds through the support of backers who typically contribute through an online platform. There are three types you should be aware of:
- Reward crowdfunding: This type of crowdfunding offers backers of your campaign rewards such as exclusive experiences, or an early version of your product or service.
- Debt crowdfunding: This method allows lenders to loan a portion of the funds and earn interest upon the debt repayment.
- Equity crowdfunding: This method gives supporters investment opportunities in exchange for equity or potential future return.
Invoice financing is the process of selling your unpaid invoices to a lender in return for a percentage of the payment due in advance. The structure and fees can vary depending on the lender—fees are often a fixed payment or percentage based. Typically, once the customer pays the invoice in full, you then pay the lender according to your agreement, and receive the remainder of any funds you’re owed.
Invoice financing can provide quick access to cash instead of waiting until invoices are paid, but it can be accompanied by relatively high rates and fees. This method is usually more effective for larger, established enterprises that get paid via invoices from a regular client base.
Merchant Cash Advances
A merchant cash advance is a lump sum of funding that is then paid back (plus fees) on a regular basis based on a percentage of the business’s daily credit card sales. Because payback is percentage based, during times when your business is slower in sales, you would make smaller payments versus busier times when your repayments would be larger.
This type of debt financing can be relatively easy and quick to come by. However, the steep rates and fees associated with it can make it one of the more expensive options (and one that’s even considered a last resort choice for financing).
Depending on your business idea and goals, seeking venture capital (VC) funding could get your enterprise up and running. VC investments are commonly an exchange of cash in return for shares, and typically come from individual investors or organizations.
Investors are seeking the largest returns so they tend to be attracted to businesses that have high growth potential. When involving venture capitalists, you will no longer be the sole decision maker for the business. It’s common for venture capitalists to become involved in the business —they might, for example, look to obtain board positions, or take on managerial roles.