Small business owners everywhere struggle with keeping their heads above water when it comes to finding funding. Most small businesses fail within the first year of business. The cause: they run out of money to support their operations. This doesn’t have to be you. Finding non-traditional funding isn’t easy, but when approached correctly and diligently, it will significantly pay off for the determined small business owner. Here are seven tips for finding non-traditional funding for your startup.
1 – Know Your Market, Know Your Product, Find an Angel Investor
Non-Traditional funding is all about buy-in. You’ve got to breathe it for people to believe it. This begins with knowing your market, what’s working and what’s not. Research and understand the ebb and flow of today’s market. Low cost, high return and quick return is on the mind of all consumers. Make sure your business idea honors the consumer’s demand. Your first true attempt for buy-in will be the consumer. After doing your homework, begin looking for an angel investor. Angel investors beat traditional methods of finding an investor since the angel investor can also serve as a partner in the business. Angel investors look for business owners who are passionate about their products and services. Land an angel investor and you’ve got it made.
2 – Find a Grant, Debt Free Funding Source
The first step to finding non-traditional funding is knowing how much funding you need and why you need it. Many businesses fail because of poor planning. You’ll need a solid business plan. You’ll need to know every aspect of it. And you’ll need to be prepared for intense interrogation on the finer points of it. When applying for funding sources such as grants, it is important that you make sure you have a business plan that demonstrates how the money you need will be invested and the return you expect to get back from it. Provide empirical data that supports why you think you will get a return on your investment. The hard core facts will get you grant funded. Drill down to the penny, giving each penny a very specific purpose. This sounds silly, but many businesses do not receive grant funding because they did not accurately project how much money they would need.
3 – Incubator Programs, A Multitude of Advisors is Key
After you have completed your business plan, if a grant is not appealing, get help by means of an incubator program. Incubator programs are made up of experienced business owners who have been successful in their businesses helping owners of startups via consultation and training. These incubator programs do not only provide monetary funding but assets valuable to a startup such as an office space and equipment. The most successful businesses are the ones who have found advisors, consultants, fellow business owners who have repeatedly been successful and know what it takes to be successful. Incubator programs are great places to really get that hands-on help you need and find the funding you need.