The Good, Bad and Ugly of Business Funding
Every business sector has its flaws, and finance is no exception. There’s always a catch when you’re dealing with money, and at FaaSfunds, we’re here to make sure it’s not a Catch-22. With so much to understand and be careful of dealing with business funding, we’ve made a guide to help you make smart financial decisions.
There will never be free money. Even if you apply for grants or seek investments from angel funds, there’s always going to be requirements and paybacks that not everyone can meet. Loans aren’t free money, either, and there are several things you should be aware of before you apply. Since money is a business itself, lenders are out to make a profit off of your debt, so it’s good to be aware of their practices.
According to Harvard Business School, small businesses are the driving force of American job creation. In the 15 years leading up to the 2010 census, small and new firms were responsible for creating two out of every three new jobs. Small businesses are obviously vital to the American economy, so why is having one so hard? In order to have a successful small business, it’s important to understand every aspect of your finances and maintain your debt. Here, we’ll explain the good and bad sides to maintaining business finances and getting funding.
Debt isn’t technically a bad thing, as long as you know how to use it. According to the Federal Reserves Small Busines Credit Report for 2018, 70% of businesses have outstanding debt. But the thing is, lenders are going to let you acquire new debt if they trust you to pay them back, and the only way to do that is to have a proven track record or repayment.
The Bad News
According to Steve Goodrich, managing partner of North End Financial, in an article for Fundera, the single best predictor for paying off debt is the number of years a company has been in business. Roughly 50% of companies survive past the five-year mark, and if they can make it past that, it’s a pretty good indicator that they’ll succeed in the long run. After that five year mark, it’s significantly easier to get funding.
But what about in the meantime? That’s the catch with getting a business loan – if you’re a new business and don’t have a track record yet, it’s a lot harder to get a loan. The odds are seemingly stacked because already established businesses that turn a profit are usually the only ones likely to get funding. Startups are hard to get business funding because there’s no way to evaluate them.
This is where personal credit comes in. Often, when a business is just starting, owners and founders have to get funding based on their personal credit score. This can be good and bad. If you’re just starting a business, it’s a good idea to try and build up your personal credit first.
The Good News
The good thing about trying to find business funding as a new business is that there are options, albeit they’re rarer. How does any business get started, then, if it’s so hard? The answer lies in raising capital. For more technology/online-based, scalable businesses, they’ll often go to venture capitalists and investment funds. For more concrete, community-based businesses, options can be more limited.
Grants are hard to acquire, but finding investors can be a little easier if you have a solid business plan. There are sites specific for pledge crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo), and even newer sites popping up for something called equity crowdfunding – where accredited (and according to some state laws, non-accredited) investors can give money to companies and instead of receiving a product or swag, they receive a stake in the business.
There are also loans structured specifically for startups. The Small Business Administration has a microloan program, which gives small loan amounts to budding businesses at very reasonable rates.
If you’re looking for a traditional loan, or feel it would work best, people were the least dissatisfied in 2018 getting financing from a small bank, according to the Federal Reserve. Of those who got small bank loans last year, only 46% reported facing challenges, as opposed to 53% with large bank loans, and 63% with online lenders.
Within those numbers, however, the reasons for being dissatisfied varied. The most cited issues with small banks were their waiting times for approval and funding, and the most cited issue with online lenders were their high-interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms.
But then there’s the logistics of getting business funding, like how much of a credit risk your business is. Small banks only approve 47% of those considered “high credit risk,” as opposed to 76% for online lenders.
These are all the things you’ll have to take into account when trying to get business funding. If you have bad or little business credit, an online lender might be your best option, even though they have higher interest rates.
Do Lenders Want You To Succeed?
The world of finance isn’t really structured to help small businesses succeed. It’s more or less structured to keep big businesses successful. Just remember, lending is a business too. If you can’t pay or keep up with their terms, they’ll do whatever they can to get money from you. If you’re starting a new business, there are some things you should keep in mind that will not only set you up for success but also help you make a case to get funded.
Tech market intelligence platform CB Insights compiled a list of the top reasons that startup businesses don’t make it. At the top of the list was a lack of market need – of the failed businesses included in the research, 42% of them failed because they didn’t fill a market void, or there wasn’t a demand for their product. It’s important to analyze the market you’re looking to enter – whether it be a tech market or a retail market – to make sure that there’s an actual need for your product. You wouldn’t make a lemonade stand in the middle of the winter in Minnesota, would you?
The next most popular reason businesses fail, unsurprisingly, was running out of cash. 29% of failed startups cited this as the reason they didn’t make it. Next came not having the right team, getting outcompeted, and then finally, pricing and cost issues. Most businesses surveyed were within tech-related fields, but even if you’re not a tech startup, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the failure of other businesses.
So What Does All This Mean?
When you want to get your business funded, there are a lot of obstacles you’ll have to face. That’s the ugly side of business financing – it’s like a game of blackjack, and you have to play your cards right in order to guarantee you’ll come out of it successfully. Some of it is luck, and a lot of it is skill.
If you want help, though, that’s why FaaSfunds is here. If you’re starting a business and want to build your business credit, or you’re looking for funding options, or you’ve been around for a while and want to know what your next move should be – FaaSfunds is your go-to business finance tracker and funding advisor. We’ll match you up with the funding that best fits your business, no matter your credit score or financial history. If you want to know what FaaSfunds can do for you, click the button below to get started today.