If you’re in the process of opening a business or are a successful business owner, then you know that one of the most difficult parts of being an entrepreneur can be obtaining financing. You know that money doesn’t grow on trees, but you also know that you can’t sit idly by and wait for it to magically appear. So how do you find the capital and resources you need to help your business grow and flourish?
In a time when bank loans are becoming increasingly difficult to receive, many owners have no choice but to explore other options; this is where alternative financing can help. Alternative financing is a term that encompasses several diverse financing options for business owners, including specialized lenders, such as non-profit organizations and government agencies.
Charlotte’s Alternative Lenders
Charlotte is fortunate to have several alternative lenders that are committed to helping small businesses access the capital they need:
• City of Charlotte: The City has a number of small business loan programs to help local businesses and also has a dedicated Small Business Loan Manager ready to discuss your unique business needs. (704-336-2735)
• Self Help: As a non-profit lender, Self Help is able to consider small business loans that traditional banks are unable to serve. Charlotte Self Help is located in the Great Aunt Stella Center (926 Elizabeth Avenue; 704-409-5900).
• The Support Center: As a statewide nonprofit, the Support Center finances companies that others turn away. (919-803-1437)
• Grameen Bank :For the smallest of start-ups, Grameen offers true micro-loans to women entrepreneurs. In Charlotte, Grameen is located in the Midwood International & Cultural Center (1817 Central Avenue; 704-900-8000).
Don’t forget about both old and new financing tools that businesses often overlook:
• Crowdfunding: The “new kid on the block” when it comes to business financing, at a minimum you should know that it exists. Especially good for lifestyle businesses, startups, high-growth and social enterprises.
• Factoring: Leveraging your accounts receivable can generate extra cash for your business.
• Leasing: Keep cash in your business by leasing the equipment you need rather than buying.
To determine which, if any, form of alternative funding is best for you it is important that you understand the pros and cons of each and consult with your accountant before moving forward.
We’ve included the infographic from National Funding because we believe that it is a great representation of small business funding in 2013. Developed around the idea that this year has been “the year for small business funding,” the infographic features facts and statistics about alternative lenders and alternative financing.
Now we want to hear from you:
Have you ever used alternative financing?
Which option have you found to be the most beneficial to your business?
Do you think the infographic is accurate? Is 2013 the year for small business funding?