There’s really no talking about what’s next for your business without talking about the money needed to get there. But I find that often in the stories of how we made a major move – to scale a business, to launch a new product, to take on a huge new client, to make something new – we often talk about the fear, the inspiration, or the mindset without actually talking about the how. And girl, do we need to talk about the how.
Often, that how comes down to…how did you fund that jump? Now, let me define funding for a second because, in this age of unicorn companies and billion-dollar valuations, the word “funding” has become synonymous with “venture capital” and “startup costs”. But that’s not the case. Nor is it right for many business models. And just because you’re not venture-backed and scaling to the hundred million user (or customer) mark, doesn’t mean you’re not doing something valuable.
Follow Ladders on Flipboard!
Funding sources are wide and varied. There are SO many options and roads to take in order to take the next big step for your business. If you’re looking to scale your company just a little bit, secure the funds to buy that extra equipment or boost some of your marketing efforts, you’re most likely looking for working capital. Working capital is essentially the money needed to make a big move on your already established business (rather than the long-term capital required to start one). Popular sources for working capital include business loans, company grants, crowdfunding, personal capital, venture capital, online lending platforms (and more!).
Some of the business I admire most have made it big because they did what it took to get the capital for a risky expansion, the same expansion it took to put them on the map. However, when you’re struggling with cash flow (which 61% of small business owners say that they are according to this Intuit QuickBooks survey), finding the capital to expand or grow in any way can be rough.
As I look to make a major extension of my own business, I’m actively exploring the ways to fund this huge step. Building out WOMAN ON, a live-event talk show, has major earning potential for me and my team, but it also requires some serious startup costs. So, I’ve been actively researching what my options are to acquire the necessary working capital.
Here are some sources I’ve been exploring for you to consider, too:
Crowdfunding – This is an interesting idea because it allows people who are loyal to your mission, and what you’re passionate about, to help see your big ideas through. Your backers will get to help bring a product, idea, or launch to life in exchange for tiered awards and access. Because I have a large platform and audience, crowdfunding could make a lot of sense if I wanted to market to all of my friends and followers. Even without a platform, crowdfunding can be a viable and interesting option, provided you know how to nail an ongoing marketing campaign.
QuickBooks Capital – y’all know I run my business on QuickBooks. So, I’ve naturally gone deep on the ins and outs of its lending offering, QuickBooks Capital. This offering puts money right into the hands of small business owners who may have otherwise struggled to demonstrate their creditworthiness, and therefore, get access to the working capital they need to grow. It’s an amazingly transparent process that shows you your options with no commitment – with loans of up to $100k for a 12-month term available. If you’re approved, the loan will fund in less than 2 business days, so much faster and easier than traditional business loans. Exploring this has been so clear and interesting to me because I seriously had no idea this was even an option. Hello, possibility!
Sponsorship dollars – This doesn’t work for every business move or product, but because I’ve built my business on brand partnerships and experiential, finding sponsorship money from brands to fund my show could be an interesting fit for both parties. I’d have amazing brand partners to support my vision, and they’d have access and deep engagement with the community and content of their target audience that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
No matter what is next for your business, don’t stop talking to people and exploring your options for the working capital needed to grow. Ask other business owners, ask your accountant or bookkeeper, ask family, ask the internet, ask me! And you’ll find the solution that works best for you. When it comes to working capital there’s definitely no one right way.