It can be a real conundrum. You often can’t get financing for your business until you can show two years of solid financial performance, but you can’t get through two years without some sort of business funding. Our friends at Financing.Org have a series running on how to get your business funded in its early days. Financing.Org provides funding up to 250000 to businesses in their startup stages. Check them out.
Credit card companies have long been viewed as sharks ready to pounce on people with money problems and charge them a high rate of interest for the privilege of being allowed to borrow money and therefore get into debt. That’s pretty much how we found ourselves in the credit crunch we are in today, with people borrowing far more money than they could afford to pay back, and therefore going bankrupt in the process. They then don’t spend on the high street and so big businesses go down too.
But not all credit cards have to be just a way to extort high interest on your repayments. So when is a credit card not a credit card? When it’s a low APR credit card!
‘APR’ refers to the Annual Percentage Rate. This is the amount of interest you will have to pay back to your credit company on top of the money you borrowed from them. Rates vary greatly, so you would be well advised to look around for a credit company that offers the lowest APR on any loans you take out.
Also, there is a catch here. Beware of credit card companies which offer you a low APR as a special introductory offer which only lasts a few months after you take out the loan. Credit cards are businesses and they don’t offer you something for nothing. They need to make their money back somehow and unfortunately, often, the payback you have to give for that low APR to begin with is an interest rate later on which is higher than that which most people are paying!
So, when you are looking for a low APR credit card, you need to take a long-term view. You need to think realistically about how much money you need to take out in a loan and how long that will realistically take you to pay back. Then you need to get out your calculator and compare some loan companies. What will you end up paying over the life of a loan?
You may be surprised that you could end up paying more for a loan which initially has a low APR but where the interest then rises sharply after a few months. It may be financially better for you to take out a credit card with a company where you are paying a consistently medium rate APR all the time. That may work out being cheaper for you.
The trouble may be, finding these low APR credit cards these days as fewer companies are willing to lend money and are wary of getting their money back, in the credit crunch. Another danger to avoid is being beguiled by any low APR rates you find and being seduced into borrowing more money than you need to or that you can afford to pay back. However, if you are sensible, low APR credit cards – if you look at the repayments carefully – do offer you a chance to save some money. You just have to do your homework and find the right one for you.
THe landscape is littered with would-be business owners whove tripped up in their search for startup funding. Every day we talk to would be entrepreneurs with great ideas just stuck in the mud. Most have no idea where to get the money they need to launch their businesses. Even those that know who to ask get turned down when they do ask. Even those that get a “YES” and secure startup funding and financing, find that the money comes with deadly strings attached. A bad capital raise up can leave a new business owner broke, in debt, and possibly even out on the street.
Startups are risky. For the entrepreneur and for the investory. Generally, the new entrepreneur lacks business experience, collateral and a firm understanding of just how hard it is to get a business launched. The risks are just part of the deal. Nobody wants to lose money. Not your bank, not your friends, not your family and certainly not angel or venture investors. Nobody will put their money at risk without some likelihood of getting a return on their money.
But their are lots of businesses out there, and they all started somewhere. So clearly its possible, and if there weren’t risks involved, there wouldn’t be big rewards either. The biggest obstacle to getting your startup funded or financed is not knowing how to get it done. Here are five major obstacles to getting your startup funded and off the ground.
1. Not Asking for Enough Money, and Not Managing Your Cash Flow Properly
Many new business owners burn right through their seed money and never
manage to get to a cash flow positive stage. It is easy to be an
optimist (you wouldnt’ be starting your own business if you weren’t
positive about your ideas). But an optimist is in danger of
overestimating his sales, or being too aggressive in predicting how
quickly your clients will pay you. Underestimate your returns or
overestimate your sales and you can find yourself on a quick road to
failure. If you can’t manage your expense/income ratios or if you
don’t have a handle on your forecasts, you can chase your investors away
and find yourself stuck in the mud and out of business. Make sure you
accurately, and pessimistically estimate your real cash needs and get
enough funding to get you running.
2. Focusing on the idea and not the team
Lots of people have great ideas. Few can get them from idea to business, and almost nobody can get their without help. Investors and lenders want to see that you and your team have the implementation skills and knowledge needed to get your idea to market. Investors are often more interested in the team than the idea itself. An idea can be adjusted if the team has the perseverence, insight, skills, contacts and other resources to get the job done.
3. Poorly thought out business plans
Yes the team is critical, but a great team with no plan, no product, no market won’t hold together and won’t accomplish much. Its easy to conceive of a great idea without working through the details of how to actually get from here to there. Its true that if you can sell a two dollar gizmo to even 10% of the people in China that you are a wealthy man. But if it costs you three dollars to identify, sell to and deliver to those billion people then the product, and the idea are worthless. A startup will only get funded if it can show that there is a solid plan to get from here to there.
4. Not putting it in writing
Hey we’re all friends, lets just get this thing off the ground. Who needs contracts? You do. The most important thing a contract gets you is CLARITY. A contract, even if only in the form of a deal memo, lets you and all of your team lay out what you expect. Who does what, who gets what, who contributes what. If you can’t write it down, it isn’t real. Better to find out that your expectations are incompatible before you are months in and waist deep. Your potential funders all want clarity as well. How do they fit, how do they get paid. What kind of say do they have. Get it down on paper early, while it isn’t a struggle.
5. Not knowing how to ask
In this market, money is looking for opportunities to grow. There are plenty of sources of startup funding and financing, but you need to know how to ask. Consider engaging a professional like Financing.Org as a source for startup funding and financing. They can guide you through the process, make sure you present yourself properly and maximize both the quality and the quantity of the funding you secure.
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