To find and procure the business funding you need to operate and grow your business, you must approach your search for financing with the same open mind you adopt when addressing other business issues that you are more comfortable with. For example, some companies with limited marketing budgets use guerilla marketing tactics to significantly increase their brand awareness among its target audience. Guerilla marketing requires a highly creative approach and a concentrated effort. Use this same perspective with financing your business and you will reap similar results.
To be creative, focus on why you need the funds and what you need the funds for. Do not focus on the money. There may be 30 ways to find or generate $100,000; however, there may be 100 ways to access marketing resources valued at $100,000. This is what I mean by being creative. To truly focus, start by doing this: write down your anticipated uses for the funds and the expected cost. Additional use examples include: Hire a general manager – $80,000; Run a marketing campaign to increase brand awareness among target customers – $30,000; and/or Address the deferred maintenance on a production line – $160,000.
Once you have clearly delineated how much you need and what you need the funds for, begin brainstorming ways to get what you want and need. Focus on fulfilling the need, not finding the money. You may fulfill the need the easiest through finding the money; but you may not.
Following are some creative financing options to fund your business needs including hiring / acquiring employees, launching and running marketing campaigns, purchasing and installing software:
- Co-operatives – These are not just for health food stores, rural electrical groups, or farmers, although these are the segments in which co-ops are fairly common. You can establish a co-op by pooling funds with other business owners.
- Co-branding – Combine efforts with a company offering a complementary service or product to reach your target market. You can split the cost or one can do the work and the other pay any external costs involved.
- Customer deposits or pre-pays – You require deposits or entice your customers to pre-pay by offering discounts or additional value-added services.
- Economic development grants – These grants are available in urban and rural areas typically through municipalities that have received federal redevelopment funds from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), or another federal agency.
- Swaps or bartering – Barter your product or service with that of another company. Bartering exchanges exist that enable you to move beyond a one-to-one exchange.
These are just some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Want more? Click on the picture below.