Finding financing is a more complicated matter than during the dot-com years when money seemed to flow freely for any good idea that crossed the transom. Today, investors and lenders of all kinds are tightening standards, requirements, and criteria by which they judge business plans, entrepreneurs, and who gets the money.
To help you in your search for funding, we've rounded up some resources that provide sweeping overview of your options, and provide some good examples on how to secure the financing your growing company needs.
- Angels in America
- Profiles of a select group of angel investors, including links to their websites.
- Angels with Angles
- Angel investors are changing. Here's what they're looking for, how they operate, and (because the devil is in the exit strategy) what they expect for their money.
- Earning Your Wings
- Angel investors are getting tougher. To land seed money, you should, too.
- Angel Investor Directory
- Need help getting started in your search for angel funding? Here's a directory of angel networks in the United States, broken down by geographical area.
- Who exactly are angel investors?
- Finance and capital mentor Guy Kawasaki defines angel investors, and when and how an entrepreneur should seek them out.
- A Twist of Fate
- Wetzel's Pretzels' owners Rick Wetzel and Bill Phelps landed angel investors but not without learning a lesson or two about the delicate relationship between entrepreneurs and using other people's money.
- How do you get investors to read a business plan?
- Finding a go-between can help get your business plan in front of interested investors, according to Writing a Business Plan mentor Rhonda Abrams.
- Mr. Cashman, You're On
- Chris Cashman is looking for $500,000. He has 45 minutes to convince the skeptics at Robin Hood Ventures that he's a good investment.
- Main Street VCs
- A new breed of venture capital, coming soon to a town near you.
- Cranking Up the Earnings
- Forget revenue growth. For VCs these days, it's the EBITDA, stupid.
- Offshore Drilling
- Why foreign-based VCs are taking a closer look at U.S. firms.
- The Down-Round Dilemma
- Once a rarity, down rounds are becoming the norm among firms lucky enough to get venture capital funding. But is topping off the tanks worth the drop in valuation?
- The SBA All-Stars
- A look at the Small Business Administration's rankings of the best field offices turns up some surprises. The agency's western outposts tend to outperform their East Coast peers. Though the rankings are based on a number of factors, the chart below follows the money, listing offices' key lending statistics.
- Seed Capital for Farm Communities
- Financing for rural businesses.
Private Equity Financing
- The Private-Capital Survival Guide
- Even with both the economy and the stock market sputtering, private-capital deals are appealing. Why? Because well-heeled investors still need a place to stow their cash. But it's not just about the money.
- When It's Time to Consider Private Equity
- If you are like many business owners and management teams, you may reach a crossroads where taking on private equity capital makes sense.
- More to It Than Money
- Today, with banks imposing tight lending standards and the IPO market on hold, many company founders are assessing private equity as a primary source of capital. But if they're not actively looking for the partnership characteristics that aren't seen on a spreadsheet, they're effectively applying the brakes to future growth.
- The Quotable Entrepreneur
- "Private equity is like dating -- they're not permanent relationships. With a VC you get married -- either you're with them for a long time, or there's a very painful divorce. With private-equity financing in stages, you finish a round and you can decide whether or not you want to stay with the investor, or you can stop dating for the next round."
--Rob Wood, president and cofounder of Dallas-based Coollogic Inc., a manufacturer of Linux-based Internet appliances
- Selling Temporary Equity
- Arranging a mandatory buyback of equity in your financing deal can help you reclaim full ownership of your company down the road.
- You're Approved
- Help lenders understand your industry to improve your chances of securing a loan.
- Small Business Lenders Want to Hear the Good and the Bad
- Whether your business is struggling, or making money hand over fist, it's important that both situations be communicated to a lender.
- Answering the Tough Questions
- A bank will scrutinize your past business performance. Are you prepared to answer the tough questions when your banker asks them?
- Historical Finance and Its Relevance to the Lending Process
- Why lenders focus on it and what you need to be prepared to discuss.
- Q&A: The Lowdown on Microloans
- Two experts answer some frequently asked questions about microloans.
- Banking: The Microloan Alternative
- A small-business owner explains how she received a microloan and what it took to secure it.
- Reach out and Touch Bangladesh
- The man who pioneered microlending in the villages of Bangladesh has designed a new way to seed entrepreneurship: give telephones to village women.
- Choosing Strategic Partners that Really Partner
- Understanding clearly where your business is in terms of the market and target audience is key to finding partners that best complement you.
- The Possibilities of Partnering
- It's easier to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in business when you have partners.
- Fishing for Big-Name Partners
- Small businesses often struggle when it comes to getting an "in" as a strategic partner with larger organizations. But companies seeking big-name partners can learn a lot from the methods of Staffcentrix.com. In one year it formed alliances with big players like Microsoft and the United Nations.
Customer & Supplier Partnerships
- Capital Customer
- This entrepreneur's first customer offered to act as a business incubator to get his company off the ground.
- Hot Tip: Tap Customers for Money
- Get customers in on the act of building your business to help raise capital.
- Hot Tip: Tap Vendors for Credit
- A vendor can be a great source of credit, and cost savings, as this entrepreneur discovered.
Direct Public Offerings
- Got Money?
- SolarAttic Inc.'s efforts to find conventional funding didn't pay off. So the company joined the first wave of company builders to seek investors on the Internet through a direct public offering.
- When Mom and Pop Go Public
- Despite the extra effort, many companies are raising capital by selling their own stock.