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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.