Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.
I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!
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This Week’s Must-Read:
Who it’s for:
Every entrepreneur seeking funding.
Why it’s important:
Almost all talk about funding focuses on angel or VC investment, leading us to believe that we can’t start or grow a business without this type of funding. This is simply not true, as the funding landscape is not dominated by equity investment. Quite the contrary. There are numerous methods for funding your startup, and a great idea should not be stifled by lack of equity investment. This article gives us the real scoop and offers tangible calls to action. Read on…
How do women entrepreneurs finance their small businesses in 2019? According to the 650 female small business owners surveyed in Visa’s State of Female Entrepreneurship study, 61% chose to self-fund their startup.
The decision to self-fund, according to the report, is one that the majority of women in business often make out of necessity. Those surveyed reported it was difficult to obtain the funding they needed for their companies – only 25% of female entrepreneurs received any type of funding from investors.
The good news for female entrepreneurs unable to get outside funding? There are several financing options available for self-funding. Here are 3 funding methods instead worthy of consideration. I’m a huge fan of all 3!
Although the numbers in the survey do not specifically point to bootstrapping as an option, many opt for this financing route. This was my method of financing, and although a tough road it may be preferred if possible. Bootstrapping, if you’re not familiar with the term, is when you use your existing finances to fund your business. You employ a do-it-yourself strategy in every area possible to generate cost savings and increase funds for growing revenue.
You must be able to stick to a budget if this strategy is going to work. Be mindful of where every dollar is going and the return on your investment. Growth often is realized more slowly with this strategy, so carefully examine your finances and the runway they will provide.
One of the most valuable business lessons you will learn from bootstrapping is how to maximize profitability and generate growth from it.
Grants are a hugely popular self-funding method. After all, who doesn’t want free money for their business? If you apply for and receive a grant, you can put that funding towards your business and are under no obligation to repay it.
Since grants are highly competitive, don’t think your business will be the only one applying. Increase your chances of receiving grant funding by applying for as many grants as possible. Remember to research the reputation of the funding source, too. It is very easy to Google “small business grants” to find them, but due diligence must be conducted to separate real grants from scams.
You may want to consider skipping search engines altogether and going straight to a reputable source. Check in with a source like grants.gov for a list of federal grant-making agencies.
The State of Female Entrepreneurship study revealed that 10% of female entrepreneurs took out small business loans to fund their companies. Taking out a loan is serious business. A loan is a self-funding method, in that you maintain complete control of your company but must also agree to repay it in full according to its terms.
While this decision will vary depending on an entrepreneur’s needs, a good place to start if you have questions is the Small Business Administration (SBA). Did you know that the SBA offers funding programs specifically for women entrepreneurs? Here’s how it works:
The SBA does now directly give businesses money. Instead it reduces the risk of lending by providing lenders with a guarantee to pay back a portion of the loan if an entrepreneur defaults on the loan. This makes it easier for businesses to receive loans. To find a lender, the SBA has a free online referral tool called Lender Match.
An SBA-guaranteed loan has many benefits, including they often come with lower interest rates, as well as lower fees and down payments.
Should You Self-Fund?
Approach self-funding with a carefully laid out plan. Keep a bit more funding saved up than you think you may need, carefully examine the ROI of where your dollars are going, and maintain a positive attitude that you can, in fact, make this option work for you and your business. I did.
Top Take-Away: Whether you decide to self-fund through bootstrapping, grants, or SBA loans, don’t look at self-funding as an impossibility for your small business. It is indeed hard work, but it keeps you in control of your vision, and the lessons learned from self-funding can be instrumental to your future success.
Want to feel more confident about the possibility of self-funding? Here’s a little more data: