"Ladies: Looking to Launch Your Own Business? Your 3 Top Financing Options"Insufficient capital is one of the top 10 reasons small businesses fail, according to Michael Ames, founder of the Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University Fullerton. Ames says small business owners often get into debt spending money on what they want before finding out what their customer needs. If you’re a female entrepreneur looking to launch your own business, the first step is to find out what your target market needs. Once you’ve identified this need and determined you can fill it, then start looking for ways to fund your venture. We’ve highlighted the top three financing options for would-be entrepreneurs below:

Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) operates a loan system for entrepreneurs. To help ensure loans are used effectively, the SBA provides an online business planning guide to help entrepreneurs analyze their market and perform other prerequisites for financial success. The SBA also maintains an Office of Women’s Business Ownership that provides resources specifically for female entrepreneurs.

You don’t have to get your loan through the SBA, of course. Loans can also come from nongovernment lenders such as banks and credit unions. Wells Fargo looks at five factors when considering extending business credit, according to the its website:

  • Personal credit history
  • History of repaying business obligations
  • Company cash flow
  • Capacity to repay
  • Collateral

Review how you fare in these categories, preferably with professional assistance, before applying for a loan. A professional small business startup consultant can help you improve upon any of the above areas that need it.

Self-Financing

Using your own money is one of the most popular financing strategies, but it’s also one of the riskiest, due to the potential for your business’ financial, tax and legal problems to affect your personal finances. To successfully finance a business with your own money, start with a solid business plan and budget. Review your finances for possible funding sources such as savings funds, credit cards or home equity loans. If you’re entitled to regular payments from a structured settlement, consider selling your future payments to a company such as J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum of money now. You can then use this money to help finance your business.

One self-financing alternative some entrepreneurs use is rolling over their retirement plans. This is a risky move; consider it a last resort. Only go this route if you understand the tax implications and have a strong plan for making the business successful and paying yourself back.

Find Investors

If you don’t mind sharing your profits, another financing option is to find investors . Investment input can come from family and friends, business partners, professional venture capitalists, amateur financiers (known as “angel investors”) or crowdfunding investors from sites such as Kickstarter. When approaching such sources, recruit an industry mentor to help you look for those who fit your ideal investor profile.

 

About the author: Kevin is a financial planner by day and home brewmeister by night. He is married with two kids.