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Where's the Money? Tips & Tools for Finding Funding in Northeast Ohio for Startup or Growth

Finding funding for a small business idea is a common and often frustrating experience for small business founders, owners, and operators. But, it is also an essential business skill to be learned and exercised often during the life of a business. Many small business startups either bootstrap themselves or use 'friends & family' financing. Yet many of us don't have a Daddy Warbucks for an uncle but do have a credit score that might not be so good for traditional lenders (below 650 for SBA loan underwriting). Read  'How Entrepreneurs Finance Their Startups'. 

Where to Start?  Develop a Written Plan with Score

Focus your passion, time, & elbow grease on developing a Business Plan for your idea. All funders, lenders, investors, [even grantors] want to see a written and credible Business Plan to see how the funds will be used and how the business is expected to generate sufficient cash flow to pay them back. Score can help you develop a plan with free mentoring and resources such as the Startup Roadmap and Simple Steps Workbook. A Score mentor can review your plan, suggest improvements, help you figure out your "MVO" minimum viable offering & resulting capital requirement, help you determine whether bootstrapping might be feasible, identify possible pitfalls, help you plan for use of free resources such as a GoogleMyBusiness web profile, and help guide you to potential funding sources and alternatives.

Have Business Plan, Now What?

Finding Funding is like Selling (another essential but learnable business skill) - expect a lot of "No's". But persist is what successful small business entrepreneurs do. Be sure to take Chapter 5 "Finding Funding" in the Startup Roadmap to learn more. Also read, our article Where's the Money? 

Tools & Tips on Building an Equity Stash or "Seed Capital" 

If you've decided you are unable to bootstrap, you will probably need 15-20% equity  (aka "skin in the game") to obtain further funding, so consider the following:

Tools & Tips on Traditional Bank Financing

Banks, even if they are an SBA authorized lender, look for several years of business cash flow returns, a decent credit score, and, sometimes, additional personal assets to secure a loan.

Tools & Tips on Non-Bank Financing

Banks & SBA have not been the only players in small business financing.

If your entity is a 501C3 Non-Profit

A 501C3 Non-Profit can solicit foundation grants and tax-deductible donations 

 

About the Author(s)

Dr. Lisa McGuthry

Dr. Lisa McGuthry is a Score Volunteer Mentor, an experienced entrepreneur in the retail industry, an educator in entrepreneurship, and a JumpStart Impact Program graduate.

Volunteer Mentor, SCORE Cleveland
 Mark  Krosse

Since joining the SCORE volunteer team in 2005, Mark has served hundreds of entrepreneurs helping them launch and operate successful small businesses. Some have since expanded nationally.

Volunteer Mentor, Cleveland Score
Finding Funding