2020 is a great year to get your business off the ground (just think how cool est. 2020 sounds), but it's easy to get overwhelmed by the logistics of launching your dream trajectory. Your ideas and products may be great, but what about that seed money? Not everyone has money in savings or family/friends willing to write a big check, and grant writing can be difficult, so where else do you look? Most banks want you to be in business for 3 years before they're willing to give you a small business loan (the irony!), and the statistics on VCs investing in women-owned business is.... well, deplorable.
I started Tower Press with only a few hundred dollars, bad credit, and a small amount of money gifted by friends to fund a website template. Sometimes all you need is a good website! But, in a Capitalist society we need money to get things rolling. So where does it come from?
Here are 4 financial resources to help you out in the beginning stages of your business.
1. Shopify Capital
Before launching Tower Press, I knew I wanted to build our platform on Shopify based on all the wonderful things I had heard about it. Shopify has a Capital program that's based on your sales, not your credit or how many years you've been around. Within a month, Tower Press qualified for $500! That was a big stepping stone in helping us with a little advertising, boxes, and supplies.
Shopify also just launched a new Starter Loan program, giving those who qualify $200. No sales history or credit checks needed! I was able to build a six-figure business with just a few hundred dollars, maybe you can do the same!
Shopify Capital is automatically paid back via a percentage of your online sales. This does eat into your profit, but makes repayments very easy, especially since they aren't on a specific timeline. Most loans require the balance be paid off within 6 month-1 year, Shopify Capital doesn't have a specific timeframe for repayment.
Kabbage provides a line of credit to those who have a minimum credit score of 560, at least one year in business and have annual revenue of at least $50,000. You also need to have a business checking account or online payment platform such as PayPal or QuickBooks. Lines of credit work similar to loans. A credit line allows you to borrow in increments, repay it and borrow again as long as the line remains open. Typically, you will be required to pay interest on the borrowed balance while the line is "open", which makes it different from a conventional loan, which is typically repaid in fixed installments. Be careful not to get in over your head though, it's really easy to pull down from your line of credit but not always as easy as paying it back monthly.
If you're interested in Kabbage, drop me a line and I'll send you a referral link!
3. Paypal Working Capital / Paypal Loan Builder
These are two different things, but both are offered by Paypal. Working Capital is offered based on your sales history (no credit checks!), and time in business (typically 3 months). It's automatically repaid back via a percentage of your online sales.
Loanbuilderalso looks into your annual sales, but works more like a traditional loan in that you have a weekly repayment that automatically comes out of your business checking account. You will need to have been a business for at least 9 months, among other qualifications.
Similar to GoFundMe and Kickstarter, iFundWomen is a crowdfunding platform for start-ups, particularly those who identify as women-owned. They also have a wonderful team that specializes in coaching and also offer grants. Asking for help is hard, but you'd be surprised at how many people in your circle, and even total strangers, are willing to donate even just $10 to help you succeed. Crowdfunding takes a lot of research for best practices, if you go this route make sure you read up on how to run a successful campaign.
Please note that some of the requirements for each may have changed, so it's important to do your own research and see what works best for you. I'm not a financial advisor, these are just a handful of resources outside of traditional banks that are invested in seeing small businesses succeed. I want you to succeed too! If you have any questions, feel free to email me :)