Anne-Marie Saint-John, Alva, Long Island City, NY >

Financing Alternatives for Small Businesses

If you are concerned about securing financing for your small business, read on. Half the battle is knowing where to look.

Should I get a bank loan?

If you have a solid credit history, a full business plan in execution, or documented income, bank financing or a traditional loan might be an affordable option. Lenders suggest that business owners first apply to a bank with which they have an established relationship. Alternatively, you can ask an experienced accountant or attorney to contact a bank on their behalf to submit a proposal.

But what about the rest of us?

If your business is still in the startup phase or still needs to produce more income, it may be difficult to obtain a loan from a traditional lender. Due to the current credit crisis, even applicants whose businesses are up and running can be denied a loan, especially if they do not have a strong credit history. In these cases, your best bet is an alternative source of credit, such as a microfinance organization like Ascendus which takes things like character into account. Other possibilities include credit unions and venture capital firms.

Should I just charge it to my card?

Banks often encourage applicants who have been turned down for traditional credit to use small business credit cards instead. However, you should always use credit cards with caution, as interest rates are often higher than term loans and hidden fees are common.

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