The best thing about starting a company today is the many opportunities aspiring entrepreneurs can take advantage of when launching their ventures. The continuous growth of e-commerce has allowed small businesses to stand out in their industries and profit from their products and services online.
However, among the few hurdles these ventures must go through before benefitting from the many e-commerce platforms and tools available is looking for ways to fund their business. The good news is that there are various options available. The challenge is choosing the right one for you.
With that, we list all the best funding options you can try for your e-commerce business. From personal savings to crowdfunding, learn the most suitable choice for your venture below.
Using personal savings or other self-generated funds, also known as bootstrapping, has been one of the top choices when funding online businesses. While it presents various risks, there are many notable benefits to raising capital from your savings account.
For one, it provides owners complete control over their venture. Since they don't have any debt from external investors, they can make decisions by themselves and avoid potential conflicts with outside stakeholders. Bootstrapping also eliminates the need to rely on external financing like loans or equity investments, providing owners with financial independence and allowing them to operate without the pressure of repayments.
Moreover, bootstrapping is a sustainable way to ensure organic business growth. Without debt or external funding, your online company gets to keep all its earnings and expand gradually to new territories or with new offerings.
When seeking business funding, traditional loans like borrowing money from a bank are generally the first option. However, it's vital to know that banks may not be open-minded about e-commerce businesses for many reasons.
For one, online companies may not pass credit assessments from banks because they tend to have higher risks than traditional ones. Plus, online entities may not have sufficient assets to pledge as collateral when taking out a mortgage.
However, it's not to say that you should completely avoid traditional funding options like banks. Applying for a loan from such entities is still worth a shot, especially since it offers fast and adequate financial assistance for your online business.
It’s also worth noting that when you ask these institutions for a loan, they won’t ask for anything in return, like equities or shares, aside from the typical repayment and interest rates.
Additionally, taking out loans and paying on time is an effective answer to how to improve your credit score without a credit card. When you do that and get an impressive credit score, you increase your chances of being approved for more loans by banks and other traditional lenders.
Generally, angel investors are individuals who provide financial support to promising small businesses in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. These people often possess a high net worth with significant business experience or extensive knowledge in a specific industry. They can help fund operations, new developments, and venture growth.
Gaining the attention of angel investors is challenging but rewarding. For one, investing based on business plans alone is risky for these people because it may be all speculative. It's not helpful that many small businesses fail within their first few years of operation, adding to the many dangers that angel investors may face.
Aside from providing capital, the best part about angel investors is that they can use their networks to further support the business they're helping. Plus, they can offer helpful insights to new business owners since they typically have prior knowledge or experience in running a business.
Like angel investors, venture capitalists are third-party finance providers that help fund promising ventures. Generally, these groups pool their funds from various sources, like institutional investors, individuals with high net worth, and other funding sources. They will then use their accumulated capital to invest in a company's early stages if they fit the organization's criteria.
Aside from equity, venture capitalists may request a chair in a company's Board of Directors. That means they may take an active role in the company they're investing in, providing strategic guidance and using their networks to help the business grow.
Many are unaware of this, but you can apply for grants to fund your online business. Grants are excellent funding options because they are non-repayable capital awarded by government agencies, private organizations, and foundations that support a specific initiative.
That means once these institutions select you for their grant, you can use your acquired funds to grow your business without repaying anyone.
The biggest catch with grants is that they're often awarded to businesses or projects that offer unique or innovative ideas in their industry. Although they're not always common for online ventures, there are opportunities available that you can look into if you think you have a shot.
Crowdfunding is one of the best options to get capital funds online. Generally, it involves raising funds for an initiative like a project, product, or business by collecting small contributions from many people through different online platforms.
Like grants, funds collected from this option are non-repayable. However, some borrowers provide money in exchange for equity or company shares.
Through crowdfunding, you can raise capital for your business with fewer costs if you attract enough people through a powerful pitch. The best part is that most crowdfunding platforms help users attain or give funds to a campaign. Some of the best options available today are Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo.
Of course, when you get funded from this option, you must keep your end of the bargain and use the capital on your business. Some people have taken advantage of this concept's easy access and have tricked people into investing in a fraudulent campaign.
Business Credit Cards
Many advise you to separate your personal and company expenses when starting a business. Doing so ensures a clear distinction between the two, making tracking performance, monitoring cash flow, and preparing accurate financial statements easier. The latter is crucial when preparing your business for tax audits, helping you maximize your benefits and avoid potential issues.
Having a business credit card is an excellent way to separate your company expenses and preserve your cash flow for an extended period. If you use it wisely, it can provide excellent funding for various operational costs. Plus, it helps establish your online venture's creditworthiness, allowing you to seek better financing or negotiate favourable terms with suppliers over time.
Meanwhile, the downside with business credit cards is the hefty interest rates for every purchase or payment delay. However, you can avoid such inconveniences by paying your dues early, much like a personal account.
Launch Your E-commerce Business With the Right Funding
Getting the proper funding for your e-commerce business is a crucial first step that can propel your venture to new heights. The key is to conduct proper research and ensure that you can handle significant repayment terms or shares to external investors. We hope you find this guide helpful when starting your online company.