April 5, 2008

Allowing Others to Finance Your Business

As a startup, it’s a challenge to manage cash — don’t worry, we know.  But one of the things that we’ve learned (through both personal experience and with helping other entrepreneurs) is that there of creative ways to bootstrap/finance your company.  Let me provide a few examples:

  1. Leasing computers.  Instead of going to the nearest electronic store and purchasing a new computer, go to one of the large manufactures (Dell, HP, etc.) and see if you can obtain a credit line to finance the computers you need.  We’ve seen that most companies can usually obtain a $25k line of credit pretty quickly.
  2. Credit Cards:  If you do your homework, there are quite a few credit cards out there that will allow a company obtain more than the standard $3-$5k limit.
  3. Other credit lines:  one of the examples that I like to use is Google.  For those of you that use Google adwords, do what you can to get a hold of an account manager to help you obtain a credit line on your ads.  Instead of maxing out your credit cards every other day paying for your ads, they will often provide a credit line that helps you to manage your cash flow.

Those are just a few quick examples.  Remember, cash is king.  Do all that you can to keep cash in your hands and allow others to finance your business for you!

Unsecured Lines of Credit

Over the past few months, we’ve spent a lot of time learning about the various types of financing that is available to businesses.  In fact, we are working on a significant partnership that will allow us to help a lot more entrepreneurs obtain unsecured lines of credit.  For those of you that are interested, here are a few tips that you’ll need before you approach any bank/lender:

  1. 680+ Credit Score (if you don’t quite have that high of score, that’s ok too… we’ll just start off helping you repair your credit)
  2. 2+ years in business
  3. Make sure that all of your personal and business credit is accurate with the credit bureaus
  4. Obtain a DUNS number for your business
  5. Obtain credit maturity (length of time) and credit diversity (credit lines with multiple types of credit — home, auto, revolving, etc.)

I could probably create a list with about 30-40 items, but those 5 will get you started.  The two “biggies” are the first two — if you have a great credit score and you’ve been in business for at least 2 years, let us know.  We are very confident that we’d be able to help you obtain an unsecured line of credit somewhere between $10k-$350k.