Business Fundraising – Network With Your Capital Providers Before You Need The Money

Often entrepreneurs will be in the process of building their businesses and suddenly be struck by a need for cash. The business wins a big contract or general growth has increased in speed. On the down side, the slower economy slows sales growth or customers slow down their payable cycle. Either way, this is not the time to go looking for capital.

If you ever believe you may need capital, the time to start the process is now, be it debt or equity. Take the time to get to know your banker. If you bank at a large bank, such as Bank of America, get to know the local branch manager. Find out how they process business loans. If there is a local loan officer, ask to meet with him or her. Find out what the lending standards are.

Large banks may allow the branch to approve loans up to a certain amount. Higher amounts may be kicked up to the regional or corporate offices. It would be a shame if you were denied a $60,000 loan by a corporate office, but you could have gotten a $50,000 loan approved by the local branch.

Finding a smaller local bank that focuses on commercial accounts will also improve you chance of getting a loan. You can get to know the lending officer personally and keep them informed of your business on a regular basis. If you are meeting your expected revenue milestones, your lending officer will be more likely to believe your plan in the future.

Equity capital is also a relationship business. If you think you may need some friends and family capital in the future, ask your potential candidates to sit on your advisory board. You get their advice and allow them to see you in action. Additionally, you get the experience of working with them, which may lead you to decide that you would not like them to be an owner in your business.

If you are interested in venture capital, make it a point to get to know some venture capitalists. Although reputed to be stand-offish, they are most afraid you are going to ask them for money. If you are just networking, many VCs will be thrilled to meet with you and give you advice and the benefit of their experience.

You can start with networking events put on through your local technology council (or similar state/city entrepreneurship group). You might try presenting at a venture forum. This gives you both practice and gets your name into the venture community. Volunteer to be a mentor in local entrepreneurship organizations. They often hold group meetings and you will get the chance to meet VCs on an equal footing.

Getting a bank loan can take four to eight weeks and raising venture capital can take six months to a year, sometimes more, so having your foot in the door can really help move the process forward. Don’t wait until you n

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off

Small Business Fundraising Assistance – Helping The Community

The other day I was talking to a small time entrepreneur, he is a painting contractor, and he has been moderately successful, at least he stays busy all year round. That’s pretty good considering the state of the economy, and most of the reason he’s busy is because he does great work and gets lots of referrals. His wife owns a small boutique in town, which is on a busy corner in a high-end shopping district. She has done very well helping the community, and he wants to do more.

He is considering joining a service club such as; the Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, or Lions Club in town. “That’s a very good idea,” I told him, but I warned him that it was also a significant time commitment, and there were other things he could do. He could sponsor a nonprofit group or event, or perhaps allow his facilities to be used by a nonprofit group or become a resource. So I wrote down these three items;

1. Allotting Facilities
2. Semi-Sponsorship
3. Become a Resource

Just because he runs a service company, as he is a painter, and he doesn’t run a retail store, doesn’t mean he can become a good resource for nonprofit groups. He might volunteer to help a group of gentlemen repaint a local church. Perhaps he can offer his services, and become the leader of the group while the painting is being done, and offer those services and the painting over a weekend for only the cost of his supplies.

If he were to do that, he would all of a sudden have every member of that church knowing that his company helped out, which would provide him new business, and go a long way to helping the community, while also getting credit for his good deeds. Who knows maybe even God will be watching if he helps paint church? There are so many things small business people can do, regardless of the type of business they run.

Maybe you need to do a little brainstorming, think about what types of resources your company can provide at a very low or nominal cost. Perhaps you can donate your time, supplies, and everything else towards a good cause. You can take the deductions as business expenses, and it’s a lot cheaper than expensive marketing or advertising in the newspaper, radio, or on cable TV for instance. If you haven’t done any of this, you need to start. It’s easy to get involved in small business fundraising for a local community group. Please think on it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off