Just about everyone has thought about starting a business at one point or another — of taking a passion project or skill and turning it into a source of income. “Being your own boss” is the dream and hundreds of thousands of Americans every year who want to make that dream a reality.
If you want to join them, there’s a lot of work that you need to do. But, of course, the biggest obstacle is coming up with the money you need to get your business off the ground. Raising the funds to cover start up costs can be daunting, especially for new entrepreneurs. The amount is different for everyone, especially depending on the size of the business in question — i.e. home-based and online, a brick and mortar with multiple employees, etc.
The good news is if you are in a good place financially, with little to no debt, there are a ton of little things you can do to raise the money you need before running to a bank for a loan, even if you are on a tight budget.
Here are the steps that you need to take.
1. Figure Out How Much Money You’ll Need
The very first thing you need to do is calculate how much money you will need to start your business. The best way to figure this out is to draft a business plan. This is especially important if you want to get investors on board or borrow money to complete your funding.
Consider what supplies you’ll need, the kind of workspace you’ll need, the various aspects of operations, delivery of goods or services, tools and applications you might use to host or advertise your products or services, etc. You have to plan for every aspect of running your business that will cost you money. A good rule of thumb to follow is to be able to cover six months of expenses up front.
2. Make Saving Money Towards Starting Your Business An Every Day Priority
A lot of people dip into their savings to fund the start up costs of their business. If you don’t want to wipe out yours, supercharge your saving efforts with Digit. This app can help you save more money towards whatever goals you may have, including starting a business, by helping you find the perfect amount of money you can afford to save every day — money you won’t miss.
Digit does this by analyzing your income and spending patterns when you link your checking account to the app. It will automatically transfer that money into your Digit account for safekeeping. When you’re ready to use that money — to start your business — just withdraw it.
Most people deposit money into their savings after they’ve covered their bills and other leisure expenses for the month. Prioritizing it daily can help you reach your target savings goal for your business (and other savings goals you may have) a lot sooner.
You can try Digit for free, right now, for 30 days. After that, only pay $5/month. The money you ultimately save will make this totally worth it.
3. If You Have Debt Holding You Back, It's Time For A New Pay Off Strategy
Having debt doesn’t mean you can’t start a business. It just means you have to be a bit more strategic to work around it or find a way to pay it down faster and Charlie can help with that, specifically where credit card debt is concerned.
Charlie is an app, with a built-in debt pay-off coach that’s a sweet little penguin by the same name. Charlie will help speed up your credit card debt pay off with a personalized plan (potentially saving you hundreds or thousands in interest) and help you find savings elsewhere too.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up and Charlie will create a personal debt payoff plan for you that involves making extra payments towards your debt.
- Set up a debt fund and Charlie helps you automatically save money for these extra payments with savings rules you create, like every time you shop at Target, Charlie puts $5 towards your debt.
- As you make strides in your debt pay off, Charlie will do little things to help you celebrate your progress.
Don’t let credit card debt stop you from pursuing your dream of starting your own business. Use Charlie to help you pay it down faster so you can become debt-free, and a business owner, sooner.
4. Switch To A Bank That Won’t Rob You Of Your Hard-Earned Money With Fees
When it comes to starting a business, and managing your finances in general, where you decide to bank is super important. A lot of traditional banks will charge you all kinds of hidden fees to keep your money with them. Monthly maintenance or service fees, foreign transactions fees, overdraft fees, non-sufficient funds fees, the list goes on and on. All of these fees mean your bank is basically taking a cut of your profits. And for what in return?
When you bank with Chime, you can keep more of your money yours by way of little to no fees, plus a couple of other perks that will come in handy.
- Chime accounts have no minimum balance fees, monthly fees or foreign transaction fees
- It has more than 38,000 fee-free ATMs via Visa Plus Alliance and MoneyPass
- Overdraft coverage up to $100
- Access to your paycheck up to 2 days early when you set up direct deposit
- Its savings account has automatic round ups so you can save money towards your savings goals faster whenever you spend using your Chime debit card.
5. Keep Track Of Where Your Money Is Going
Tracking your monthly expenses is essential to having a handle on your finances. To make better financial decisions, you have to know exactly where your money is going. If you’re not tracking your monthly spending right now, or have yet to create a budget for yourself, when you start a business you’re definitely going to need to.
The Truebill app is a good option to get you on your way.
- When you link your bank account, Truebill will give you a snapshot of your spending — subscriptions, bills and other recurring charges.
- Cancel any unwanted subscriptions with the click of a button, avoiding lengthy phone calls or back and forth emails with customer support.
- The app will monitor your bills for new charges or price increases and alert you to them so you can be proactive about dealing with them.
- You can also use Truebill to group your recurring charges into categories and set budgets for each one to help curb your spending and refocus your funds towards building your business’ start up capital.
This is free help and will be invaluable to helping you manage your personal and business finances effectively.
6. Get A Side Hustle To Supercharge Your Savings
Everyone nowadays has a side hustle or two they use to boost their income or help them meet other personal financial goals they may have. Getting one can help you earn the money you need to launch your business sooner rather than later and Steady can help you find the right ones for you.
Steady is a job search app that’s used by more than 2.5 million people to find one-time gigs, flexible part-time work and more. When you sign up and complete your user profile, providing information about your past work experience, earnings and preferred industries, you’ll get personalized job recommendations specific to your qualifications, interests and income needs.
Use the app’s income tracker to get monthly snapshots of your income earnings from your various jobs and insights, like which jobs are earning you most about money and changes in your income. This info will be useful in helping you optimize income streams and budget more efficiently.
Steady’s members earn an average of $5,500 in extra income a year. Sign up today for free to join in on the earnings. Just think about what that extra money would mean to your soon-to-launch business!
7. Start Saving Like Crazy — That Means Cutting Back
It might seem small, but finding little ways to cut back on monthly bills so you can redirect your savings towards your business can do wonders for raising startup capital. Here are a couple of tricks to cutting back on some big ones.
There aren’t many options to lowering your electric bill and that’s why we’re excited to tell you about Arcadia.
If you live in Illinois, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New York or Colorado, you can use Arcadia to find a community solar farm near you so that you save on your electricity bill (while also helping to save the planet).
- Go to Arcadia’s website and search for community solar farms in your area using your zip code and utility company
- If you’re eligible to receive your electricity from one in your area, you’ll be told at what cost
- If you’re not eligible, don’t worry! You might still be able to get solar energy from one of Arcadia’s renewable wind farms. If so, you’ll be told and quoted a price
- Accept your offer and start paying your bill through Arcadia (you’re not switching utility providers)at your lower price
Car insurance is the biggest constant cost of any car and any budget for that matter. Checking car insurance rates for other companies every six months to two years can go a long way to helping you save on it (we’re talking hundreds of dollars), and that’s where Savvy comes in.
Savvy is a virtual insurance shopping assistant that calculates exactly how much you can save by switching to another insurance company (which means less work for you). In that time, they shop hundreds of insurers for you (other sites only shop a handful) to find you the absolute best deal.
Here’s how it works:
- Connect your existing car insurance policy
- Review the options Savvy comes up with for you, and then lock one of them in
- Savvy will help you cancel your old policy and enroll you in your new one
- If you’re owed a refund by your old insurer, Savvy will help you get it
Savvy is free to use, so you have nothing to lose — just money to save. Try it today.
Most people spend a good few hundred dollars on groceries every month. Ibotta is an app that can help you get some of that cash back.
Ibotta is a free app that offers cash back rewards for more than 1,500 brands with deals available at more than 150 retailers including Amazon, Costco, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods and more. Shop online through the app at participating retailers, or using gift cards for eligible stores, and earn 10% cash back on the entirety of your purchase order, or shop in-stores and earn on individual items when you upload your receipt.
Just make sure to select the cash back deals you want to redeem ahead of your shopping. Your cash back will be credited within 24 hours or more depending on your shopping method. When you have a balance of at least $20 via PayPal or Venmo, and even gift cards to popular retailers too.Download Ibotta today so you can start putting cash back into your wallet when you grocery shop.
8. Pitch Your Friends And Family
Your friends and family are always a good option for helping to bolster business start up capital because they have a vested and personal interest in you — they love you and want to see you succeed. This makes them more willing to invest in your business whether it be through gifting you with money, offering loans or partnerships. So don’t be afraid to pitch friends and family on your business — many great businesses have started this way.
You could also jumpstart a crowdfunding campaign with their help to raise the cash or use their connections to find other business partners, such as distributors and suppliers, who can give you a good deal on their services.
9. Look Into Small Business Loans
If you have tried everything else and are still coming up short on the money you need to get your business off the ground, then consider getting a small business loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). As mentioned earlier, this is where that business plan comes into play — you need a detailed plan for what you intend to do with the money you’re hoping to borrow.
SBA loans are loans facilitated by SBA-approved lenders. Keep in mind that you might have to go through two-step approval processes — from the lending institution and the SBA itself — if the lending institution is an SBA preferred lender. This means the lending institution has been granted authority by the SBA to make final decisions on SBA-guaranteed loans.
Why an SBA loan over a traditional loan from a bank? Because they generally have more favorable loan terms. Check out some of the benefits:
- The SBA guarantees their approved lenders up to 85% of the loans they issue in case of borrower default, which make banks more willing to loan to you
- Broader eligibility requirements, meaning they sometimes lend to businesses that may not be able to borrow money conventionally
- Capped interest rates that won’t climb into the double digits
- Generous term lengths
- The ability to borrow larger amounts of capital with lower down payments
- More flexibility with funds use
- Access to a variety of other SBA resources
There are different kinds of SBA loans, so make sure to do your research to see which one is best for you.
A lot of people set out to start businesses each year, and while there are hundreds of thousands that do succeed, there are many that don’t and finances usually play a part in why. Create a business plan, consider all of the costs getting the business off the ground, make realistic projections for that first year (keeping in mind that you may not break even), and continue to save, save, save. It’s tough, but with discipline, determination and a little creativity, you can make your dream of becoming a business owner come true. We wish you luck!