5 Ways SMEs can Get Funded
Small businesses strive to establish a strong foothold in their domain and face more challenges than large corporations. They don’t have economies of scope and scale, a large employee base, or even enough capital to move ahead with their business functions. Yet they thrive and survive through the corporate maze through strategic capital budgeting decisions.
Small businesses need customized funding solutions at different stages of their operations. The source of funds can vary with different advantages and disadvantages that impact the equity of the founders of a business.
Capital budgeting decisions need to be strategic and have to be taken based on the macroeconomic conditions and scope of equity that the founding business owner is willing to dilute against the capital. In the case of rising interest rates, business owners prefer to raise equity capital against debt. But if the interest rates are low and may fall further, it is in the best interest of the business to retain the equity of the business and take up a loan. Many automated commercial lending software is enabling the process of SME funding efficiently.
When the source of funds is external, the investors whether they are private venture capitalists or lending institutions like banks and fintech lenders will be interested in a business plan that will give growth projections, market outreach for the product or service, and current turnover, margins, and other financial data.
A small business entrepreneur may have undying exuberance about a product that he has developed or a service that he is offering, but investors need to be convinced about the management of the company, product feasibility data, and financial numbers from inception to date. This data is imperative to develop confidence in the business projections and trust in the abilities of the people behind a business.
An SME business should explore these five ways to fund its business by understanding the pros and cons before giving in to the terms and conditions of a funding deal:-
If a business is funded by the founders from their savings, then they bring in their equity and retain a complete hold on the business. Bootstrapped businesses don’t split the profits of their company with others and hold full reigns on the affairs of their company. Needless to say, any new venture that is not under the canopy of a bigger parent company or funded by a rich relative has been bootstrapped at the starting point of its journey.
Bootstrapping alone may not help businesses scale their operations unless it can generate regular cash flows efficiently and the net retained earnings are growing year on year. When a small business attains a stage where its funds and cash flows do not support the business functions, there is a need to look for outside sources.
The initial investors of a small business, who believe in its management, and potential for sustainable growth and are interested in backing the business plan, will invest in the organization. These investors normally invest their money in an equity stake in the ownership of the business. Angel Investors may or may not be professionals who bring in their expertise to the table. Some angel investors can be established and successful business owners who run their businesses and are looking to employ their extra cash in other promising ventures. It is a strategic practice from an angel investor’s point of view to diversify their own business and be a part of a new business idea from its initial phases. This strategy helps their net worth grow through a valuation model’s perspective.
Venture Capitalists or VC funding is usually obtained by businesses as a series of funding. Organizations that handle VC funding are professionals who gauge business through statistical models and interpret the data. They have shrewd business acumen and invest only in highly probable results. They may fund either by way of equity stake or debt or both. Usually, VC funding is raised when a business is beyond the initial teething problems of a start-up and is looking to gain traction in market share or scale its operations or prototypes. Venture Capitalists bet on start-ups that they feel will be eligible to make a mark in their domain and can be listed in public bourses in a few years.
Crowdfunding is gaining momentum with a rise in the internet user base. It is a method of raising capital from people who are not related to your business. Usually, a business owner will register their details with a crowdfunding website. All the details related to the business will be expressed and this message will be shared with social media users. Internet browsers from different locations will send money that will be released by the crowdfunding website, after deducting a fee for using their platform.
Lenders like banks, fintech companies, and large lending corporations offer loans to small and medium-sized businesses. The objective of an SME loan is only to earn a rate of return on the capital offered as a loan. They are interested in only the debt capital of the business and don’t claim the equity of the company. Different loans like working-capital loans, bridge loans, and discounted bill receivable loans are offered to small business owners to run their day-to-day operations without suffering liquidity issues.
Most SMEs prefer the automated loan origination software that is making small business owners enjoy a seamless experience from the application to the closure of a loan. Additional services like accounting, tax, and human resource services for an additional fee, make these loan products very attractive for small business owners.
All businesses need capital to move ahead with their operations. Some business operations are capital-intensive in the initial phases but generate cash flows at a later stage. So depending on the nature of the business, a founding member or owner should decide the type of capital that best suits their business needs.