Where do I get "start-up" money?

The answer will vary depending on the amount of money you need, the length of time you have been in business, your geographic location, your personal credit rating, your ability to provide collateral, the viability of your business idea, whether you are looking for debt or equity financing, etc.

Explore the following sources of capital: banks (developing a relationship with a bank and a banker is key); small business development centers (while they may not have access to funds, they will almost certainly have resources and contacts); the "Friends and Family" bank (this is probably the most common and most successful source of funds for start ups); community development centers (many of them have money to lend); venture capital (for those who don't mind giving up "control" of their business); angel investors; the use of supplier/vendor financing (have a supplier extend 120-day terms instead of the usual 30 while you extend only 30-day terms to your customers); seller financing; end-user funding (having the ultimate customer finance the research and development of the product).

The SBA also offers the Microloan Program, which provides short-term start-up or expansion loans of up to $25,000. Loans are made through non-profits with experience in lending and technical assistance.

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