Forget applying to banks to get a loan for your business. Most of them stopped being in the “give a loan to a small company who has no collateral” business in 2007. This does not, however, mean that you are out of options to fund the growth of your company. Below are some of the anti-bank ways to finance your new business.

Retirement accounts

 Borrowing money from your IRA or 401(k) can be tempting. First consider a 60 day interest free loan from it. There are no fees if it is paid back in this time frame. Remember: This is your retirement money, so using it is risky and potentially devastating if you lose your business.

Government grants

These programs require research at local, state and federal levels. According to Steve, these agencies include the USDA, the Department of Commerce, and the Treasury Department. They come with names like SBIR, STTR and SBIC. Remember: Typically they are very specific and technical in nature and come with reporting strings attached.

Crowdfunding

A sister method to P2P, you can now get people to invest in “your cause” in exchange for something (other than money). This is a different source of funding since these funds are repaid. The rewards for donors range from receiving your first products to having a product named after them. Popular sites that facilitate crowdfunding include IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. Remember: Crowdfunding is very emotional and its success is based on the appeal of your idea.

Barter

Swap products or services, not money. Before there was currency, there was only barter (trading). The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that 25 percent of the world’s trade is still done this way. Barter can save money, move unused inventory and find new customers. Bartering can be done directly with another business or through a barter exchange like IMS Barter. Remember: Barter selective goods and services. You still typically can’t pay your employees or rent without cash.

Merchant Cash Advance

When you’ve looked through all your options and are tired of getting “No” as an answer, an alternative business loan such as a  Merchant Cash Advance will look quite inviting. Especially since you don’t have to jump through hoops to get one. Just as long as you’ve been in business for at least 6 months, have been making monthly deposits into your business bank account and don’t have a recent bankruptcy, this loan option might be the loan you’ve been hoping for all along.

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