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There are two main types of business financing–debt and equity. Each offers some unique options.
Bank loan–Similar to loans you've taken on your home or vehicle, but harder to get. You will likely need to secure the loan with some type of collateral (such as your home or other property). Look for a bank that is active in small business financingÑone that routinely makes your desirable loan size and is familiar with your industry and geographical area.
Private (or "Angel") Investor–Instead of requiring collateral or repayment, private investors typically take an equity stake in your company, and often expect to receive preferred equity security in exchange for their investment.
Venture Capital–Similar to private investors, they usually take an equity stake in your company, and often expect to receive preferred equity security in exchange for their investment. They often specialize in certain industries, and many provide corporate direction as well as financing.
Selling Stock–Unless you have an ongoing business, you probably will not take your company public. Instead, you can do what is called a "private placement," where you sell shares of stock to a select group of equity investors, who then typically exercise control over the company in proportion to the number of shares they own.
Many federal, state and local government loan programs are available to small businesses. Local governments sometimes offer incentives such as tax breaks or discounted loan rates.
The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) provides management and financial assistance to small businesses. The SBA works with banks to guarantee a variety of loans for small businesses. If a bank turns you down, the SBA loan guarantee program is a possibility. Under this program, proceeds may be used for a variety of things, such as inventory acquisition or capital and debt restructuring.