Editor’s Note: Each Monday, from now through the third week of November, we’re encouraging readers to pose questions to our startup expert of the week; authoritative answers will appear in a post on Fridays.
The options for financing your business startup are exploding. Thirty years ago, most companies took out bank loans and a few companies were financed by investors. These days, the world of startup finance looks more like a Chutes and Ladders game: Many ways to reach for money but a misstep will cost you.
I’m here to answer questions about financing your business idea, drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews and work with some of the world’s tops financiers and investment experts.
What would you rather do, find financing at a bank, or via an online lender like OnDeck , Funding Circle or Behalf?
If you are internationally based or expanding abroad, what are your options for finding money? They are surprisingly broad.
When an angel investor comes begging for a piece of your idea, should you answer the door?
How likely is it that you’ll reach your goal on a crowdfunding site, either a mainstream one like Kickstarter or one of the new specialty sites, like CircleUp?
How about a celebrity funder, like the one this couple found on Shark Tank? They’re out there — and can lend power to your brand — but how do you find one?
Or — how about this — do you need financing at all, or can you just bootstrap your startup, maybe with credit cards or a home equity loan? (Talk about an old school idea!)
If you have a business idea on the backburner, one of the first steps is figuring out how to make the money work. Once you have some knowledge, finding money probably won’t be as difficult as you think: the Internet is revolutionizing startup finance, just as it has so many other parts of American life.