When you’re able to explain your niche market and your plan to build your business, it’s time to secure your funding. The U.S. Small Business Administration should be your first stop. They have a deep understanding of the many kinds of financial support that a small business needs and offer loans to fit. SBA “microloans” inject $50,000 or less into your business to give it a jumpstart, while 7(a) loans can fund your entire enterprise. The small business loans your bank offers are likely through the SBA. The SBA also offers free resources and counseling to help you form a business plan and avoid common financial pitfalls. For more fundraising tips and tactics, check out our guide to salon financing.
If a traditional loan isn’t in the cards, seek out investors who already have an interest or connection to your audience. Investors tend to stick with what they know works, and they often use the experience of backing one business to gauge the risk of supporting another. Take the time to research a venture capitalist’s portfolio to see if you discern any commonalities, like customer demographics or the entrepreneurs’ backgrounds. Crunchbase is a great place to start your search for investors who’re interested in businesses like yours.
Wherever your search for funding leads you, be patient and selfish. Predatory lenders know you’re eager to get going and will use that to their advantage when crafting an offer. Remember: You’re doing this to bring your vision to life. You’re not obligated to agree to anything that doesn’t feel right.