Starting a small business? Looking for advice on running your small business?

With the help of our experts and business thought leaders from around the country, NerdWallet is doing the homework for you to create the definitive Small Business Guide to help navigate everything from starting a small business from square one to helping a business take that next big step forward. Below, you’ll find everything you need to get started and keep growing!


Business Loan & Financing Options

Loan type Amount APR Term length Time to funding Collateral This loan type is best if …
Bank loan $200K+ < 10% 7+ years 2-6 months Required Your business is established with strong cash flow, in operation 2 years, you have sterling credit.
Microloan (from a CDFI bank or micro-finance institution) $500 – $100K 8-15% 1-5 years 1-3 months Preferred but always not required You can’t qualify for a bank loan and need less than $100K in funding.
Online term loan $15K – $500K 5.99% – 25.99% 1-5 years 2-14 days Personal guarantee You have excellent personal credit, your business doesn’t qualify for a bank loan, and you’re willing to pay a slight premium over traditional loans for faster financing.
Factoring (accounts receivable financing) 85% of accounts receivable Fee equivalent to 12% – 60% APR 1 – 3 months A few days Accounts receivable Your business is established and you have reliable customers
Revenue loan $10K – $1M 15% – 40% 1-3 years About a month None required You can show strong expected future revenue, your business doesn’t qualify for bank loans/online term loans, you prefer to retain ownership and control of your company.
Cashflow loan $200 – $100K 25% – 90% 6-12 months 3 days Personal guarantee You’re a borrower with less than perfect credit and can withstand the very high interest rates.
Other Financing
Equipment financing $5K – $5M 8% – 25% 2-10 years 1-4 weeks Equipment You’re a business owner with good credit.
Merchant cash advance $200 – $250K 70% – 350% 3 – 12 months A week None required You’re a high-risk borrower, have tried all other options and come up empty.
Crowdfunding (No debt component)
Equity crowdfunding $50K – $5M Equity 5+ Years 3+ months None required Your businesses has potential for strong growth and can pitch idea to would-be investors.
Reward crowdfunding $1K – $100K Reward < 1.5 years 1 – 3 months None required Similar to equity crowdfunding.


Dos and Don’ts of Asking Family and Friends for Startup Funds

Dos and Don’ts of Asking Family and Friends for Startup Funds

Small business owners often turn to their family and friends for financial help. And while asking your father-in-law to invest may be a panic-inducing proposition, the right game plan can smooth the process.

5 Challenges Facing Small Businesses in 2015

5 Challenges Facing Small Businesses in 2015

It’s a new year, and that means new challenges for business owners. Luckily, many challenges can be reframed as opportunities and worries can be turned into chances to stabilize and grow your small business.

Should I Get a Business Credit Card or a Small Business Loan?

Should I Get a Business Credit Card or a Small Business Loan?

All small business owners need a financial help to run and grow their enterprises, but the options can be confusing: Should you get a business credit card, a term loan or a line of credit to meet your business’ needs?


Small Business Funding Success Stories

 

Solé Bicycle’s Collaboration With Funding Circle

Solé Bicycle’s Collaboration With Funding Circle

Solé Bicycles isn’t your typical bicycle company. Founded in 2009 by two college buddies, Solé offers stylish and affordable bikes that can be purchased directly online, shipped to your door and assembled within 10 minutes.

Great Lakes’ Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Great Lakes’ Successful Kickstarter Campaign

Water-skiing, fishing or simply enjoying Minnesota’s peace and quiet, played an instrumental role in David Burke and Spencer Barrett’s upbringing. So much so, in fact, that the pair were inspired to launch a new clothing company.

Texas Swim Academy and Members Choice Credit Union

Texas Swim Academy and Members Choice Credit Union

After Kathleen McMordie, a critical care nurse, worked on a child who had drowned during a shift in the early 1990s, she was moved to protect her own kids and, eventually, other children from the same fate.

Café Evoke and Citizens Bank of Edmond

Café Evoke and Citizens Bank of Edmond

Coffee, craft beer, community — and waffles — are the things Café Evoke does best. Since it opened in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 2012, the trendy “social sip bar” has helped revitalize the city’s historic downtown.

Emmy’s Organics,’ Alternatives Federal Credit Union & M&T Bank

Emmy’s Organics,’ Alternatives Federal Credit Union & M&T Bank

After an especially delicious batch of macaroons, Samantha was struck by a sudden flash of brilliance: sell the macaroons in pre-packaged sets. Soon, their new business – Emmy’s Organics – was born.

Onigilly’s Collaboration with WorkingSolutions

Onigilly’s Collaboration with WorkingSolutions

When Koji Kanematsu emigrated from Japan, he couldn’t find a place to buy his favorite Japanese snack — onigiri. After he opened a food cart selling the rice balls, they became so popular that he opened a small brick and mortar location.

3 Babes Bakeshop’s and Pacific Community Ventures

3 Babes Bakeshop’s and Pacific Community Ventures

Lenore Estrada and Anna Derivi-Castellanos knew they wanted to do something they loved, and in 2011 these dreams came to fruition in the form of 3 Babes Bakeshop, a pie production company that utilizes local, seasonal ingredients.

Astis Mittens’ Success with Funding Circle

Astis Mittens’ Success with Funding Circle

While visiting his family, Brad Peterson’s cherished Cree mittens were partially eaten by his sister’s dog. He looked far and wide for a mitten repair service, but was disappointed — then he realized a new business could fill this void.


 Meet Our Small Business Experts:

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Gary Alt

Gary Alt AIF®, CFP® is NerdWallet’s expert on small business planning and a financial advisor helping clients develop a plan for retirement, manage investments and plan for wealth transition.

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Craig Smalley

Craig W. Smalley, E.A., C.E.P.®, C.T.R.S.®, NerdWallet’s expert on small business structure. He helps clients file income taxes, incorporate their business and plan for future tax events.

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Find both of them and many more experts on our Ask an Advisor platform, where users can connect with and ask questions to over 800 business experts for free.