NERDWALLET'S SMALL BUSINESS GUIDE

How to Start Your Small Business

The tools and information you need to get started

Starting a small business takes research, smarts and self-confidence. It also takes a measure of fearlessness as reasons to worry abound: Do I have enough money? The right equipment? The best financing? Am I getting the best advice?

We’re here to help with the advice.

We’ve rounded up some of our best information on starting a business, including structuring and naming your company, creating a solid plan and much more. We’ll help you do your homework and get started on the right foot.

Financing basics

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Business credit score 101

What is a business credit score and why does it matter?

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Where to get funding

We look at five sources of funding for your small business.

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How to prepare

A to-do list that will help you qualify for the cash you need.

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Insights for your inbox

Our monthly newsletter is a great source of tips, advice. Sign up here.

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Types and sources of funding

Financing options Amount APR Pros Cons
Bank loan $200,000+ <10% • Low costs
• High borrowing amounts
• Long repayment term
• Harder to qualify
• Requires collateral
Microloan $500 to $100,000 8% to 15% • Higher approval rates
• Lower costs
• Smaller borrowing amounts
• Long time to funding

SBA loan $30,000 to $5 million 5% to 8% • Low costs
• High borrowing amounts
• Long repayment term
• Hard to qualify
• Long time to funding
Personal loan $1,000 to $35,000 5.5% to 36% • No business history required
• Fast time to funding
• Need strong credit
• High costs
Business credit card $5,000 to $50,000 12.99% to 29.9% • Rewards for spending
• Can help establish business credit
• Fast time to funding
• High borrowing costs
• Need strong credit
Equity crowdfunding Up to $1 million annually N/A • No loan to repay
• No business history required
• No collateral or credit checks required
• Must provide investors with detailed business information
• Have to give up equity in your business
Reward crowdfunding $1,000 to $100,000 N/A • No loan to repay
• No business history required
• No collateral or credit checks required
• May not raise all money required
• Need unique idea or product

Easy e-book: We outline the steps to becoming a small-business owner.
Read now

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