Financing Your Small Business: Loans Vs Grants

As a small business owner you face a variety of different financing options. Some of your choices include finding investors, pulling out business loans and applying for government grants. This article is going to address the latter two of the three previous options and discuss what you as a small business owner can do to secure additional capital for your business.LoansLoans are borrowed funds that your business will have to pay back, usually with additional interest. They are the most widely available resource for small business funding and are worth mentioning in this short article. The U.S. Small Business Administration currently has three different loan programs for small companies and businesses; the 7(a) Loan Program, the Microloan Program and the CDC/504 Loan Program. Each of these government-sponsored programs is designed for a specific purpose and is available to businesses that meet the standards and requirements of each respective program. More information regarding these business loan programs can be found on the SBA website under the Loans & Grants section of their website.Aside from the previously mentioned government loan programs, small business owners can decide to obtain funding from local financial institutions. Most financial institutions offer a wide variety of business loans with varying interest rates and monthly payments. Common types of business loans include loans for real estate, loans for company equipment and loans for the vehicles you use to perform company services and activities. Each of these loans has the potential to benefit your business in a variety of ways and the usefulness of each loan depends on the type of business you own. Most financial institutions have a portion of their website dedicated to businesses and typically provide information on the type and availability of their loans within this section. If you feel more comfortable meeting someone in person and shaking a hand, most local banks have a dedicated staff for small business owners. They’re always more than happy to help.GrantsGrants are fund that you typically don’t have to pay back. Naturally, this is the type of funding most businesses want to get. The government is one of the largest and most sought after sources of small business grants. Many business owners naturally look to the government first when applying for grants and funding.The thing that most new business owners don’t realize about government grants is that they’re highly regulated and often hard to get. Due to the fact that our tax dollars pay for business grants, the federal government only offers grants to companies that conduct specific types of business. Companies that conduct research and development, non-profit organizations and certain educational organizations are examples of businesses that the federal government is authorized to give grants to.If you’re a business and you’re looking to find a grant, your best option is to see what your local and state governments have to offer. Many times your State appropriates funds for small businesses and provides grants for companies that support a specific cause or agenda. For example, in recent months there has been an increase in government funding for businesses pioneering clean energy and childhood education.While grants are much harder to acquire, it definitely feels great when your business qualifies for one and is accepted as a recipient of a government grant. Some grants will provide your business with cash with a few additional stipulations and others will require your business to match the amount they give with your own capital. The truth is, almost all grants are different so it’s hard to describe how each of them works. The types of grants available within each state vary significantly, so your best bet at finding grants that are appropriate for your business would be to search your state or local government’s website for the information.