Before approaching lenders or investors, Rock Solid Finance founding partner David Worrell recommends you:
1. Be able to describe your product or service completely and clearly.
2. Know your income sources. It’s not necessarily from your product or service (Facebook, for example, gives away its service, but makes income from advertising and games).
3. Build an organization chart. Even if some (or most) of the boxes are empty at this stage, doing so will demonstrate that you have a roadmap for your company.
4. Have a good understanding of your expenses, both startup and operating.
5. Convince friends to invest. It’s important to build credibility among people who know you before approaching people who don’t.
Where to Get Help
• Begin with local organizations that can guide you through funding options in your community. Local offices of the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers and SCORE (previously called the Service Corps of Retired Executives) are great places to start.
• Online advisers such as Rock Solid Finance, MultiFunding or The Business Finance Store can help guide you through the maze of choices to find the right one for you.
• Opportunity Finance Network is a national network of community development financial institutions.