Exploring Alternative Financing Options for Your Business

Access to capital and funding are among the most pressing concerns that CFOs face today. With traditional bank loans becoming more challenging to secure under uncertain market conditions, exploring alternative financing options is crucial for businesses looking to manage cash flow or to grow. Here's an overview of some possible alternative financing options.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are typically retired executives or successful entrepreneurs who want to stay connected to the business community and support small companies. In addition to providing debt or investment capital, angel investors may offer to mentor the business owner or the company's management team.

Unlike other forms of debt financing, angel investors typically adopt a hands-on approach. This includes providing management advice, strategic guidance and introductions to people in their networks. In some cases, angel investors may expect the businesses they invest in to relinquish a degree of control and decision-making.

Depending on an angel investor's experience and net worth, the individual may be able to provide valuable knowledge and access to large sums of investment capital. However, those funds may come with onerous equity demands. Attracting angel investors requires a strong business plan and a compelling exit strategy. Most angel investors are seasoned professionals with extensive business experience. Negotiating with them and managing their expectations requires considerable communication and a strong leadership team that can withstand their scrutiny.


In recent years, there's been an increase in equity and rewards-based crowdfunding platforms. Crowdfunding allows businesses to raise capital through the collective efforts of individual investors, also known as "backers." Using this approach, companies attract multiple small investments from many people. Crowdfunding can help start-ups raise seed capital and allow established businesses to raise more funds.

A successful crowdfunding campaign largely depends on the strength of the company's marketing plan. Businesses typically provide equity or rewards in exchange for funding. The funding process is often shorter than traditional financing, with funds available just days after the campaign closes.

Appearing on a crowdfunding platform doesn't guarantee a business will receive the funds it needs. In addition to paying backers for their investment, platforms can charge a fee based on how much your business raises.

P2P Lending

Another form of alternative financing is peer-to-peer lending (P2P). While similar to equity crowdfunding, P2P lending platforms take a more active role. They require paying interest and repaying loan principal over time. Typically, the P2P provider assigns an interest rate to the loan, based on an assessment of the company's risk profile.

Access to P2P lending depends on your company's ability to repay the loan. Therefore, success in securing such a loan is based primarily on your company's creditworthiness and loan terms. P2P lending is subject to state and federal oversight.

What's the Right Path for Your Business?

Contact your financial advisor for help raising capital for your business. He or she can discuss the pros and cons of various financing alternatives and put together financial reports to market your business to potential lenders and investors.

Qualifying for Alternative Funding

Here are three practical tips to help your business secure capital:

  1. Create a compelling business plan. Investors must have a clear picture of your business, including your primary and secondary markets, performance to date, forecasted performance, and the background of the management team. Your business plan should include historical financial statements (including a balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows), as well as financial projections that show your company's ability to service the debt or provide an adequate return to investors.
  2. Tailor your pitch. Securing crowdfunding, an angel investor, or peer-to-peer investors requires a customized approach. Your financial advisors can help you understand the requirements for each financing option and platform.
  3. Consider the legal and tax implications. Before pursuing alternative funding, make sure you understand the legal and tax ramifications. This includes the compliance-related requirements that apply in your jurisdiction.

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