funding
signingcontract

Accepting Outside Investors? Here Are 5 Things to Watch Out for in Your Contract

by Rich McIver

As a business owner, the idea of accepting expertise and a big check from an outside investor can seem like a complete win for you and your business. The truth of whether it’s actually a benefit for you, however, is often determined by what appears to be the boring fine print details of the contract... Read more »

funding
isalenderdeceivingyou

Is a Lender or Broker Deceiving You? Here’s How to Tell

by Marc Prosser

Anyone who has spent any time in the loan industry knows how perilous it can be for small business owners. Due to the complicated nature of loans and legal speak, brokers and lenders often try to take advantage of small business owners. That’s why we have written this article, to explain three ways brokers and... Read more »

funding
notqualified

5 Reasons You Might Not Qualify for an SBA Loan…and What to Do About It

by Marc Prosser

Loans that are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are attractive for business owners because they offer a range of loan sizes, long repayment terms, and most importantly, low interest rates. While some alternative business lenders charge as high as 80 percent APR, you can get an SBA-backed bank loan for around seven... Read more »

funding
whattoincludinyourpitchdeck

What to Include in Your Pitch Deck

by Noah Parsons

If you’re raising money for your business, having an impressive pitch deck is a key component in your fundraising toolkit. A great pitch deck gets potential investors excited about your idea and engages them in a conversation about your business, hopefully leading to an investment. In this article, I’m going to give you the formula... Read more »

funding
noloans

Why Banks Are No Longer Lending to Small Businesses

by Meredith Wood

Remember the days when you’d need funding to start or grow your business, and you’d get in your car and head down to the bank on the corner? You knew your banker personally, perhaps even had kids in the same class at school, or would often see them at your favorite local restaurant. This personal... Read more »

funding
pitchdeck

Our Favorite Tools to Create Your Pitch

by Spencer Grover

Your pitch deck is probably the most important piece of sales collateral that you’ll make for your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling pizza slices or the blueprints to a nuclear reactor—you’re always going to need to explain your big idea to investors or clients. And what is your primary tool to elucidate that... Read more »

funding
30angelinvestorquestions

30 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask You

by Tim Berry

When you pitch a startup to angel investors, you want to get questions. If you don’t get questions then your pitch fell flat and nobody is interested. So plan on answering questions—and hope you have some to answer! Embrace interruptions Most of the business plan competitions I judge ask the judges to listen quietly for... Read more »

funding
bankloan

10 Things the Bank Will Ask When You Need a Business Loan

by Tim Berry

That bank loan you want for your company? Well, the bank is going to want a lot before they give it to you. Do you find this daunting? Me too. I was really disappointed when I needed my company’s first commercial bank loan to finance receivables of more than $1 million—from well-known distributors no less—and we... Read more »

funding
masteringpitch

Master Your Pitch and Find Funding Success

by Daniel Faris

As far as pitching an idea goes, business solutions very rarely sell themselves. If you’ve ever had to stand up in front of people with the power to decide the future of your enterprise, you’ll know how daunting it can be. The following article is divided into two sections. First, I’ll address a few of... Read more »

planning
IMG_2080

BloomNation: An Unconventional Startup Story

by Briana Morgaine

It’s like the plot of a Hollywood movie: Three best friends, with no prior business experience, decide to band together and form a startup business. They hope to create an innovative platform that will shake up the floral industry, and help both customers and florists alike. But, of course, they need funding—and wouldn’t you know... Read more »

funding
angelinvestor

11 Angel Investor Blogs You Should Be Reading

by Noah Parsons

In the business world, angel investors are sometimes equated with actual angels, sent to help us fund what could not otherwise be funded. These guardian angels of innovation are responsible for bringing many new ideas to life. The thing is, many of us—most notably those seeking investment—don’t know a lot about what angel investors are... Read more »

funding
crowdfundingfail

Why My Crowdfunding Campaign Failed

by Angelique O'Rourke

Crowdfunding has a reputation as an accessible way to secure funding for startups and small businesses. It’s quick and easy; just throw up your video, backers start investing their money, and you’re set. Anyone can do it, right? The truth is, it’s far from that simple. For every story of someone whose project went viral... Read more »

funding
pitch webinar (3)

Webinar Recap: 14 Tips on How to Pitch and Get Funded

by Jonathan Michael

Last week, Bplans members had the opportunity to attend our free webinar, “14 Tips on How to Pitch and Get Funded.” Our featured speaker was Caroline Cummings, the VP of Business Development at Palo Alto Software. As the former co-founder and CEO of two technology companies, Caroline has experienced both start-up failures and successes, and... Read more »

funding
shutterstock_150187904

17 Venture Capital Blogs You Should Be Reading

by Noah Parsons

Whether or not you’re raising money for your business, getting advice from venture capitalists can be invaluable. But, getting in the doors of a Sand Hill Road VC in Silicon Valley can be an incredibly difficult undertaking. Fortunately, many of the top VCs share their thoughts on their blogs and are full of advice for... Read more »

funding
businesscredit

8 Quick Tips on How to Establish Business Credit and Get Financing

by Levi King

Have you ever been denied for business financing? If so, you’re not alone. More than 50% of small business owners who apply for financing get nothing. Personal and business credit scores are the primary cause for denial. If you haven’t taken the time to establish strong business credit, now is the time to start. I... Read more »

funding
pitch webinar_small

14 Tips on How to Pitch and Get Funded [Webinar]

by Jonathan Michael

You made the leap. You’ve taken the steps to start your own business, and it’s more than just an idea. There’s only one problem: you don’t have the capital you need to get it off the ground or take it to the next level. You need investors. When it comes to pitching your business, you... Read more »

funding
shutterstock_168567017

The 10 Best Side Businesses to Fund Your Startup (Plus One Unexpected Suggestion)

by Briana Morgaine

So, you have a great idea for a new business? The thing is, getting started isn’t as straightforward as some people make it sound. What if you need a little help getting it off the ground? In addition to creating a solid business plan, marketing your business, and a host of other details you’ll be... Read more »

managing
2014 Top Articles

Our 10 Most-Read Articles of 2014

by Jonathan Michael

  2014 is on its way out. I don’t know about you, but as the year comes to a close, I love looking back to consider how the year unfolded. Did everything go as planned? What things were unexpected–good or bad? What did I learn from my experiences? Finally, what can I take with me to help... Read more »

funding
Bank Loan Hurdles

3 Hurdles to Getting a Bank Loan and How to Overcome Them

by Marc Prosser

The percentage of total bank business loans that go to small businesses is in a steady decline, from over 50% in 1995, to under 30% in 2012. While it is harder than ever for small businesses to get a bank loan, it’s not impossible. Here are three of the primary hurdles you will encounter when... Read more »

planning
shutterstock_212710381

Are You Ready for Equity Based Crowdfunding?

by Kali Banks

Are you an emerging entrepreneur with an underfunded venture? Could your business flourish with a gush of money and hype? Then, the unveiling of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed equity crowdfunding rules reveals a panacea for growing your business’s coffers. The SEC’s proposed rules (mandated by the JOBS Act of 2012) amend the Securities... Read more »