You have a brilliant idea for a startup, a fantastic team of highly motivated employees, and a fridge stocked with energy drinks. There’s only one small factor standing in your way, money.
Startups are expensive. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates the average cost of starting a home-based business anywhere from $2,000- $5,000. Finding sources of funding is essential to startups, no matter the phase.
What kind of costs should you expect?
The first step is budgeting for these costs.
- Fixed Costs
- Variable Costs
- Non-operating expenses
Fixed costs consist of expenses that will stay consistent. These are easy to account for and can include:
- Cost of equipment
- Salaries - if you have a concrete amount of employees.
Variable costs will change depending on your sales, and can include:
- Cost of creating your product
- Sales commissions
- Delivery costs
Non-operating expenses are the costs not directly associated with creating and maintaining your product. This could include:
- Parking fees
For a more detailed explanation of creating your operating budget, read this article.
Another factor to consider is whether you’ll want to spend money on optional things such as a more spacious office, employee perks, or additional employees.
Once you know your costs, the question is how you are going to fund your business.
How to get funding?
There are many ways a person can receive funding for their startup. Since every startup is different, the best type of funding may vary. Here some different funding options:
- Grants and Contests
- Venture Capital Funding
Self-funding has its upsides and downsides. On the one hand, you hold the purse-strings, so you have control. On the other hand, you also have the risk.
If you’re lucky enough to have disposable income to get your company off the ground, it can be a great way to get your business running.
There are a few things to consider when looking at self-funding. Most likely, you’ll have to keep your day job, which will give you less time to invest in your new company.
You may also have a shorter startup runway.
Startup runways are how long your startup can run based on the amount of money you have. The longer runway, the better.
You can calculate your runway using Causal’s Startup Runway Calculator template.
Not many people have enough disposable income to finance their startup without loans.
Loans can be a lifesaver for young companies, but they can also quickly become expensive.
Banks also tend to be hesitant about loaning to a newer business, and for a good reason. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of U.S small businesses fail within one year.
Then there is the catch-22. Banks want to know that you can pay back your loan, but if you could provide them with the proof that you could pay it back, you most likely wouldn’t need a loan.
You can’t just pick this option. It needs to choose you as well.
If done well, crowdfunding can be a great way to get your company up and running. It can be a great way to make your friends and family block your phone number if done poorly.
Crowdfunding is pretty cheap compared to other methods of financing a business. It also can work as free advertising by introducing your product to the public and garnering excitement.
Not all platforms work the same. Some require you to promise a free product or service in exchange for the donation. Others give the donor a share of your company.
Successful crowdfunding requires strong social media skills, patience, and charisma.
Grants and Contests
Grants are the holy grail of funding. The best part is you don’t have to offer anything in return for the money. Everyone wants a grant, which makes it highly competitive. Finding a grant that matches your purpose will give you a better chance.
Grants do have few strings. The giver of the grant will often dictate how the business can spend that money.
- Grants.gov is an excellent resource for finding government grants, although their website can be a bit hectic.
- The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs award small businesses in the tech field. The latter requires the company to work with a research institution.
- The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program offers funding and training to small businesses in rural areas.
- The FedEx Small Business Grant is a contest that awards $50,000 and FedEx services worth $7,500.
- The Patagonia Grant provides funding to activist organizations that work to protect the environment.
- Eileen Fisher offers grants to female business owners.
Venture Capital Funding
Many startups receive seed funding from a venture capital firm in exchange for a percentage of their business.
This type of funding requires a valuation of your company. Startups have significant risk, so venture capital firms will most likely ask for more of your company in exchange for their funding. They’ll probably have considerable influence over your company.
To receive this type of funding, you’ll need a strong idea, a great business plan, and growth potential.
How Causal Can Help
Causal’s Startup Suite is a collection of models that will help you run your business. Our templates will allow you to calculate the crucial factors while considering the changing nature of a startup.
The Suite Includes templates like:
Our community-based templates offer a wide variety of models, such as the Founder Break-Even Calculator, which can help you calculate when you’ll be able to “break-even.” With the Startup Recurring Liquidity Calculator, you can figure out how to offer recurring liquidity to your employees and retain the best talent.
The process may seem daunting, but we’re here to make it simple.