A brief primer on nontraditional ways to raise capital for small-business ventures.
Raising capital for a small business has never been trickier, especially in the wake of a banking crisis that dramatically tightened lending practices. Drawing on years of experience as an entrepreneur with a taste for experimentation, debut author Cleveland describes various ways to raise funds without taking out traditional bank loans. For example, business owners can open a merchant credit card without relying upon personal credit history, and the author explains in detail how to build business credit quickly. Cleveland also explains how to secure merchant cash advances, which technically don’t count as loans. He walks the uninitiated through the unfamiliar terrain of microloans, profitable partnerships, and even grant procurement. Some of the ground covered here is well-trodden. But the principal strength of this book is its analysis of more esoteric capital-raising strategies, like owner-financing of real estate purchases. Additionally, Cleveland teaches the small-business owner that some of the ways larger companies raise money—by incorporating and then selling off stocks and bonds—are available to small businesses too. A lean 31 pages, this is more an educational pamphlet than a complete guide, but it still functions as a good resource for unconventional ideas and often refers the reader to helpful websites that give more comprehensive guidance. The writing is clear and conversational, although the manuscript would benefit from a more meticulous copy edit; the book is riddled with errors (“tough” is rendered as “tuff”). The scope of Cleveland’s book is much more ambitious than its length might suggest—he’s in pursuit of a radical reinterpretation of the way a business accumulates startup capital: “As a collective we as business minds can create an ecosystem of entrepreneurs that never have to seek out multiple channels to raise capital again.” This small offering is merely a first look into the revolution it anticipates but an instructive and timely one.
A solid introduction to alternative ways to obtain the cash necessary to start or grow a business.