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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

6 unique business funding options you may not have considered

Investors aren’t the only path to getting the startup capital you need as a brand-new business.

6 unique business funding options you may not have considered
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

Funding is crucial for any new business. Without sufficient capital at the outset, the business may not have the means to market to a wider audience, produce enough products or expand its workforce.

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While there are many traditional ways to seek funding like taking a loan from a bank or finding an investor, there are unconventional ways a start-up owner may not have thought of that could help get their business off the ground. Below, six Fast Company Executive Board members offer some funding options to consider as a new business.

1. FIND FLAGSHIP PARTNERS.

One creative funding option for new businesses is reaching out to potential clients and having them be your venture’s flagship partners. They benefit by getting early access and input into what you are creating and they can participate in the upside as you grow. This is about building credibility, runway and support with a partner you can trust. – Tony Martignetti, Inspired Purpose Coaching

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2. START A CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN.

Crowdfunding is a very powerful way to pique interest and prove a company’s concept. Even if you don’t raise a million dollars on Kickstarter, consider a crowdfunding campaign that will build an instant community for your company and one in which people feel like investing in your company’s success. With that community, you can leverage VC or other investment opportunities more successfully. – Catherine Merritt, Spool

3. USE BORROWED CAPITAL IF NEEDED.

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Think about the last time you went to the supermarket or paid for gas. How did you pay? More likely than not you paid with a credit card. Buying stuff with borrowed capital is the norm in our society. Ironically, startup founders often shun the prospect of debt raising as a form of new business funding, despite the fact that most startups are formed as LLCs, thus limiting personal liability. – Danny Lohrfink, Wealth

4. TRY ‘CREATIVE FUNDING’ SOURCES.

There are many ways to fund a business, even a term called “creative funding” where it’s not our straightforward loan, venture capital money, friends and family, and more. A unique funding option could be through monthly credit terms with suppliers with vendors, so if we’re able to collect the payment from our customers or clients before paying our suppliers, that’ll help self-fund a brand-new business. – Royston G King, Royston G King Group & Companies

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5. REDUCE PERSONAL FINANCES.

Evaluate your assets and identify ways you can bootstrap your company yourself such as downsizing your home or redirecting your priorities and spending habits. This will allow you to start your business small and test your concept locally before scaling. – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing

6. USE A ROBS STRUCTURE.

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Founders can utilize the unique structure of a ROBS (rollover for business startups) by utilizing funds from an IRA or 401(k). While risky, if the business is genuine and the founder has significant funds in their retirement account, this method can be a quick source of cash without being required to pay earlier disbursement penalties. Make sure you engage professional advice to avoid any issues. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

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