Financing the American Dream of Business Ownership

The American Dream means different things to different people. Buying their first home is the dream for so many people. For others it might be taking a trip around the world. Yet for others, owning their own business is the dream of a lifetime.

Since I was raised in a family business, entrepreneurship was always on my mind. So when I finally decided to leave the corporate world, I thought I was prepared to take that giant step from being an employee to being my own boss. Did I really know what I was getting myself into. Not really.

In one of my favorite books, The E Myth – Revisited, Michael Geber talks about three attributes that an entrepreneur and a business must have to be successful: technical expertise, management skills, and the ability to sell and market the business. All these skills are vital, but so is having a solid business plan and enough money to get the business off the ground.

When I looked to fund my first business start-up, I did what so many others do, I went to my friendly neighborhood bank and talked with my friend and neighbor, the banker. I didn’t think it would be easy, but I did think it was possible. I was coming from a successful professional career. I had some money saved and had a good credit score. It made sense that the financial institution I had banked with for more than 10 years would provide me with a loan to start my new business. So what could go wrong? Most everything. I had never owned a business. I didn’t want to sink much of my family savings into the business and didn’t think I needed to. I didn’t want to use my home as collateral. I didn’t want to borrow money from family or friends.

I soon found I had few options. Finally I decided to use a combination of savings and the cash value of one of my life insurance policies to provide seed money for my foray into entrepreneurship. Even though my new business didn’t require an extremely large amount of capital to get me started, it was still a huge financial and emotional commitment for me and my family at that time.

Today, thousands of people make the decision to start their own business for either of two typical reasons; The time has come for them to start living their American dream, or they have lost jobs in corporate America. In either case they, too, will have more difficult decisions to make, including how they will finance their new business venture.

Now I know more than I did years ago when I started my first business. There are a number of funding options available today― through both traditional and alternative funding sources that can provide business owners working capital they need to start, sustain, and grow their companies. Many of these options are summarized on this website.

In future blog posts, I will discuss challenges that both entrepreneurs and established businesses face and the many financing resources available to them.