Sign Business Funding Abstract
Finding funding can be like negotiating a maze. Here are five ideas to help you negotiate that maze.

Each year we see a new bunch of funding options for startups and small businesses. Some will likely not last, while others could become the backbone of your signmaking business. Here are five financing trends that just might have an impact on your sign making company.

1. Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is when a large group of people pitch in to fund a project or business through lots of small donations. In exchange for their contributions donors receive goods or services, instead of equity or interest payments.

Some popular sources of crowdfunding are: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and

2. Credit Unions. Of all the financial institutions that make loans to small businesses, credit unions are one of the most active. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) reports that more than $33 billion worth of business loans in 2009 were made by credit unions. Relatively low rates and terms that are better than most traditional banks make them an appealing option; the only catch is you will likely have to become a member to get a loan.

3. Bootstrapping. Bootstrapping isn't your traditional loan, actually it's not a loan at all. It refers to any means you use to get finances for your business: tapping into personal savings, hitting up friends and relatives, using money from one venture to fund another, getting vendors to front start-up supplies. If you've trimmed down your start-up/operating costs to a few hundred dollars this is a good way to get the ball rolling. Once things are moving at a good clip you can go ahead and get more investments plugged into your venture.

4. Microlending. Microlending, offering very small loans, got its start in helping woman in underdeveloped countries start their own small businesses. However, the recent effects of the recession have made microlending more popular in the US business market. Business loans at banks start at $50,000, while many small businesses simply do not plan to spend that much on start-up. Microloans can be as small as $100 and generally go up to about $5000.

5. The Slow Money Movement. This idea comes to the table by means of Woody Tasch, chairmen of Investors' Circle, and while it means little for the sign business world, it is an interesting idea that could evolve and influence our industry.

Tasch wants to see people funding entrepreneurs who buy, use and sell local food, or work in sustainable agriculture. The idea is to help foster the local food chain and boost community business. How this will eventually translate over to other businesses remains unseen, but for now we can sit by and watch it evolve.