In Finance Your Own Business, corporate attorney Garrett Sutton and credit expert Gerri Detweiler present a thorough discussion of the nuts and bolts of financing a business.
Undercapitalization is one of the main causes of new business failures, as often the runway that new businesses require for a successful launch is longer and bumpier than their owners expect. Many entrepreneurs rely for funding on a small number of sources, including personal savings, loans from family or friends, or personal loans from banks.
Here, the authors present underutilized sources of funding that can help build successful enterprises, such as Community Development Finance Institutions that make loans to under-served communities; 401(k)s; and Small Business Innovation Research grants from the federal government. They also discuss the need to build a foundation for financing, including choosing the right corporate structure (e.g. an S Corporation or an LLC), and creating and maintaining business credit.
After the company is up and running, entrepreneurs may bring in outside funders, such as angel investors, venture capitalists, or shareholders, and this process is described in the book’s third section. Finally, the authors touch on the common pitfalls in financing a business.
Many chapters begin with brief, illuminating anecdotes about businesses that used creative financing or learned the hard way about financing “don’t’s.” For example, a couple with a catering business faced a lawsuit following a food poisoning incident. Their LLC did not protect them from liability because they had not followed through on creating a strong corporate identity, with a separate business bank account, an EIN, etc.
Grounding their principles in such cases, Sutton and Detweiler present potentially difficult information in a friendly, accessible manner. They define their terms without condescending to readers as they demonstrate their expertise in the finer points of financing. New entrepreneurs will find in this readable work a rich source of knowledge about financing, while experienced owners will appreciate pointers they may have missed along the way.
Also available as an ebook and audiobook.