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ClickFunnels Review: Is ClickFunnels right for your business?

Clickfunnels review

Many online businesses fail to grow and become profitable not for the lack of marketing, but in failing to convert potential customers into paying customers. There are many ways for a business to increase its sales and, subsequently, its profitability, but one of the most common methods of visualizing this process is through the marketing and sales funnel. ClickFunnels is a tool that makes use of the marketing and sales funnel to help any business to improve how they market and sell their products online.


When most people think of an online business, they think it is only about creating a website and starting to sell right away. In reality, it takes a lot of effort take a customer through a process from marketing all the way to the point they make a purchase. If you make the mistake of losing a customer’s attention at any point during the process, then they may leave your website. Therefore, it is very important to make the process easy to follow, and this is done through the funnel.


What is a marketing and sales funnel?


Any entrepreneur who has been interested in growing their business may have already stumbled upon the cone-shaped funnel. It is a visual representation of the process through which a business markets their products to new customers and eventually convert them into actual customers. The conical shape also illustrates how one cannot convert all of the potential customers but the number decreases down the funnel. There are 5 steps involved in any sales funnel, and these are:


1. Awareness

In the first step of the process, you get to introduce your company and products to potential customers. You can do this by sending marketing emails, advertising your website/blog or even through social media. At this point the customers don’t know a thing about you or your business, but it is also the time when you introduce yourself. To make a positive impact on their minds, you will need to present yourself as a thought leader in the industry to get them interested in your products or services.


Considering that those who you market to don’t know the value of your products and services, it is not advised to immediately try and sell to them. If you do, then your advert will seem more like a sales call and potential customers are more likely to skip through. Instead, try to demonstrate what you have to offer that will keep them interested in you specifically. A good way of keeping them engaged is to give them a taste of what you can offer.


Let’s take the example of a web developer who would like to gain more customers through a funnel. At the awareness stage, they might offer a 30-day trial for their customers to evaluate the quality of websites. By doing so, you’re already keeping them engaged and discouraging them from the competition, at least for the period of the trial.


2. Consideration

Now that you have already introduced yourself to the client, their interest is peaked and it’s time to strike. This is the time to introduce your products to your client but not yet to sell them. They may be interested, but you can bet they are considering others too. Therefore, you need to set yourself apart by targeting their specific problem. Presumably, you have learned their particular needs by now after being in contact for a while, so you know what they really want.


In our example with the web designer, you may have noticed that the customer’s need is more focused toward e-commerce. To demonstrate how your services would fulfill this need, you can incorporate these features into their trial website. The thinking is that once they see their problem being solved, they will be more likely to stick to what worked.


3. Conversion

Those customers that reach this stage of the funnel are already well educated about your products and they need only to make the purchase. Although they have already seen the value of your products and services, most will still need that final nudge. Here you want to illustrate the benefits of what you offer rather than overwhelming them with more details. Show them why you are the better option compared to the competition and then offer incentives. Some of the best incentives are discounts that make your products/services cheaper than the competition and one-time offers that create a sense of urgency.


4. Loyalty

After descending the funnel in the previous steps, it is clear how difficult it is to convert a potential customer into a paying one. So why would you want to throw all that effort away and start all over again? You wouldn’t, which is why you must continue to keep your paying customers loyal. Even the Harvard Business Review talks about how a company’s profits increase with time if the existing customers stick to them for longer.


To keep your customers loyal, some companies offer special discounts for longer-term purchases. Say, the web developer is paid $50 for maintaining a website for a month, which equates to $600 a year. They might offer a yearly fee of $500, thus saving the customer money for staying loyal. This would incentivize customers to stay loyal for longer and build a lasting relationship.


5. Advocacy

By now, the customer is a huge fan of your work, and they can be turned into marketers. By constantly providing top notch services to them, they will talk about you to their friends and even advertise on social media on your behalf. The best way to do this is by starting a loyalty or affiliate program where they have a real incentive for advertising your products and services.


What does ClickFunnels do?


Creating a sales funnel is not an easy thing to do, especially for a single individual. Just look at the entire process listed above that is involved in the making of a funnel, with so many things to consider. To convert just one paying customer means going through the process of email and social media marketing, responding to their communication, getting them to make that first purchase and then following up thereafter. It would take an entire staff to keep up with just 10 customers who all have different demands, and that is something many entrepreneurs don’t have.


This is where ClickFunnels comes in to cover all the bases needed to make a sales funnel work and actually produce results. ClickFunnels now has over 92,000 users and over 5 million funnels all of which have been able to process about $3.7 billion in sales so far with much more to come. In fact, ClickFunnels is now one of the most popular sales funnel tools available to everyone around the world with some good reasons.


Why is ClickFunnels so popular?


The first advantage ClickFunnels does better than the rest is being usable by everyone regardless of their expertise. First, creating a website is easy through a drag and drop webpage editor that doesn’t take a lot of effort to end up with a good-looking and responsive website. Neither do you have to worry about hosting charges because all those charges are covered too. Furthermore, marketing efforts are all automated by email and through Facebook and payment systems integrated. All these are available from a single dashboard that is easy to use by anyone and that makes the whole process easy.


What’s more is that ClickFunnels has an affiliate program that can increase your sales even further. While ClickFunnels’ own funnels are very effective, word of mouth marketing can significantly increase your reach to customers and thus increase your business’ profits. Under the affiliate program, you don’t pay any upfront fees as you would with other marketing strategies, but only after a sale has been made. This means that you never pay for anything that was not effective.


Affiliates in ClickFunnels promote your products and services so you can reach more clients without taking any more time. When you think about it, it’s like having an entire marketing team that does the work and is paid afterwards. This feature is referred to as backpack and it doesn’t take any more resources because you only pay after a sale has been made.


Any disadvantages to using ClickFunnels?


Some may consider the monthly fee charged for their services as a disadvantage. A subscription to ClickFunnels costs $97 per month, which some people may not be prepared to pay, especially if it is a small startup. Besides, there may be some cheaper options out there, but they obviously don’t have everything offered by ClickFunnels. With all that you get from this company, it’s definitely worth it, but to get more you will need to pay a bit more.


Some of the additional features include Actionetics MD that provides targeted marketing options to customers, but you need to pay more for this upgrade. However, even with the basic features only, ClickFunnels is able to greatly improve your business and help your company grow at a much faster rate.

The Top 10 Absolute Best Ecommerce Platforms for 2020

Ecommerce is booming. It’s estimated that this year there will be a staggering 1.92 billion digital buyers around the world – and that number is only going to grow as time goes on.


It’s no surprise that thousands of budding entrepreneurs continue to launch ecommerce websites with the hope of capturing some of this spectacular growth.  Although ecommerce may seem like it has been around for a long time, it’s still a nascent industry with a lot of room for growth!


In fact, estimates suggest that by 2040, 95% of purchases will be performed via an ecommerce website. Which websites do you think people around the world are going to be using?


They will want the fastest and most performant websites that offer a fast and seamless experience. They will want websites that are built using the absolute best ecommerce platforms.


Here’s a closer look at the best ecommerce platforms to help you launch a stunning website that will give you the best chances of success.



BigCommerce is a versatile enterprise ecommerce solution that bills itself as the future of ecommerce. The platform aims to lead the new era of ecommerce by taking responsibility for the security and scalability of enterprise operations.


It aims to help businesses accelerate growth rather than complexity while offering robust security and performance. As an open SaaS solution, it offers a world of possibility to enterprise-class organizations.


This level of scale means that it’s not quite as useful for smaller organizations. When it comes to larger businesses, though, the platform is currently used by a wide range of leading brands so it’s certainly got a lot to offer.


It is used across a wide range of industries, too, making the tool even more attractive for certain businesses.



Wix is one of the biggest names in website creation. The website builder offers a powerful what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor that means a person with even the most limited level of knowledge can create a beautiful website.


By empowering domain owners to create the websites that they want, Wix bills itself as the place to create professional websites. The tool also offers a huge range of templates and features, making it easy for website owners to select a range of advanced functionality for their store.


There are a wide variety of pricing features on offer, too, and the online stores are very competitive when compared to those alternatives on offer from competing platforms. In fact, retailers can look forward to getting paid with a variety of methods without having to pay commission on sales.



Woocommerce is an open source ecommerce platform that is built specifically for WordPress. It is heavily customizable and makes it a breeze for business owners to sell online.


The platform prizes itself on its vast customization abilities. If you really value being able to control your own website and really make it your own, you may find that this is the platform that you’ve been looking for.


Many other users agree, too, and Woocommerce currently powers an incredible 28% of all online stores. This makes it the most popular ecommerce platform on the web and it’s used by a huge range of leading companies.


Those companies choose to work with Woocommerce mostly because it has the ability to support unlimited products, there are a huge range of mobile-friendly templates available, and there are thousands of extensions available. All of this makes the tool incredibly flexible.


The tool is quite complex and developers will be able to tinker with it to get the truly best results possible. With that said, there are a wide range of support teams that are spread across the world. These helpful teams are lauded for their ability to help customers get the best from their platform.



This platform is a WordPress theme that bills itself as the next generation in ultra responsive shopping. The theme is easy to customize and site owners can call upon a wide range of components to get their website exactly how they like it.


For those professionals who are familiar with WordPress, too, this might be the natural choice. The fact that it’s a plugin doesn’t detract at all from the functionality and customization options that are on offer – users will find that they can use a range of widgets, menus, logos, color options, and much more.


Of course, the statistics show that people are shopping on mobile devices in greater numbers than ever before – this is why the plugin makes sure that your website looks fantastic whether it’s on desktop, mobile, or a tablet device.



Squarespace was one of the original all-in-one solutions for people looking to create a beautiful website without the difficulties that come with more complex avenues. Everything is covered here including domains, ecommerce, hosting, galleries, analytics, and more.


It’s worth nothing, though, that this big strength also has the potential to become a huge weakness. Some store owners will want to avoid becoming too reliant upon just a single platform for all of their ecommerce needs.


If that isn’t the case, though, many people will be delighted with Squarespace and what it has to offer. They can look forward to using award-winning templates that really do help amateurs to look like experts right from the very beginning. Online stores built with Squarespace look legitimate and inspire customers to browse through and complete their purchases.


Some truly world-class designers have worked on templates that offer a rich product display on the frontend. On the backend, there’s a lot going on: website owners can enjoy automatic inventory management, the ability to sell unlimited products, and powerful shipping calculator features.


This truly is an all-in-one service.



Shopify purports that it’s far more than just a piece of ecommerce software. The platform states that it’s also the best ecommerce platform that has everything a business owner could need to sell online, on social media, or in person.


Shopify states that if you have the will to build your business, it has the way. It can help nascent businesses that are just growing and looking to establish themselves on the one hand, while also helping larger enterprises to capitalize upon their existing audience.


The platform does indeed offer more than many of the ecommerce platforms on this list, given that it can also help businesses to sell in-person with point of sale terminals. If you’re going to open a business that is a blend between online and offline business, you might find that Shopify is too good to turn down.


Aside from offering stunning templates and building potential, Shopify can also help business owners to market their business while managing every element of their business including orders, shipping, and payments.


This can all be managed from a centralized platform, giving businesses the insights and knowledge that they need to grow no matter where they are in the world. Lots of apps also integrate directly with Shopify, opening up a world of opportunity.


Shopify really is an exciting platform that has the potential to change ecommerce. if you’re looking for a full solution that can get your business from a-z, you might want to explore this option in more depth.



Weebly is a website builder that sticks to the fundamentals. It focuses on giving domain owners the ability to easily create a beautiful store using customizable templates and easy-to-use tools.


The platform boasts that these professional templates can really give people the opportunity to transform and grow their business. Weebly focuses on four key areas for business owners: it helps them to get going with expert guidance on how to launch a website, before giving them access to the website builder. Next, it helps them to simplify the selling process before lending a helping hand when it comes to growth.


Given that payments are processed by Weebly, business owners can look forward to focusing on their business rather than getting bogged down in the logistics and details. This liberates a business owner’s time to help them focus on future growth and new strategies.


Weebly also offer assistance in a range of additional areas like domain management, too, which is a nice touch and really shows how the platform can drive additional value for businesses.



Volusion is a piece of ecommerce website store and shopping cart software. The platform suggests that its solution has been proven to sell 4x more when compared to competing hosted shopping carts, so it’s making some bold claims!


Given the quality of the platform, we could see this being the case. The platform gives website builders everything that they need to sell online effectively. This means that they can create a store, sell their products, and grow their business.


Over 180,000 stores are hosted through the Volusion platform, meaning that you don’t have to worry about legitimacy or an ability to scale. There are some really stunning themes on offer here and it’s great fun to whizz through and imagine how your store could be brought to life by one of them.


Like many of the other platforms in this list, Volusion also offers additional assistance with key tasks like inventory management and payment collection. There are also unlimited product options that can be offered via the platform.



Magento is an ecommerce platform that partners with thousands of retailers and brands around the world. It offers flexible cloud solutions that help businesses to grow quickly and innovate along the way.


The platform suggests that it offers next-generation technology that is capable of offering distinct digital retail experiences to users. This helps businesses and sellers to breathe life into the ecommerce website and set it apart from the competition in a crowded space.


There are a huge range of additional features on offer here, such as the ability to manage Google Shopping Ads through the platform. Businesses will find, though, that this solution doesn’t offer the same WYSIWYG editor as some of the competing platforms on this list.


This can make Magento seem like more of an intricate and formal investment, which might make some businesses hesitant to get involved. Still, if the case studies and customer reviews are anything to judge by, businesses can look forward to a pleasant and professional experience when working with the Magento team.



SiteBuilder is more of a traditional website editor tool that empowers businesses to create stunning ecommerce websites.


The platform can help with a wide range of areas such as a site’s domain name, templates, email addresses, hosting, and telephone support. This fuller package can help some confused business owners to get the best results possible with minimal complexity.


The process of working with SiteBuilder seems very straightforward again, with just three simple steps standing between a business owner and their amazing new online store. As with Magento, though, some business owners will find that this is not quite as flexible and free as some of the other options on this list.


You should be sure to compare pricing and more in order to make sure that this really is the best option for your needs – there’s no harm in shopping around and doing your research!


Good Luck Finding Your Ecommerce Platform

As you can see, there are lots of potential ecommerce providers out there. It’s a competitive space and there are lots of driven and talented companies looking for provide for the many online sellers out there.


This competition is a good thing and while it means that it can often be a little more complicated to find the option that’s right for you, it means that some truly wonderful products are on the market now.


We hope that this closer look at the ten absolute best ecommerce platforms has been useful for you! There’s a lot to consider and we can imagine that it will take you a long time until you find the option that’s right for you – we’re sure that once you find the right option, though, the sky will be the limit!

Understanding Your Personal Credit Report


Your personal credit report acts as a gateway to your financial future.

That could be a better future or… not so much. 

The good news is you’re in full control of what shows up on your credit report, so you ultimately decide that future. 

Take on a bunch of debt you can’t pay off or miss payments on a regular basis and you’ll quickly find yourself financially handicap.

That’s because your credit score and report help you obtain a number of important things such as:

  • Home mortgage
  • Car lease
  • Personal or business loans
  • Credit cards
  • Cell service and smartphone leasing

Fortunately, you’re here, doing what needs to be done to understand your personal credit report so you can invest in your financial future. 

And that’s exactly what we’re going to help you with in this guide. Below, we’ll be covering:

  • Reading your personal credit report
  • How your credit score is calculated
  • What is a good credit score?
  • And tips for cleaning up your credit report and improving your credit if it’s not where you’d like it to be

Let’s get to it. 

A note on obtaining your credit report

If you haven’t already obtained a copy of one of your credit reports (no matter from which credit bureau), it’s suggested you have that as we go through this guide. 

Having it on hand will allow you to make notes and mark it up with areas that need attention, whether that’s improvement, removal, or simply some research. 

According to the FCRA, or Fair Credit Reporting Act, you’re allowed one free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. 

To get a free copy of your credit report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com (the only service licensed by the federal government to provide free credit reports).

Reading your personal credit report

Your credit report is a collection of your financial data (such payment history, current debt) gathered by a credit bureau, typically one of the major bureaus in Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. 

Access to your credit report can be requested by you or anyone you authorize to run your credit for the purpose of using your credit score and/or report to help grade your financial eligibility. 

The information on your credit report is separated into 4 major sections:

  • Personal information
  • Credit history
  • Credit inquiries
  • Public records

Personal information

This section includes basic information such as your name, address, and phone numbers:

Credit history

Credit history includes credit accounts, how much you owe (if anything), how long the account has been open (or closed), and whether you’ve ever been late on payments:

Credit inquiries

When you apply for credit, that company or lender will run a hard inquiry on your credit, which impacts your credit score immediately up to 1 year and lasts on your credit report for up to 2 years. 

Those inquiries appear on your credit report in the proceeding section, typically just after your accounts:


Public records

Finally, public records includes all assorted items such as judgments, liens, bankruptcies, and foreclosures

Once you understand how your report is structured and what is included in each section, it’s much easier to read through your report. 

However, there are some confusing terms that show up in credit reports you’ll want to know as well to make sure you understand everything that’s included in one of your credit reports.


A quick breakdown of all those confusing credit report terms

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common terms that may appear on your credit report:

  • Collection account: When a debt can’t be collected, large companies tend to sell that debt off to a debt collector. That account will show up as a collection account. 
  • Charge-off: You might notice that some of your credit accounts say “Charged-off”. This means the creditor has given up on trying to collect the debt and written that debt off as a loss on their taxes. That debt may or may not have then been sold to a debt collector, so check to see if that same debt shows up as another account under a different name. 
  • Open account: An open account includes any financial responsibility to which you pay off each month, such as a cell phone or utility bill. 
  • Revolving account: This includes revolving credit accounts to which typically a portion of the balance is paid each month such as credit cards.

For a list of additional terms and codes that may appear on your credit report, several credit bureaus and other financial institutions offer handy guides, such as Creditfirm.net

Understanding your credit score (as it relates to your credit report)

Now that you understand how to read your personal credit report, let’s dive into your credit score. 

Your credit score is a direct reflection of the state of your credit report. 

If you learn what factors impact your credit score and how to read your credit report, you can put that knowledge together to vastly improve your credit. And you can do it often within a relatively short period of time. 

*Getting 9002 or 9003 credit when running your credit score? Find out what it means and what you can do about it. 

How you credit score is calculated

Credit agencies such as FICO and VantageScores take the data collected by the various bureaus to calculate your score. 

After calculating the data, they produce a score somewhere between 300 and 850 based on various factors, one score for each major credit bureau. 

It’s these agencies that calculate and produce your score, not the credit bureaus themselves. This is an important differentiation that’s critical to understand if you want to fully comprehend how your credit report and score work.

What factors impact your score? 

So then, how is your credit score calculated? 

There are 5 major items from your credit report that impact your score and these are the items you should be looking for when reviewing your credit report for possible improvements.

Below, we’ve organized those major factors in order of importance. The percentage (out of 100% total) indicates how important that particular factor is in calculating your score:


  1. Payment history: 35%
  2. Credit utilization: 30%
  3. Credit history: 15%
  4. Credit mix: 10%
  5. New credit: 10%

Payment history: 35%

Easily the most important factor when it comes to calculating your credit score at 35% of your score, payment history accounts for just over ⅓ of your entire score’s calculation. 

This includes the number of on-time payments, late payments, and when those payments were made.

Suffice it to say, try to never be late on a payment. 

However, it’s also important to note that FICO and other agencies state a couple of late payments aren’t going to kill your score. 

It’s much more of a collection of factors taken together than any one thing dominating the scoring calculation. 

Credit utilization: 30%

The second of the two most important factors in calculating your credit score is credit utilization. Taken together, payment history and credit utilization account for 65% of your score 

Credit utilization takes into consideration the amount you owe, particularly what percentage of your available credit you’ve borrowed from. 

The less you’re borrowing from your available credit, the better your score.

For example, it’s generally advised to use no more than 20-30% of your available credit. If you have a $250 credit card, another $500 card, and a final card with a $1000 limit, your available credit is $1750. 

However, you should shoot for spending just $350-525 of that amount (the less the better). 

Credit history: 15%

Most notably, this takes into consideration the age of your credit accounts. 

The longer your accounts have been open, the better your credit score will be. However, this also accounts for how long you’ve been actively using those accounts.

Ideally, you should have multiple accounts open for a long period of time all which you’re also actively using, even if it’s only a small portion of the available credit.

Credit mix: 10%

Credit mix accounts for just 10% of your score’s calculation and it has to do with the combination of credit accounts you have on your report.

This one is a bit vague, but it’s generally suggested that a good mix of revolving and installment accounts of different types is best. 

The idea is that it indicates the borrower (you) can handle different types of credit, further increasing your credit score. 

New credit: 10%

New credit is the final element and it accounts for another 10% of your score.

This includes two different things: 

  1. New inquiries
  2. New credit accounts

First, soft inquiries don’t affect your credit. However, hard inquiries– such as when a car dealership or bank runs your credit for a loan– do impact your credit and stay on your credit report for up to 2 years. 

Second, opening several new accounts within a small window of time can also impact your score, as it can suggest that you’re in financial trouble. 

However, something else not often considered: opening new accounts lowers your average account age, which also impacts your credit history. 


Tips for improving your credit

Now that we’ve covered what to look for on your credit report to start building toward a better credit score, we’ll cover some of our best tips for improving your credit.

Here are tips for improving your credit: 

1. Get credit monitoring

One of the single most important things you need to do if you’re serious about working on your credit is credit monitoring.

Credit monitoring, through sites such as Credit Karma, gives you a gateway into your credit activity. 

It will tell you not only when something has positively or negatively impacted your score, it will tell you when new items are added to your credit report, and help you identify credit fraud swiftly.

2. Remove old, erroneous, and fraudulent items

If you haven’t been keeping an eye on your credit report all this time, chances are that one or more items have landed on it that can be removed.

This includes items that: 

  1. simply old and should have fallen off
  2. Erroneous items such as credit accounts being listed twice, and
  3. Fraudulent items you might never have noticed

Examples of items you might see and be able to remove from your credit report include a UCC filing or UCC lien, which often stay on your credit after they’ve expired and can easily be removed, tax liens, or judgments

Sometimes, companies will run your credit without your authorization. If you notice an inquiry you know you did not permit, you can request to have it removed.

Another example is a credit account which you’ve paid off or has been charged off, both of which can often be removed in some cases. 

3. Pay on time, no matter what

As we talked about earlier, your payment history accounts for ⅓ of your entire credit score. 

That means making sure that you’re paying on time is one of the single most important things you can do to improve and maintain your credit score. 

Don’t forget that if you’re having trouble paying something on time, you can call most companies and request an extension. Many industries offer up to 2 extensions a year (or more), which means you have flexibility if need-be. 

4. Optimize your credit utilization

Similarly, credit utilization is nearly ⅓ of your entire score. 

Many aren’t aware of the importance that credit utilization plays in terms of your credit score. And, if they are, many more aren’t aware of just how much of their credit they should be spending. 

Most sources will suggest you keep your credit utilization below 30%. This is technically true. However, if you keep it to under 20%, the difference is significant and it requires just a little extra self-restraint.

Alternatively, you can look into whether you’re available for a credit limit increase from any of your credit cards. 

Get to know your personal credit report

You credit is a gateway to some of life’s most important moments: your first (or next), a new home, or obtaining a business loan for your passion project. 

Your credit report deserves your time and attention. 

Not only to understand it but to get it into the right shape so that it becomes an asset that helps you get to those major financial achievements, as opposed to a hindrance. 

Get to know your personal credit report. Then work on cleaning it up and bolstering it with a clean payment history, low credit utilization, and plentiful amount of credit.

Cannabis Business Loans: Resources for Funding Your Cannabis Business


How are Marijuana Business loans possible?

With cannabis now legalized in many states and legislation in place to expand that further, the cannabis industry has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry practically overnight. 

However, regulations surrounding the cannabis industry are strict and tricky to navigate, making acquiring cannabis business loans difficult for any Marijuana-based business.

Why is it so challenging to get financing for your cannabis business, and what can you do about it? 

The challenge of Obtaining Cannabis Business Loans

The heart of the challenge of obtaining cannabis business financing comes from the legalities behind cannabis itself. 

Cannabis is now legal for recreational use in 11 different states, with more states expected to pass legislation in the near future:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.

However, cannabis isn’t legal on the federal level, and that’s where the main challenge arises in terms of obtaining financing.

All banks are regulated by the federal government (even the little ones) and are required to flag illegal transactions under the Bank Secrecy Act based on federal law. That means they must fall in line with the law or risk huge fines– or much worse. 

As a result, you can’t walk into your local bank and open any kind of business account (including a loan) as a cannabis business.  Making it very difficult for a federally chartered bank to provide any Marijuana Business loans.

The good news is, there are alternatives. 

Alternative options for obtaining cannabis financing

Fortunately, federal law nor compliance keep you from being able to acquire business financing. You just need to know where to look to get it. 

If your local bank and credit unions have turned you away, consider these options for obtaining the capital your cannabis business needs:

Equity financing

Equity financing is one of the best routes to go with any cannabis business as the industry is considered very desirable among investors.

With equity financing, you can go two different routes, venture capital or angel investing:

Venture capital

Obtain seed funding from venture capitalists specific to the cannabis industry. 

See the most current list of VCs at New Cannabis Ventures and take some time to search for cannabis-specific VCs such as Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital

Angel investing

Similar to venture capital, acquiring angel investors is another viable route for cannabis business loans with its own set of benefits. 

With angel investing, you have more control due to no one investor having such a prominent position of power over the company as in the case of a VC. 

AngelList is the best place to find angel investors and you can do a cannabis-specific search to identify investors who have specifically identified themselves as interested in investing in cannabis-related businesses here


Crowdfunding is another great option for obtaining a cannabis business loan. 

Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the two most prominent crowdfunding platforms online, are decent options for funding your startup or next product. 

In addition to the major platforms, cannabis-specific sites exist as well and may serve as better platforms. Cannabis crowdfunding sites include Fundanna and CannaFundr

Alternative lending

Another great option for obtaining funding for any kind of cannabis-related business is alternative lending.

If you’re interested in obtaining a more traditional loan and don’t want to have to answer to investors, alternative lending is a solution to the lack of bank funding. That’s because many alternative lenders openly work with and lend to cannabis businesses. 

Alternative lending is an umbrella term referring to any financial product offered by an alternative or private lender.

Within that umbrella, there are several options for financing your cannabis business: 

Term loans

If all you need is a single lump sum to get off the ground, or to get your next product up and running, a term loan may be the perfect fit. 

With a term loan, you get a sum of capital in exchange for paying that amount back at a specified interest rate based on your business qualifications. 

Learn more about small and medium-term loans.

Business line of credit

With a business line of credit, you don’t just get a single sum of money but a recurring amount you can access whenever you need extra capital. 

A business line of credit is ideal if your cash flow is uneven. For example, if you have one or two vendors that make up a large part of your business and you’re often waiting for payment.

Learn more about business lines of credit.

Merchant cash advance

An MCA is a much newer but increasingly popular form of business financing that involves obtaining an advance sum based on your regular credit card sales.

Those sales are then also used as a kind of collateral to pay back the loan. Once approved, you pay that sum back based on a percentage of your credit card sales.

Learn more about merchant cash advances.

Additional resources for growing your cannabis business

In addition to the above ways to obtain funding for your business, with the rise of the industry as a whole, many new resources are now available to help you grow your cannabis business. 

Here are a few of the best new cannabis-specific resources to help grow your business: 


CanPay (Debit system)

CanPay is a debit system specific to the cannabis industry that allows you to accept debit payments from customers provided they also use the platform. 

This is useful because, as we talked about earlier, most banks won’t touch the cannabis industry due to federal regulations. 

That means they won’t even allow you to open a business checking account with them, which can make it difficult to accept debit payments as a cannabis business, often resulting in many cannabis transactions to be cash as a workaround. 

However, with CanPay, you can accept debit payments. At least until federal regulation shifts in the industry’s favor and a workaround is no longer needed.

Green Bits (Point of sale system)

Green Bits is a point of sale system. There are a lot out there, but what makes Green Bits special is that it was designed specifically for the cannabis industry. 

Their service is designed to help you stay compliant, that alone making it far and above the best value of any other point of sale system out there for cannabis businesses. 

Higher Yields (Consultation services)

If you’re in the beginning stages of your business or have hit a rough spot and could use some industry-specific advice for growing your business, Higher Yields is a cannabis-specific consulting firm worth looking into. 

Their services include help with licensing, facility design-build services, financial plans, cultivation management, marketing, branding, compliance, and more. 

As per their website, “The medical and recreational marijuana markets are complex, ever-changing, and full of pitfalls that experts can help your business navigate. Protect your investment with the know-how of professional marijuana business development consulting services.”

9/25/19 Update: Historic vote on new cannabis banking bill paves way for providing key financial tools to business owners

U.S. News recently reported that a new measure, designed to protect financial institutions that service cannabis companies, passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote just last month (Sept. 25th, 2019).

The bill, the first standalone cannabis-related bill to pass a chamber of Congress, is designed to protect financial institutions who support cannabis businesses from criminal prosecution and other negative action.

If the legislation ultimately passes, it will be a huge win for the cannabis industry. No longer will cannabis businesses have to take inconvenient steps to process payments and run their business in general. 

If the bill passes, they’ll quickly begin to have access to all the same financial tools (access to business bank accounts, online payments) that other businesses have. 

“We applaud the House for approving this bipartisan solution to the cannabis banking problem, and we hope the Senate will move quickly to do the same,” Neal Levine, chief executive officer of the Cannabis Trade Federation and one of several groups who lobbied in support of the bill, told U.S. News. 

The bill, referred to as the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, passed by a vote of 321-103. However, it’s not yet known what its chances are in the Senate. For that, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

Don’t let compliance and legislation hold your cannabis business back

There are still hurdles to be overcome if you want to start a cannabis business, but those hurdles are quickly disappearing.

Use the tools and resources we discussed, from ways to obtain the funding your business needs to additional resources to help it grow and stay compliant, to overcome those hurdles maximize the growth of your business.


Private Business Loans


What are private business loans?

If you’ve recently applied for a bank loan, you know being approved by a traditional banking institution isn’t easy. 

Fortunately, as a business owner, you now have several options for obtaining the capital you need to grow your business, thanks to private business loans. 

A private business loan is a loan offered by any non-banking institution (i.e. a private company, hence private business loans). 

For example, many new private lenders have sprouted up over the past 2 decades thanks to the fintech and general digital revolution.

Why is this a good thing? 

As a private lender, we’re able to offer much more flexible terms compared to a traditional bank. That means it’s easier for you as a business owner to get approved for financing than it’s ever been before. 

In the past, if you needed funding for your business you ideally acquired an investor. And if you didn’t have an investor, you went to the bank. 

If you couldn’t get a bank loan, your options were to give up the business idea or use personal savings. 

But that just wasn’t an option for many types of businesses that needed a large sum of money to get started (such as restaurants). 


Why were private small business loans created? 

Following recent economic events, especially the housing crisis, banks became much more strict about who they lent to. 

As a result, it became much more difficult for business owners to be approved for funding virtually overnight.

Private lending came out of that need.

With a need in the market that wasn’t being met, private lenders arose to meet that demand.

And they did it with lending products that offered more flexible terms, accessible qualification requirements, and many new options for obtaining small business funding. 

And just like that, a dire situation for business owners turned into a fresh new opportunity with the growth of the private lending industry. 

A word on choosing a reputable private lender for small business loans

At Excel Capital, we value providing quality service. 

We’ve established great long-term relationships with many business owners because we know the secret to business success includes strong customer relations.

Most private lenders understand this and have built reputable brands with high service ratings as well.

But not all private lenders have been kind to their customers. A few, most notably in the beginning of the private lending boom, have been found using predatory practices and shut down.

For that reason alone, but also because you should learn about the lender you’re choosing to work with in general to make sure their solutions fit with your financial goals, it’s important to do your research before deciding what private lender to work with for your small business loan needs. 


Pros and cons of private business loans

Private business loans tend to work a bit differently than traditional bank loans. 

That’s mostly a good thing. However, there are not only pros but also cons to this as well.

Before deciding how you’ll be funding your business capital needs, you should know what those pros and cons are to help you make an informed decision. 

Pros of private business loans

The major overarching pros of private small business loans are:

  • Faster turnaround: Banks are notoriously slow and paperwork is abundant. Not so with private lenders. You can be approved and even funded for most types of private business loans within a matter of days. 
  • Customized funding options: Private business loans is really an umbrella term that refers to many different types of business loans all offered by private lenders. The number of these options are many with several perfectly suited to certain industries. 
  • Flexible terms and qualification requirements: terms are often very flexible for private business loans, with less emphasis put on credit and more on your overall business health. 

Within these points are many positive subpoints such as no hard collateral requirements, little or no credit requirement in many cases, and more convenient terms.

However, each lender is different. Make sure to take time to look at your options and go with the product, lender, and terms that make the most sense for your business and its goals.

Cons of private business loans

When it comes down to it, there really is just one primary con of private business loans: higher rates.

Not all private business loans have higher rates, but most do. That’s for one primary reason: most have different qualification requirements. 

As we touched on a moment ago, private business loans have more flexible terms and qualification requirements. In particular, that means two things:

  • You don’t need great or even good credit to get a private loan.
  • Most business loans through private lenders don’t require hard collateral like bank loans do such as property, a vehicle, or cash savings. 

Those are big positives. However, the flip side of that is many private loan products have higher APRs and shorter loan terms to make up for that increase in risk the lender takes on as a result. 

It’s important to make sure and review any loan contract before signing to make sure that the numbers make sense for you and your business. 

It’s easy for a high APR to become overwhelming. But many private lenders offer fair and competitive APRs, so do your homework before taking that final step. 

How many types of private business loans are there?

Private business loans encompass a whole suite of lending products. 

Some are short-term, some medium, some long. Some offer a one-time lump sum, others a more continuous flow of capital based on your needs. 

And still others are designed specifically for certain types of businesses, including those which invoice their customers.

The more you know about each loan type, the better you’ll be able to identify a funding vehicle that’s the best fit for accomplishing your business goals. 

Here are the main types of private business loans:


Term loans

Term loans are primarily separated into 2 different loan types: short-term and medium-term.

Term loans is a blanket term which refers to virtually every type of private business loan, including:

  1. Unsecured business loans
  2. Business lines of credit
  3. Merchant cash advances
  4. Invoice factoring
  5. Asset-based loans

Learn more about short and medium-term business loans.


Business lines of credit

A business line of credit is a unique lending vehicle that gives you access to a pool of credit that you can tap into whenever you need it.

When you’re approved for a business line of credit, you’re given a credit limit. All you have to do is make sure that you pay off your balance regularly and you’ll be able to continuously tap into it over time.

This makes a business line of credit especially great for seasonal businesses. 

Learn more about business lines of credit.


Financing is an umbrella that includes two main types of funding products: equipment financing and invoice financing: 

Equipment financing

Equipment financing gives you the ability to get the funding you need to finance a vital piece of equipment when you don’t have the cash to get it on hand. 

You’re able to fund the full cost of that piece of equipment with the equipment itself working as collateral as you pay it off at interest. 

Learn more about equipment financing.


Invoice factoring

Invoice financing works similar to equipment financing in that you use one or more (often many) of your business’s invoices as collateral (instead of a piece of equipment) to obtain financing which you then pay off at a specified interest rate. 

Invoice financing is useful as a way to bridge the gap when you have open invoices in your accounts receivable and need to maintain a steadier cash flow, something many businesses suffer from.

Learn more about invoice factoring.


Merchant cash advance

A merchant cash advance is a unique type of business financing in that it uses your daily credit card sales as a form of soft collateral that also determines your loan amount.

You get an amount based on your regular credit and debit card sales which you then pay off with interest by setting up an ACH auto debit straight from your credit card processor each time you batch out. 

MCA’s are flexible in that because you’re paying the loan off at a percent of your credit card sales; when your sales dip so does your loan repayment amount go down. 

Learn more about merchant cash advances.


Hard money lending

Hard money lending is a type of asset-based lending, a type of financing secured by a tangible asset such as a car, property, or liquid asset such as cash savings.

Hard money lending specifically works as a short-term “bridge loan”, named so because it’s designed to help businesses bridge the gap on large projects where the project must be completed before getting paid.

Think hard money lending is the perfect option for your business? See what you could be approved for. 


Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending (also referred to as P2P), is a form of crowdfunding which has become increasingly popular over the past few years. 

With P2P, a group of people come together, typically on a P2P lending platform that facilitates the transaction, and offers a pool of funds to a borrower at interest. 

Learn more about peer-to-peer lending.

Funding your business is easier than ever

No matter what funding vehicle you choose, funding your business is now easier than ever thanks to newer private lending options.

Whether you accept invoices, have high seasonality, need a single lump sum fast, or want something backed by the SBA, you have several options that can fit your specific financial needs.

It was once incredibly difficult to obtain funding for a new or existing business. Then it got even tougher. 

But now, you can be approved for a private small business loan whether you have good or bad credit, little or no collateral, and even if you need that funding within a matter of days.

Take the time to research and review your options to find something that makes the most sense for you and your business.