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Business Funding: The Best Ways to Fund Your Business in 2020


What are the types of small business funding?

There are several different types of small business funding, from short-term and long-term options to others designed for recurring funding needs.

Here are 5 ways to fund your small business:

1. Business line of credit

A business line of credit is one of the most flexible types of business funding. 

That’s because, as opposed to a single lump sum, it gives you access to a pool of cash which you can tap into again and again provided you pay down your balance each time. 

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: A business line of credit gives you a recurring pool of funds you can tap into whenever you need it.
  • Con: Business lines of credit, due to their recurring nature, tend to have lower limits. 

Learn more about business lines of credit.

2. Term loans

A term loan is a single lump sum of money borrowed either on a short-term or long-term repayment term,

Short-term loans are often used as a quick method of obtaining a small amount needed for emergencies such as sudden expenses, payroll, or a rush order late in a busy season. 

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Good for a quick sum of cash needed for emergency expenses. 
  • Con: They often have higher interest rates compared to other funding options. 

Learn more about term loans.

3. Merchant cash advance

With a merchant cash advance, you sell a portion of your future credit card sales to obtain a lump sum, which you then pay back through your daily credit card sales. 

These are particularly great if you do primarily credit card transactions on a daily basis as the amount you can borrow is based on that amount. 

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: They’re a great way to obtain funding if you accept regular credit card sales but you don’t have the credit to be approved for a traditional lending option like a business loan. 
  • Con: Rates tend to be higher than most funding options. 

Learn more about merchant cash advances.

4. SBA loan

Offered by lenders working in conjunction with the SBA or Small Business Administration, an SBA loan isn’t a single product but several different small business funding options. 

SBA loans are unique, however, in that a portion of the loan is guaranteed to the lender. That’s great for the lender, but how does that help you? 

Because a portion of each SBA loan is guaranteed, lenders are often able to offer SBA loans with reduced interest rates, passing a portion of that savings off to you. They’re also more likely to work with businesses that have bad credit, making approval easier. 

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Typically better rates and easier approval than traditional bank loans.
  • Con: Paperwork tends to be more complicated as it must pass through a second party (the SBA), so approval can take considerably longer than other funding options. 

Learn more about SBA loans.

5. Invoice factoring

Similar to how a merchant cash advance works, with invoice factoring, you sell part or all of your accounts receivable in exchange for a sum of cash based on the total amount (often 95%).

This type of funding is useful for those who are wary of offering collateral, as the invoices themselves are used as collateral for the advance. 

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: An alternative form of funding for business owners who don’t have great credit or accept regular credit card sales, and have a sizeable accounts receivable. 
  • Con: The company which provides the advance takes over the collection of the invoices, which may not be preferable in terms of customer relations. 

Learn more about invoice factoring.

Complete our online application and see how much you can be approved for: Apply Now

Where can I get business funding?

Similar to the different ways you can fund your business, there are different places where you can get that funding. 

Here are the 6 main places to get funding for your small business: 

1. Banks

The traditional funding source, banks still make up a large portion of the small business funding market, even if many alternative avenues have begun to offer competitive or in some cases more favorable terms.

Banks have security on their side, with loans often insured by the FTC, but for newer businesses especially they’re notoriously hard to be approved for and approval is a lengthy process. 

2. Credit unions

Similar to banks, credit unions differ in two major ways: 

  • You can get better rates at local credit unions
  • You often must join or be a part of that credit union to obtain funding from it

If joining your local credit union isn’t a problem, it could be a good option as rates tend to be lower than traditional bank loans. 

3. The Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA, as mentioned earlier, offers several funding options through lenders. So, in most cases, you’re not really obtaining funding directly from the SBA but through an SBA-approved lender. 

However, the approval process can be quite difficult compared to other alternative funding methods, more comparable to a bank loan but without quite the same wait time. 

4. Crowdfunding

A popular way to fund most small business ventures over the past decade, crowdfunding feels new in terms of traditional lending methods, but we have a much longer history of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer funding than any type of formal business funding. 

Crowdfunding gives you the ability to acquire the money you need to launch a new business, product, or grow. However, historically it works only for one of a dozen or so industries including artistic pursuits, hand-made goods, games, books, and unique inventions among others. 

It can also take considerable work implementing a marketing campaign and there’s no guarantee that you’ll reach your funding goal. 

5. Grants

Grants are a lesser-known but useful option for funding your business. 

You need to qualify for a grant, and they’re not available to every type of business, be it an industry, size, or based on some other specification such as being a veteran or woman-owned business. 

However, if you do qualify, they’re a way of potentially obtaining funding for your business often entirely for free. 

6. Alternative lending

Alternative lending has exploded over the past decade as one of the most prominent forms of online business funding, often being the first or second place that small business owners look outside traditional bank loans (which many business owners don’t apply for, which credit score requirements often at 720 score or higher).

The two primary benefits of alternative lending options are:

  • They don’t typically require good credit (even bad credit is acceptable for many options), and
  • They don’t require any collateral

However, to offset the potential loss from approving businesses without perfect credit, rates tend to be higher for most alternative funding options.

Fund your small business with Excel Capital

You have more options than ever before to fund your small business ventures.

At Excel Capital, we offer several options for business owners who have bad credit or are lacking other elements that would typically deny them approval for a traditional loan.

Whether it’s:

  • A business line of credit that offers you a flexible cushion during a slow season or the extra funds you need to stock product before a busy one
  • A single lump sum to handle an emergency expense, or
  • A merchant cash advance you can pay off on convenient terms that adjust as your sales rise and dip

We have an option that’s a perfect match for your financing needs. 

If approved, you can get exactly what you need to grow your business, make that key investment, or keep things moving along smoothly without skipping a beat. 

Learn how much you can be approved for:

Complete our online application and see how much you can be approved for: Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get small business funding?

There are many places you can obtain funding for your small business, including:

– Banks
– Credit unions
– The SBA (through approved lenders)
– Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending
– Grant programs
– And alternative lending

How can I get my small business funded? 

Traditionally, you need to be approved for a bank loan to get business funding. Today, that’s no longer the case. To get funding for a small business with alternative lending, you don’t need great credit or collateral. All you need in most cases is:

– You’ve been in business for 6+ months 
– $10,000+ monthly revenue
– And your business is generally in good standing (no bankruptcies, etc.) 

How do small businesses get funded with bad credit?

If you don’t have good credit, not to worry! Many alternative lenders now offer funding options that don’t require good credit. Other options such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer funding, and business grants are also viable as well. 

6 Ways to Market Your Small Business


Are you at a loss about how to market your small business online?

Have you looked through countless pages, read about a hundred different marketing strategies, and you feel no closer to know what you should actually do with your time and marketing budget?

You’re not alone.

The Internet is filled with marketing suggestions. “101 marketing ideas” this and “1,000 marketing ideas” that. 

They sound impressive, but the truth is, most of it is just noise.

(A lot of it outdated or just plan incorrect noise, by the way.)

No, you probably shouldn’t look at some obscure guerilla marketing tactic as a go-to marketing activity. And no, getting business cards isn’t marketing. 

Top 6 Ways to Market Your Small Business Online

It’s not surprising that the main challenge for most companies is simply getting enough eyeballs on their brand, according to a recent HubSpot survey:


Digital, or online, marketing is still pretty new, so most companies have yet to figure things out. 

And yet, you only have so much budget to allocate to marketing, so you need to figure out what works and it needs to be cost-effective (see challenge #3). 

That’s why we’ve organized this list of the top 6 ways to market your business online. 

These are the pillars of online marketing and where you should consider placing your time and money; everything else is just noise or novel marketing tactics that have a low chance of working or are only effective for a small number of industries.

Here are the top 6 ways to market your small business online. 

1. Create high-value SEO blog posts

According to Net Marketshare, Google is responsible for 94% of the entire Internet’s organic traffic. Think about that for a second. 

For most businesses, SEO is the foundation of their online traffic.

It’s no surprise, then, that 61% of marketers say that improving their SEO and growing their search traffic is their top priority.

Whether it’s through:

  • High-value blog posts
  • Useful and brief how-to or informational YouTube videos, or
  • Sharable resources such as infographics

For most businesses the single most important investment is SEO.

2. Start a podcast 

Why is starting a podcast on an article about marketing? 

Because what most businesses still don’t realize is iTunes, and other podcast directories, are their own kind of search engine

Why does that matter?

Because according to Music Oomph, 32% of the U.S. population listens to podcasts monthly. 

And that number is growing– fast

Podcasts are popular, really popular, and they’re a great way for most businesses to connect with their ideal customer.

For example, take a method Gary V. often suggests: if you’re B2B, make an industry-relevant podcast marketed specifically at your customers that offers tips, news, and interviews experts in the space. Chances are, no one in your space is doing it and, over time, you’ll become the go-to expert in your industry.

But you can create that same kind of effect for most industries, even if you’re not B2B. 

If you sell a supplement or some kind of health food, start a podcast geared toward your ideal customer that interviews health experts. 

Your audience will be your target customer, whom you can then direct to your product or service in ad spots throughout your podcast, podcast description, various links, and through the general increase in brand awareness. 

3. Run a giveaway

Everyone loves a good giveaway. After all, with a minute of their time and for free– often just their email– they have a chance of getting something cool!

Since bursting onto the online marketing scene, giveaways have remained a powerful marketing strategy that virtually any brand can take advantage of one way or another. 

Like this example from Pajamas for Peace:

And the best part is, sites like Rafflecopter and RafflePress make it super easy to create giveaways online in a matter of minutes.


Just make sure your giveaway includes items that are relevant to your brand’s service or product (or even includes your product(s) like the example above). 

Too often companies run giveaways with iPads or something else impressive that has nothing to do with their brand, only to get a bazillion emails of people that really weren’t interested in their product and just wanted a free iPad. 

As a result, those new leads are low quality and the giveaway was a bust. Run a giveaway with something highly relevant to your brand and you’ll attract leads that are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. 

4. Scale online ads

Online advertising on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and in Google searches is wildly popular among businesses, and for good reason.


Digital advertising is known for being extremely profitable when done right and a reliable way to attract a consistent flow of quality leads. 

The only problem with digital advertising, especially when considering that most of the items on this list require a very low investment, is that it’ll cost you. 

However, the good news is that even if you don’t have a massive ad budget, virtually all ad platforms offer starter coupons (often as high as $100) you can use to start generating leads right away with little or not investment of your own capital. 

That way, you can get a feel for how digital ads work, find out what converts for you, and start running a small campaign as you continue to test conversion rates and build up from there. 

5. Snag media attention with a unique product or 

This is probably the most unique point on this list, and not a surefire method, but it’s common enough and powerful, warranting it as a marketing effort every business should at least consider.

Getting your business featured by the media is a big deal, as a single good media plug can mean hundreds, or even thousands, of new customers for your company.

There are different ways to do this, from simply sending out a press release when you launch your product to sending out requests for segments on local news programs to using a service like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to try and get yourself quoted in print and digital platforms.

Typically, this method works best when your product or service has some uniqueness to it. Is your product or service fresh or does it offer an interesting twist on something classic? Does your business operate in some new and interesting way, or do something odd? 

Anything out of the ordinary is cause for getting featured and typically the best route if you’re considering using this method.

6. Build an email list 

Email is still the undisputed king of digital advertising.

And it makes sense why. Social is powerful for businesses, but conversion rates are often low and it’s a better audience and lead nurturing platform than it is at attracting new leads and customers. 

For most of us, our social feed is crowded and we treat messages more as public announcements than anything.

However, email is a private, intimate message from one person to another. 

Email is a quasi-sacred space where you receive personal messages from colleagues, peers, family, and friends. If you can get into someone’s inbox, you’re in good company, and they’re much more likely to listen to what you’re selling. 

Sure, you need to get them on your email list first before you can market your products or services to them, which is why we included it at the end of this list. 

However, doing that is easier than ever with tools like Mailchimp and ConvertKit offering free plans to start with everything from opt-in form and landing page templates to advanced tag functionality to help qualify your leads with ease. 

Get out there and market!

Marketing your business online is easier than ever, though it can be really hard figuring out what exactly the best ways are for doing that.

There’s a ton of advice online about this and that tactic, but many strategies quickly become outdated or aren’t useful for all industries.

However, the points we covered today work for every industry across the board, almost all are low-investment, and evergreen. In other words, they’re not going away anytime soon. 

So, get out there and start marketing your business!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you create a marketing strategy for a small business? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for crafting an effective marketing strategy. But here are some tips:

  • Think about your goals: What do you want to accomplish? Your strategy should be designed around that. 
  • Think about when you want to accomplish those goals: Some strategies are more long-term (see: SEO, email). If you have a Kickstarter coming up soon, you might rather focus on getting some traction on social and through the media. 
  • Think about what works for your industry: Social isn’t great at attracting leads for every industry, so don’t feel obligated to include it there if it’s better reserved for lead nurturing. 

What is the best way to market a business?

It all depends on what you’re marketing. 

Typically, you want your marketing efforts to be evergreen. That means it’s not a one-time or fad method that you won’t be able to replicate.

It’s also best to think about how you’re building an audience, by offering a place where your current customers and fans can meet for all things related to your brand, such as your social accounts, regular emails, blog, or podcast. 

Any of these channels offer a recurring form of marketing that is much easier to maintain and can generate a recurring flow of leads with low investment compared to traditional advertising. 

Patriot Software Review: How Good is Patriot for Small Business Accounting?


What is Patriot software?

There is –a lot– of small business accounting software out there. 

Don’t take our word for it. 

Actually, scratch that. Take a look at these:

Clearly, we’ve written a thing or two about accounting software in the past and there are some great ones. 

So, how do Patriot Software solutions stack up? 

Chances are you’ve heard about Patriot somewhere and you’re wondering if the software is comparable to other accounting tools like Quickbooks, Quicken, and Ultipro 

Patriot accounting software is a payroll and human resource management software that helps with various small business accounting tasks.

There’s a lot that it can do, including virtually all the basic accounting tasks you’d hope for in a small business accounting tool, but like all software, it has its cons as well.

So, for this official Patriot Software review, let’s start by digging into Patriot’s features first to see what it has to offer– and whether it’s right for your business. 


Patriot Software: Features

All the Patriot Software solutions taken together include virtually all the basic and somewhat more advanced features you’d want in a small business accounting tool.

Features include:

  • Payroll reports
  • Check printing
  • Direct deposits
  • State and federal tax management

The software also offers personal portals for employees wishing to see the status of upcoming deposits and print W2s among other things.

There isn’t currently any mobile app available, but the website is responsive on mobile and easy enough to use. 

Patriot, who offers several small business software solutions, also set up integration between their tools such as their Patriot TIME software which tracks employee time and Patriot HR for more comprehensive personnel tracking. 

However, keep in mind that each of those will add to the price, though Patriot still remains even then comparable to the other more “all-in-one” HR software solutions. 

And any decent accounting software is about much more than just their basic features, but that’s especially true for Patriot. 

So, let’s talk about the pros and cons of the software as a whole.

Patriot Software review: Pros and cons 

Patriot has several unique pros without many cons.

Here they are: 

Pro: Amazing support

One of the prime features of Patriot Software isn’t the software at all, but the support. 

Patriot is known for having stellar, industry-leading support. 

Not only does support respond promptly, Patriot, like several other competitors, but also makes experts available to you for support in setting up pretty much anything. 

This can be especially helpful if you’ve never done something like payroll before which often requires an accountant’s special knowledge to do right. 

Even if you’ve never used accounting software in your life, Patriot makes it easy to get everything set up by making experts available to you at every step of the way. 

Pro: They also offer help with setup

Beyond getting help from an expert, if you’re the kind of person who likes to do things themselves, Patriot has something for you as well.

They have an extensive, dedicated setup wizard. But the wizard isn’t tucked away, hidden in the menu or some obscure settings page. 

Rather, the wizard pops right out when you sign up and walks you through everything step-by-step. 

Pro: Has virtually every feature you could ever want

If you include their extensive list of add-ons through their other offerings, Patriot offers a wide range of small business accounting tools and features, pretty much everything you could ever want.

Payroll? Accounting? Direct deposits? Time tracking? All check, check, and check. 

With that said you’ll have to pay…

Con: Price can get high with add-ons

Patriot Software’s pricing is comparable to any accounting software. 

However, due mainly to the fact that they separate their Patriot software for accounting and Patriot software payroll solution into different products, once you add on everything extra you need– let’s say, payroll and time tracking with Patriot TIME– the price is no longer cheap. At least, compared to other solutions.

Con: Not for businesses with 100+ employees

One of the only major cons of Patriot is that it’s designed specifically for small businesses with <100 employees. 

If you have more than 100 employees, you’ll need to use something like Quickbooks, which is built for scale. 

However, for most small businesses, this is a complete non-issue. 

How much does Patriot Software cost?

Now to what is arguably the most important question of all: how much does Patriot Software payroll and accounting solutions cost?

The good news is, if you’re in need of one specific feature Patriot will be about the same price (possibly even cheaper) as other accounting solutions. 

The bad news is, as we mentioned earlier, features add up quickly.

Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  • Patriot Accounting Basic: $15
  • Patriot Accounting Premium: $22.50
  • Patriot Basic Payroll: $10 
  • Patriot Full-Service Payroll: $30

*+$4/Employee for all versions of Patriot Accounting/Payroll.

Add-ons exist for both time tracking and contractor/vendor management, the former being $5 / month and the latter $10.

Patriot accounting software alternatives

Patriot accounting software offers everything most small businesses need in accounting software. However, there are several other alternatives that offer unique features and/or competitive pricing.

They are: 



QuickBooks is the single more feature-rich accounting software. If you need a rare set of features of just like a ton of the extra features it offers, it could be for you.

It’s ideal for businesses who are growing quickly and want something that fits them now while still be perfectly suited to grow with you. 

Check out QuickBooks.



If an accounting software that’s simultaneously a great personal finance tool in one sounds good to you, Quicken may be the best option for you. 

However, it’s not as feature-rich as Patriot or Quickbooks and generally falls a bit behind them in terms of purely accounting features. 

Check out Quicken.



Our final option, Ultipro is another feature-rich accounting software, though this offers even more complex features that even Quickbooks can’t rich.

Having said that, Ultipro balances it out with a much higher price tag than your average accounting software. It’s also know for being somewhat difficult to use. 

So, if you’re a larger company that needs some high-level feature, it may be the right choice for you.

Check out Ultipro. 

What is the best payroll software?

There is no strictly “best” accounting software.

However, there may be one that’s a better fit for you than the others.

For one, most accounting software is of comparable price. Ultipro is one of the few examples of costlier accounting software. However, it’s because of their rich list of features. If you’re a larger company and you’re in need of some of the features they offer that most accounting software doesn’t, they’re likely a good fit for you.

If you don’t need any snazzy features and you’re a business of one (or a few), something like Freshbooks or Patriot might be the better option for you. 

And if you have a small or medium-sized team and simpler accounting software like Freshbooks no longer cuts it, Quickbooks may be the perfect fit. 

Patriot Software review summary: Is it good?

It’s true that the accounting software space is filled with great solutions (and others that are not so great).

Even so, Patriot stands as one of the premier accounting solutions for small businesses of less than 100 employees. 

If you’re in need of your first small business accounting software, or you’re not happy with your and are considering a switch, Patriot is a great option to check out that can serve pretty much all basic small business accounting needs. 

It can get a bit costly when you start throwing in add-ons, so be sure to shop around and compare price vs. features. But as a basic accounting or payroll software, it’s comparable to many of the best. 

And don’t forget to check out our other guides on small business accounting: