If you missed our latest Access to Capital event in Chicago, you missed some of the best advice on raising capital available to small business owners. But you’re in luck: we recorded the four panels, scanned each one for excellent quotes, and listed them below. See what experts in various industries recommend you do when looking for capital for your business. And if you want more, catch up expert advice from our first Access to Capital in LA.

Straight Talk: Getting Traditional Loans in Today’s Economy Panel

“It is always a struggle for a lot of entrepreneurs to know ‘when do I bootstrap versus when do I take on capital?’”
Carol Roth 5:37

“If you are really at the beginning stages of starting a business you really have to work with a team of professionals: Your banker, your attorney your lawyer, developing that business plan and really leveraging that to look at your capital needs.”
-David Mika 2:28

“When you see that you’re really putting money in your pocket at the end of the year, you’re growing your costumer base, but what is limiting your ability to succeed even more is the fact that you don’t have that capital, that is the perfect time to make sure you’re engaged with a relationship with a bank or lender that can help you.”
-David Mika 3:05

“DandB’s event is terrific because it gives us that chance to take down that veil of ‘Oh my god, I’m not sure I’m ready for a bank yet or any lender’ and come talk to us because we can help.”
-David Mika 12:36

“You shouldn’t be afraid or scared of the [lending] process. The only way we can be successful as lenders, quite honestly, is if we help you be successful.”
-David Mika 12:04

 “Don’t underestimate the power of the network; it could be your neighbor or your accountant; feel free to approach them”
-Saq Nadeem 17:47

“How much capital do you really need? …You need to understand this before you go to the bank”
-Saq Nadeem 29:00

“Especially in the case of a start up business or the acquisition of an existing business, the first thing you want to do is a feasibility study. For example, for a retail store, how many retail stores like that are in the area?”
-Dottie Overal 5:55

“To begin with you should have a relationship with a bank. So, it starts with that relationship and builds upon that relationship. Understanding that dynamic is important: the bank knows you, understands you, and understands your business and where you’re headed. “
-Jennifer Mariani 8:30

“One of the key challenges for the business owner is understanding that cash flow is very important to your business. How do you demonstrate the revenues that you have…and how does your customer base break down?”
-Jennifer Mariani 8:50

“Be ready to tell your story; be organized around who you are, your experience levels, where you’ve been and where you plan to go.”
-Jennifer Mariani 9:40

“Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, ask a lot of people, ask other business owners.”
-Jennifer Mariani 15:39

“Understand cash flow, and what it means, and what a bank is looking for; and every bank looks for things differently, but all banks look for cash flow.”
-Thomas Hoffman 10:25

“Early in the process start talking with bankers and you’ll be in good shape.”
-Jay Steiner 13:39

“[Bankers] don’t have the corporate check book, you do… we’re looking for the personal guarantee because it is your passion and you have the corporate checkbook.”
-Jay Steiner 23:15

Off the Beaten Path Is Alternative Funding the Route for You Panel 

“We’re really looking for businesses that have a financial need of $25,000 or less… We focus on cash flow… collateral…and thirdly, personal credit. But we’re not score driven, we are really looking at those last 12 months to see what the activity was.”
-Eva Brown 2:30

“No bank would touch building out of a food truck…but because the wife continued to work, they were able to use her employment income as cash flow to service the debt to build out of a food truck “
-Eva Brown 13:00

“[Alternative lenders] really do dig in and understand from a business operation standpoint what you’re doing with the money and how this will translate in the future from a cash flow perspective. We like to describe it as story credit; so we really need a lot of information because ultimately on paper it normally wouldn’t look like a great deal, but if we get that story and the information we can get it to a committee.”
-Eva Brown 19:40

“That credit score is not as important as it used to be… in our minds, we are looking more at business performance.”
-Marc Gorlin 4:11

“Credit should be looked at as a revenue generating asset as opposed to going and buying a TV at Best Buy which depreciates over time; if you can turn it and make money on it, your cost of capital is just the cost of doing business.”
-Marc Gorlin 11:57

“There is nothing more disheartening or troubling to a lender than to have an underwriter or credit officer on the phone with a merchant and ask the business owner basic fundamental questions about their business, and for the business owner not know answers to those questions.”
-Stephen Sheinbaum 23:00

“So many people come to lenders and are afraid to say they’re having a problem…and some people are reluctant to be forthright with what is going on.  You have a problem identify it…that gives the finance company or lender much more comfort in doing a deal.” -Stephen Sheinbaum 23:17

“[Alternative lenders] specialize in meeting the working capital financing needs of businesses that fall into 3 basic categories: Early stage categories, companies that are rapidly growing and outgrowing their capital base and highly leveraged, and companies in a turnaround mode…These companies aren’t able to get sufficient working capital availability through traditional bank financing structures.”
-Justin A. Barr 7:25

“The loan landscape and all the options out there can be pretty confusing and overwhelming to a small business owner.”
-Ami Kassar 9:05

“What we try to do is try to help small business owners figure out the best options, explain the alternatives, make the loan process as transparent as possible and get you the best loans at the best possible prices and we do it nationwide.”
-Ami Kassar 9:38

“It is really really critical not only to get your books, your information and story in order to understand what you want the money for and why and how, and you feel comfortable that you’re going to pay back the loan. Usually when these lenders are asking you questions it is for a good reason.” -Ami Kassar 18:25

“The SBA is like this gray area where sometimes you can get a great deal on a great loan at a great price and save the heavy expense of the alternative financing options. So it’s wise to work it and figure out what your options and alternatives are and figure out what’s best for you. If you can get two options and understand the trade off and what works well for you, then you’re in good shape.”
-Ami Kassar 29:21

Startups Start Here: Strategies from Entrepreneurs Panel

“There are a lot of business plan competitions out there, so you may want to take a look at them because it is an interesting type of financing.”
-Linda Darragh 9:05

“Advisors are really good if they have gone through the same growth period that you want to go through…if someone else on your team has done that and knows the hurdles of that type of growth it’s really important.”
-Linda Darragh 24:48

“If you’re interested in equity, you have to understand who you’re asking money from… And each one of the [equity investors] has a different investment thesis and philosophy. So it’s really important to understand who you’re talking to.
-Mark Achler 1:20

It is important to understand how and what [investors’] sweet spots are, and it’s pretty easy to figure out if you go to the Venture Capital website for a particular firm.”
-Mark Achler 2:20

“A great source to understand the venture capital community is to talk to the CEOs who actually have already gotten funded”
-Mark Achler 17:56

Money is just a commodity; when you take in venture capital you’re also taking in a partner, and you want to make sure you have the same values.”
-Mark Achler 18:40

On what he looks for when investing in a business: “I always look for somebody who is coachable; somebody who is willing to learn and listen.”
-Mark Achler 19:20

“An accelerator is like a 12 week boot camp; it’s competitive, they select maybe 10 companies and give them some cash in return to some equity. Then they pour resources on those companies: mentorship, education, networking, and at the end it cultivates with Demo Day where you pitch in front of investors”
-Sharon Schnieder 4:46

“There is a difference between a small business and a startup”
-Sharon Schnieder 19:42

We hit metrics that investor wanted to see, such as our prototype function at the bench level, figuring out what our FDA regulatory pathway would be, getting a reimbursement strategy… and then we were able to approach some individual angels.”
-Paul Fehrenbacher 8:23

“Seek advice and build those relationship and if you have a good idea and form a team around it, the money will come.”
-Paul Fehrenbacher 21:18

When you write the check you have no idea whether the money is coming back, and you’re also there to help out the company and that is what an angel does.”
-Ira Weiss 9:48

It’s like the old saying,  “You go to look for money and someone gives you advice; you go to someone looking for advice and they give you money. You go in and say “Well I’m not looking for money, I just want your input on my business” and its good to do that and develop a bit of a relationship.”   -Ira Weiss 12:15

“If you’re approaching individual angels, friends and family and someone who knows you – someone who either has worked with you or know you are productive and work hard – those are always good signs. The closer connection you can have to them the closer you can get to ‘yes.’”
-Ira Weiss 26:13

I like to see that people have some friends and family who have invested.”
-Ira Weiss 27:00 

“When investing debt into small business, you’ve got to have cash flow”
-Jonathan Brereton 13:25

“The more focused you are when you go in to talk to a lender, the better the whole process is going to be…Be focused on what you want to do, and what you need the money for, and how much it’s going to cost for a piece of equipment.”
-Jonathan Brereton 22:00

I think the best advice is to surround yourself with like-minded people and people that have done the task that you’re trying to accomplish yourself, having great advisors, not just your lawyers and your CPAs, but advisors in other companies that have scaled a dotcom before and things they’ve overcome, these issues and problems; they’ve stubbed their toes before and they know what to look for and what to watch out for and that is part of the learning process – having wise people around you.”
-Scott Starbuck 23:00

Crowdfunding: What You Need to Know Panel

“The Jobs Act is going to make it legal to engage in investment crowdfunding. What this means is that you’ll be able to go after non-accredited investors.”
-David Carman 6:50

“There are multiple advantages to crowdfunding, the most obvious being it’s a source of capital. It might be your last resort for capital, and it’s also powerful for marketing and to spread the word. It is also a great way to get resources.”
-David Carman 17:00

“I think the great thing about crowdfunding is that it gets you to organize your social media tools. I think having a video is something that every small business should have.”
-Katie Olson 32:05

“The biggest decision you have to make is what do you want to use crowdfunding for. For us, it was A. use the money to build or expand on a product or B. use it as a market test or presale.”
-Len Kendall 9:36

“I think a short term disadvantage but long term advantage [of crowdfunding] is that you put up a campaign and you want to raise $50,000, and you end up raising $2,000.  You very publically have this failure which is a disadvantage…but maybe that is also a revelation that this isn’t the right business to be going into and maybe you just prevented yourself from borrowing hundreds and thousands of dollars, going into debt, those types of things.”
-Len Kendall 21:00

“A market test is more powerful than a 30 page business plan which really is a hypothesis and not an experiment.”
-Len Kendall 22:47

“[Crowdfunding] took a lot of work. It is not a cure all to raise money”
-Len Kendall 29:00

“Guest blogging was really powerful. Writing to websites that already have a built in audience and ask them to talk about a topic that is relevant to their audience but also to yours.”
-Len Kendall 34:50

“The three reasons people contribute are…because they have a personal connection, they like that person, and know them directly. The first 30% comes from your inner circle of friends and family. Second, pride and participation, because they want to support what you’re building and want to tell other people. And third, because what you’re offering in exchange for a contribution.”
-Kate Drane 19:05

“Teams that have 4 or more people raise on average 80% more money…you have a combined power of all of the networks feeding into each other.”
-Kate Drane 30:00

“We found that if you have a campaign with a video you raise on average 114% more money than a campaign that doesn’t. The video doesn’t have to be that snazzy.”
-Kate Drane 31:00

“At the end of the day it’s your ability to sell yourself and your dream and to tell it in a way that is compelling to people to incite them to action.  So it’s more about your authenticity and transparency.”
-Kate Drane 31:26

Want more tips? Here are additional tips from the 2012 Access to Capital.

Watch the complete panels below:

1. Straight Talk: Getting Traditional Loans in Today’s Economy Panel

2. Off the Beaten Path Is Alternative Funding the Route for You Panel 

3. Startups Start Here: Strategies from Entrepreneurs Panel

4. Crowdfunding: What You Need to Know Panel


For other great business tips an advice, join us at tons of great local events! Find out where we’ll be by visiting our events page. Can’t wait to meet you soon!