Ways to Finance Your Business

Financing Options

Business financing can come in the form of Grants, “bootstrapping”, crowdsourcing, investors, sales, and loans.

When you are ready to do a break-even analysis, SCORE has a template. Or, read up on how to compute a break-even analysis at Harvard Business Review or at The Balance Small Business


Develop a Pitch Deck

A "pitch deck" is a "deck" of slides that make up a short presentation intended to pitch your business, service, or product. Check out Forbes or PitchDeckExamples.com to learn more.  



Finance your business yourself with your savings, credit, home equity loans, help from friends and family members, or by going out and getting sales.



Crowdsourcing allows business owners and people with an idea to raise funds and get capital to take their business or idea to the next level. Visit a crowdsourcing website or watch a Lynda.com expert explain Crowdfunding below.



Learn more about crowdfunding at SCORE.org.

Government Grants

Please note that no government program will ever charge a fee in exchange for access to information about an available grant. The chances of a small for-profit business winning a government grant today are small. Grants are most often available to non-profits or educational organizations.

If you are interested in finding government grant money, try these websites first.





Grants from the State of Illinois are generally not available to business startups.


Some state financing might exist through programs such as Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME), Advantage Illinois, Illinois Finance Authority, and the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office.


For any additional questions, contact the Illinois DCEO via phone at 312.814.7179.

See other financial incentive programs for small businesses at Lake County Partners

Find an Investor


Angel Capital Association

ACA can be a resource to entrepreneurs and business startups through business monitoring, connections to consumers and funders, and a wealth of experience.

Visit the national chapter website at https://www.angelcapitalassociation.org or the Cornerstone Angels, based in Northbrook, at http://www.cornerstoneangels.com.

Learn more about how Angel investors operate from the YouTube series This Week in Startups:



Find a venture capitalist investor

A venture capitalist firm looks for new business startups with high growth potential.

Watch Forbes explain venture capitalism funding:



View the top 12 venture capitalist firms in Chicago here.


What’s the difference between venture capitalism and angels? Watch Jay Adelson answer:





Banks need to see your business plan and, more specifically, the seven C’s:

  • Conditions – What kind of loan is the borrower asking for? How much money needs to be borrowed?
  • Credit – What is the borrower’s credit rating?
  • Cash – How much cash will the borrower put into the business, and how much needs to be loaned? Also, the financial officer will want to see a cash analysis balance sheet.
  • Competence – What type of business is going to be established? What trends exist in its industry? What competitors exist? The purpose of the loan is clear, and the borrower appears reliable and trustworthy. Additionally, the borrower must have the authority to borrow the money.
  • Capital – What is the current financial state of the business? What is its net worth?
  • Collateral – What collateral does the borrower offer to the bank in case the loan can’t be paid back?
  • Control – What economic fluctuation and legal matters might affect this loan?


The Small Business Administration (SBA) can support your effort to get a loan with their articles, webinars, resources, and loan-backing program. However, they do not loan the money themselves. View “The ABC’s of Borrowing” from the SBA.

For more information on how to finance a business, contact