Business Essentials
Learn About Your Finance Options

Learn About Your Finance Options


Securing financing is critical to the success of your business. And with more options than ever, seeking small business funding, or just understanding what’s out there, can seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.

To help you cut through the noise, we’ve outlined everything you need to get the best financing solution for your business. Whether you’re looking to get a loan fast, understand online options, or learn more about the process, you’ll find it all here.

Ready to find your financing solution? Let’s dive in…

The Biggest Challenges When Applying for Small Business Funding

80 percent of small biz owners struggle to find credible financing solutions

Before we outline the best funding options, let's take a look at the challenges you’re facing when trying to acquire funding now.

First up, many of you are struggling to find funding—80% of respondents to a recent Alignable survey said they had “difficulty” finding credible funding options. 

Here are the reasons, according to the same survey data:

top 3 challenges for finding small business funding

 Other challenges include: 

  • High small business loan application failure rate
  • Insufficient capital
  • Time in business
  • Seasonal industries
  • Type of business
  • COVID-19 impact 

So finding credible loan solutions is not easy. But don’t lose heart. With a little insight, you can overcome the challenges and find the best solution for you. Keep reading to find out how.

Not sure what kind of loan your business needs? Learn all about how business loans work and what types of financing are available to small businesses.

The Best Financing Options for Small Businesses

Top Lending Solutions For Small Businesses

So what is the best source of funding for small businesses? It depends on what type of loan you want, how much money you need, and who you’d like to work with (traditional lenders like banks and credit unions or innovative options like online lenders). 

No matter what you need, there’s an option out there for you. And you can find it right here—we’ve broken down the best loan solutions available, based on our survey data and market research. 

So keep reading to learn about your options, the requirements, and how to start the process. 

Online Lending Innovators 

56 percent of biz owners plan to use online lenders for small business funding | Small Business Funding: A Total Guide to Financing Options

Want a simpler way to get a loan fast? Try online loan solutions. They provide exact lender matches, easy navigation for beginners, faster cash flow turnaround, virtual support, and access to a broader span of credible lending options. 

Here are the latest and greatest online loan solutions available. Check out their sites to learn more and see if they’re the right fit for your business.

Lendio: Best for Comparing Various Lender Options 

Lendio is a one-stop shop for finding business loans online. Acting as a matchmaker for lenders and business owners, you simply put in your business details and loan needs, and they’ll connect you with the best options. 

Want to give Lendio a try? Qualify for free using this dedicated landing page for Alignable members

Here’s how it works

Fill out a 15-minute online application with general business information, and Lendio will match you to the right loan type and lender options for your business. 

Their dedicated funding managers will help you weigh the pros and cons of each option and walk you through the process from start to finish. Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to access the capital in as little as 24 hours. 

What are the benefits? 

  • Simple process: Lendio simplifies the overall loan process and finds the best financing options for your business, saving you time. Plus there’s no cost to use their services.
  • Easy application: The application takes less than 15 minutes and asks for information you can easily provide. You also don’t need collateral or a high credit score.
  • Credible network: They have a network of 75+ credible lenders providing the best rates for your business. So you can quickly and easily compare your options. 
  • No Cost: There’s no charge for you to use this solution. 

What are the limitations? 

  • Speed: Funds can take longer to hit your bank account 
  • Qualifications: You must meet the minimum qualifications 


Min. Amount$500 Max. Amount$5,000,000Loan Term1 to 25 yearsMin. Credit Score560APRStarting at 6%Time in BusinessMinimum of 6 months Minimum Revenue$10,000 monthly Location Operate a business in the U.S. or Canada 

Fundbox: Best for Quick & Flexible Access To Cash 

Fundbox helps small businesses grow by making access to credit simple, secure, fast, and transparent. If approved, Fundbox can provide access up to $150,000. Rather than requiring paperwork, Fundbox connects directly to your finances and provides you with qualified credit line options. 

Want to give Fundbox a try? Receive $100 off Fundbox fees.

Here’s how it works: 

Apply for credit in two easy steps by going to Alignable's dedicated Fundbox landing page. First, share some basic information about your company. Second, connect business accounts like your bank account and accounting software. 

If approved, draw funds anytime. They’ll transfer to your account as soon as the next business day. You’ll always see your fees beforehand. Only pay when you draw funds. You’ll pay in equal installments over the course of your 12 or 24 week plan. Your available credit replenishes as you pay. There's no penalty to repay early.

What are the benefits? 

  • Manage accounts receivables: Smooth out cash flow while you wait for your customers to pay
  • Invest in growth: Use your funds to hire new staff, run a marketing campaign, or make a large purchase
  • Cover payroll: Never worry about paying your team—whatever the timing of other expenses

What are the limitations? 

  • Qualifications: You must meet the minimum qualifications 
  • Max. Cash Flow Amount: Can’t exceed $150,000 


Min. Amount$1,000 Max. Amount$150,000Loan Term12 weeks - 24 weeks Min. Credit Score600 APRNot stated Time in BusinessMinimum of 6 months RevenueMinimum of $100,000

Accion Opportunity Fund: Best for Entrepreneurs of Color, Immigrants, and Women 

Accion Opportunity Fund is a leading national non-profit small business lender serving underfunded entrepreneurs and communities, especially those of color, immigrants, and women. They connect you to affordable lending options, educational resources, business coaching, and networks based on your business needs and financial situation. 


Min. Amount$5,000Max. Amount$100,000Loan Term12 to 60 months w/ no penalty paymentMin. Credit Score600 APRNot stated Time in BusinessMinimum of 1 yearRevenue$50,000+ Other RequirementsLocated in all states except: Montana, Vermont, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, and District of Columbia

Traditional Lenders

Not sure if you want to go the online route? Here are the best options for traditional bank loans.

Local and Regional Banks and Credit Unions 

If you want to opt for a bank loan, choose regional and community banks. They’re the best traditional financing options for small businesses that can qualify. They offer an easy qualification process, personalized customer service, and strong accountability to business owners. 

However, when compared to online loan solutions, you may need to wait longer to receive your cash, and it’s harder to qualify. 

How do I find the right bank? 

Reach out to a local bank you already have a relationship with, even if it’s just a checking account. Not connected with a local bank yet? Check out Alignable’s ratings and reviews page to view the highest-rated banks in your area. 

How does it work? 

Most banks require you to have good credit, substantial revenue, enough time in business, collateral, and an existing relationship with them like a business checking account. Of course, the requirements depend on the loan amount you need. 

You can use a platform like Lendio to provide and compare options for qualified banks based on your financing needs. 

What are the benefits? 

  • Personalized customer service: You can establish a more personal relationship with your local bank because they’re in your community.
  • Lower fees: Local banks typically have lower ATM and monthly fees. 
  • Flexible lending: Having a strong relationship with your bank can lead to more flexible financing opportunities. They also have fewer restrictions. 

What are the limitations? 

  • Smaller loans: Typically, they can’t offer higher loan amounts. 
  • Stability: Local banks have a higher chance of going under, which could put your finances at risk. 
  • Limited locations: If your operations go outside of your local community, you might struggle to access your bank from other locations.

SBA Loan Programs (U.S.)

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are another excellent financing option for small business owners. The SBA works with local and regional banks to guarantee these loans, which means your business doesn’t need perfect credit to secure one. And because these loans are backed by the SBA, lenders are more likely to approve them. 

How do I find a bank that offers SBA loans? 

1. Find an SBA-approved list of lenders in your area. 

2. Reach out to them to start the process.

3. Consider using an online marketplace like Lendio or Biz2Credit. Doing so reduces the amount of paperwork and allows you to apply for an SBA loan online. They also partner you with a personal funding manager to help you through the process.

What are the general eligibility requirements? 

The SBA offers many types of loans, so please check the requirements for the loan you need before applying. Here are some general guidelines.

  • Your business must operate for profit. 
  • You must do business in the U.S. or its territories. 
  • You must have reasonable owner equity to invest.
  • You must use alternative financial resources, including personal assets, before seeking financial assistance.

What are the benefits? 

  • Buying power: There’s a lot of flexibility with the loan amount the SBA can offer. 
  • Low-interest rate: Since these are guaranteed loans, the interest rates are lower than standard bank loans. 
  • More likely to qualify: Businesses that are not approved for traditional loans could qualify. 

What are the limitations? 

  • Required collateral: You’re required to have collateral.
  • Finding a bank: It can be difficult to find the right bank to approve your loan. That’s why online services like Lendio can help.
  • Rejection: The application rejection rate is high.

Major Money Centers 

While big banks like Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Chase can be appealing options, you should understand how they stack up against other solutions. 

First, big banks are not set up to easily approve small business loans, and they typically come with higher fees, longer and more complex application processes, and lack of personal customer service support. However, if you perform transactions in other countries, have an excellent credit score, and are not worried about budget, big banks might work for you. 

What are the benefits? 

  • Accessibility: Big banks have thousands of locations, ATMs, and mobile banking options, making it easy to access cash. 
  • Additional services: You’ll have access to more than just bank accounts and loans. 
  • Technology: They come with better electronic resources such as online and mobile banking. 

What are the limitations? 

  • Stricter regulations: It’s much harder to get a loan if your business is new or if you have a low credit score. Plus they typically do not factor in crisis situations. 
  • Increased fees
  • Less personal customer service: It’s more difficult to build personal relationships with customer support teams and harder to access them. 

Other Innovators in Small Business Funding 

Aside from online lenders and marketplaces, here's another company that's taking small business funding to the next level.


The SMBX is a cutting-edge financial marketplace that connects qualified small business owners with everyday investors. By issuing a Small Business Bond™, businesses can borrow money from existing customers, their communities, and institutional investors at competitive rates, raising the funds needed to expand their business while increasing customer loyalty.

Investors receive principal and interest payments into their bank account monthly keeping the small business top of mind.

Want to give SMBX a try? Receive $100 off fees.

smbx alignable offer

How does it work?

Businesses can raise money by issuing Small Business Bonds™ on the SMBX Marketplace. SMBX completes the paperwork, the business reviews it, and SMBX files it with the SEC. The business then makes monthly fixed payments so it knows exactly what to expect for its cash flow.

The SMBX marketing team works with the Bond-issuing business to drive investment through multi-channel marketing efforts at no cost to the business.


Min. Amount$25,000Max. Amount$5 million Loan Term1 - 10 years Min. Credit ScoreN/AAPR4% - 10%Time in BusinessMinimum of 6 months Other RequirementsMust be located in the U.S. - Preliminary debt/loan asset documents required 

Tips to Help You Find the Small Business Funding You Need

Finding small business financing is hard, but we’re working behind the scenes to make it easier for you. Here are some resources to help.

Join Groups

Join members like you in related groups. Ask your top financing questions and share what you’ve learned along the way.

Attend events

Join us for upcoming events featuring financing options and education to help you make the best choice for your business.

Ask experts

Ask your most pressing questions about small business funding to a group of experts to get trusted advice when you need it most.

No matter what your financing needs, we hope you find the best solution for you. So go build your best business and let us know how we can help. 


About The Author

Bailey Preusse