How to Finance Your Marketing Expenses

Fomo is affordable for most users, especially considering there is a quick turnaround to ROI and it's a monthly subscription. Yet, whether you run a small business, an ecommerce company, or a startup, financing all of your marketing expenses can be tricky.

If you’re ready to invest serious marketing dollars to run a PR campaign, pay for expensive ads, or hire new team members, here are some tips for raising capital to fund further growth.

Revenue-Based Financing

With revenue-based financing, investors provide you with a certain amount of upfront capital and receive a percentage of your company’s ongoing gross revenues. The investors keep getting a share of your company’s revenues until you have paid them a predetermined amount of money.

The biggest benefit of revenue-based financing is that it’s non-dilutive. This means that you don’t give up any equity when you raise it.

Some of the revenue-based financing firms you can work with are:

  • Stripe Capital

    With Stripe Capital, you can access growth funding fast. Stripe uses your account history to determine your eligibility for a loan. If they approve you for one, you receive the funds the next day.

    Stripe charges you a flat fee for giving you a loan, and they take a percentage of your sales through the platform until you’ve repaid the total owed. It’s that simple.

  • Shopify Capital

    Shopify Capital lets ecommerce store owners raise debt financing fast for payroll, inventory, and marketing expenses.

    To get started, you complete a brief application. Next, if you get approved for a loan, you receive your funds within a few days. Finally, you return the funding you’ve received by paying Shopify a percentage of your sales.

    Shopify Capital is very similar to Stripe Capital except it’s focused on the ecommerce market.

  • Lighter Capital

    You can raise up to $3M of revenue-based debt financing through Lighter Capital. It’s another great way to finance your marketing and growth expenses without giving up equity.

    Lighter Capital only funds tech companies based in the United States, Canada, or Australia that have at least $15,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

  • Clearco

    Clearco offers three types of funding: ClearAngel (early stage companies can get access to capital and advice); ClearCapital (ecommerce companies can get capital for ad spend or inventory); and, ClearRunway (SaaS companies can raise non-dilutive funding based on the amount of MRR they have).

    Clearco funds companies in a similar way to the other funding options described above. To receive funding from it, you connect your sales accounts and select an offer, then receive your funding, and finally return it as a percentage of your sales.

Venture Capital

Investopedia defines venture capital as follows:

Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential.

To simplify this definition, VC is a type of financing where investors give your company money in exchange for equity in it. There are thousands of VC firms around the world.

They don’t just want to fund startups with “long-term growth potential.” They also want to fund companies with fast growth potential. If you don’t plan to grow your business as fast and as big as possible, then you should not raise venture capital.

If you do want to turn your company into a rocketship, then you should consider raising VC to fund your growth and operating expenses. With venture capital, you’ll be able to invest in more marketing and growth employees who can test new paid and organic channels.

For an introduction to raising VC for your startup, we recommend the Holloway Guide to Raising Venture Capital.

Below we’ve put together an Airtable database with about two hundred earlyt-stage VC firms to help you start your search for investors.

Small Business Administration Loans

In the United States, the Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees loans made through specific programs to small businesses. These loans, often referred to as “SBA loans,” typically have friendlier terms than other types of business credit.

How do they work? The SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses but doesn’t actually lend the money itself. Instead, they reduce risk for lenders by guaranteeing the loans.

There are three different types of SBA loans, two of which are likely relevant to funding your company’s marketing expenses:

  1. 7(a) loans - This type of loan is the SBA’s most common funding option. The maximum loan amount under this program is $5 million and you can use funding from it for business real estate purchases, short- and long-term working capital, refinancing current business debt, and purchasing furniture, fixtures, and supplies.
  2. Microloans - Businesses can raise up to $50,000 through SBA microloans. In this program, the average loan amount is about $13,000. You have to apply for this loan through “specially designated intermediary lenders,” which are non-profit community-based organizations that have experience in lending, management, and technical assistance. You can use proceeds from an SBA microloan to pay for marketing expenses.
  3. 504 loans - This SBA loan program “provides long-term, fixed rate financing of up to $5 million for major fixed assets that promote business growth and job creation.” You cannot use a 504 loan for working capital, which means you can’t use it to fund your marketing campaigns.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards can be another great way to fund your company’s growth and marketing expenses. What are the advantages of business credit cards? They include:

  • Even if you have bad credit, you may be able to get approval for one.
  • Many business credit cards provide cash back or welcome bonuses that allow you to earn back some percentage of your business spending.
  • Some business credit cards have an introductory 0% APR period. This fact means you can fund your marketing expenses on a credit card for some period of time without incurring interest.

The main drawback of business credit cards is that they can have high APRs. Most credit cards have at least a 15% APR, which means interest can add up fast.

To find the right credit card for your company, we recommend checking out this guide from NerdWallet.

Business Line of Credit

A business line of credit is a type of small business loan where you can borrow as needed up to your credit limit. These loans typically range from $1,000 - $250,000.

You can use a business line of credit to manage cash flow, pay for unexpected expenses, and fund your company’s marketing and growth.

To qualify for a line of credit, you will typically need to be in business for at least six months and have at least $25,000 in annual revenue. To learn more about business lines of credit and to see possible vendors for one, check out this post on NerdWallet.

Choosing The Right Funding Options for Your Business’s Marketing Expenses

How you fund your company’s marketing expenses will depend on your risk tolerance, business stage and size, and other factors. If you need advice on how to finance your marketing costs, we recommend seeking counsel from experienced entrepreneurs and financial professionals.