There are a lot of different ways to seek funding for your startup. For a lot of people, it starts with seeking a loan from family and friends, or possibly from a financial institution. For some, it’s about finding investors who might have experience buying into emerging companies. And for others still it may come down to something like scraping together savings, or starting an online crowdfunding campaign.
All of these can be successful fundraising methods, and they’re certainly among the most traditional options. Another option, however, is to find ways to invest your own wealth (or possibly your long-term savings) such that you can grow it enough to get your business off the ground.
We want to be clear that this idea does not constitute guaranteed funding. Investing comes with risk, and not every startup founder is equipped to do it successfully.
However, if you feel you have a mind for investment and you’re intrigued by the idea of a funding method that won’t come with debt, or a loss of equity, it’s something to consider. Specifically, experts suggest a few different methods of investment that won’t require too much of your time — so you can focus on getting your business off the ground while (hopefully) growing some funds on the side.
1- Certificates of Deposit
In an article about general fundraising ideas for a small business, we mentioned that withdrawing funds from a savings account can be a solution. With regard to investment though, it’s also worth considering moving those funds into a similar account geared more toward profits.
A certificate of deposit is basically just such an account. It’s a savings arrangement whereby you are required to leave your funds for a set period of time, but which pays you greater interest once that time is up. You can’t make a fortune this way (or everyone would be doing it), but you can passively grow your wealth with almost no effort.
2- Automated Stock Trading
You may also be able to enjoy a productive but largely passive investment through any of a number of automated trading tools that exist today.
You can do a version of automated trading by buying into a mutual fund (which is traded by a professional rather than an automated system) or using a “trading bot,” if you can access one. But the most common options are in stock investment apps, which come with a variety of tools that largely take trading out of your hands.
3- CFD Stock Trading
Full-fledged stock trading is a pretty involved option if you’re also working on launching a business. However, trading share CFDs on popular stocks can lead to similar benefits with much less of a time commitment.
CFDs are contracts that revolve around share price movement. With them, you can buy to support the idea that share prices will go up, or sell if you think they’ll go down, and your investment will pay off when you’re correct.
You’ll still need to develop some market savvy and specific strategy to be successful with CFDs, but you don’t need to monitor the markets with the same moment-to-moment attentiveness of a regular day trader.
4- P2P Lending
Peer-to-peer lending has been held up as a investment strategy that offers high return with low risk — which is exactly what you should be looking for if you’re investing specifically to fund your startup. It also demands very little of you in terms of time and effort.
You simply need to sign up with a P2P lending platform, find a venture or individual to fund, and supply some money. In time, the borrower will pay you back with interest, effectively expanding your wealth and giving you a bit more money to pump into your company.
The same piece that praised P2P lending as a high-return, low-risk option also highlighted REITs, or real estate investment trusts. These are basically mutual funds for real estate, meaning that they’re funds numerous people can buy into, which are then invested in a variety of commercial real estate projects.
The Bottom Line
It may sound like a somewhat roundabout venture, but it’s generally thought of as a stable, low-effort way to maximize returns. As stated, investing involves risk, and it’s understandable that some entrepreneurs might view this as an unorthodox funding method.
We’re by no means suggesting that it’s the only way or even the best way for everybody. But if you’re seeking funding, you have some cash on hand, and you want to avoid debt, investments of these nature can be considered as alternative options.