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  You may not always have enough money to run your business on a daily or strengthen and expand its operations when you need to. Traditional banks and institutional lenders, though beneficial, might not always be the most accessible or viable option. But did you know that several alternative funding sources can fuel your business’s growth, many of which fly under the radar?
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In this article, we’ll show you 7 lesser-known ways to finance your enterprise. Here they are:

Revenue-Based Financing (RBF)

  • What is it? In RBF, investors provide capital in exchange for a percentage of the business’s ongoing revenue. Repayment tends to be flexible because it depends on the company’s income.
  • Best for: SMEs with steady revenue streams, particularly, SaaS companies or businesses with recurring revenue models.
  • Provided by: Institutional and private investors.

Crowdlending or Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

  • What is it? This method connects borrowers with individual lenders, sidestepping traditional banking systems. Platforms like Kiakia and Fint have gained traction in this space.
  • Best for: SMEs looking for smaller loans without the hassle of bank bureaucracies.
  • Provided by: Individual lenders, often through dedicated digital platforms.

Online Invoice Trading

  • What is it? SMEs can sell their unpaid invoices on online platforms to investors at a discount. It provides immediate cash flow.
  • Best for: Businesses with longer invoice payment terms but require immediate cash.
  • Provided by: Investors.

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Supply Chain Financing

  • What is it? This happens when an organization finances a supplier on their customer’s behalf.
  • Best for: SMEs looking to optimize their operations and working capital about their supply chain.
  • Provided by: Financial institutions (such as banks) and non-traditional financers.

Competitions and Grants

  • What is it? Many organizations help small businesses with the funding they need through grant programs and competitions (as prize money, for instance). They might demand a pitch presentation or a detailed business proposal before deciding on whether or not to provide financial aid.
  • Best for: startups or SMEs with innovative ideas and brilliant pitching skills and content.
  • Provided by: Grant-making organizations, financial institutions, alternative financers, and other bodies


  • What is it? As you may have already guessed, this is when a transaction involves the exchange of products for other products (or services), instead of purchasing with proper currency. It’s something you can do if you’re short of cash.
  • Best for: SMEs willing to exchange services or products, especially beneficial during cash crunches.
  • Provided by: Businesses

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Merchant Cash Advances (MCA)

  • What is it? Lenders provide cash to a business based on its expected future sales. Repayments are then taken as a daily percentage of said sales.
  • Best for: Retail businesses or SMEs with high volumes of credit card transactions.
  • Provided by: Non-traditional financial institutions and other financers.

Final Words

Businesses are better off if they have multiple funding types and sources to choose from. Traditional avenues will always have their place; but exploring lesser-known alternatives can often lead to more flexible, sustainable, and growth-friendly financing solutions. Just make sure to thoroughly research your options, and, if possible, consult with a financial advisor. Featured Image Source: Science
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This article was first published on 28th October 2023 and updated on November 1st, 2023 at 12:29 pm


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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