The biggest question on most would-be business owners’ minds is, “Where will I get the money to start my business?” There are plenty of options — but some are better than others. Startup Funding Sources. Here’s an overview of the good, the bad and the ugly ways to finance your new business.

Friends and Family
Friends and family are the number-one source of startup financing for most small business owners. In a Small Business Trends survey in 2017, 26% of respondents said they considered friends and family their most reliable source of capital. After all, if your friends and family don’t believe in your business, who will?

You can either borrow money from your friends and family or make them investors and give them a stake in your business. If you borrow money, make sure you treat it as a loan just as you would with a loan from a bank or credit union. Draw up loan documents (you can find templates online) and commit to repaying the money on a set schedule with interest.

Getting an investment from friends and family may seem like a better idea than borrowing because you don’t have to pay the money back. But keep in mind that if your friends and family members become shareholders, they may feel entitled to take a bigger role in directing your business then you’re comfortable with. Do you really want Uncle Joe telling you what to do with your website? Of course, if you do have a friend or family member whose business experience and advice could be valuable, taking them on as an investor could be a good idea.

Personal Credit Cards
Nearly two in 10 (19%) business owners in our survey think credit cards are a reliable source of financing. However, as a startup business owner, your business does not have any credit history of its own, so if you plan to use credit cards as a financing method, you’ll have to use your personal credit cards at first.

Using credit cards for business financing can be risky if you don’t manage your debt carefully. The best way to use credit cards is to pay for things you know you’ll be able to sell for a profit, which you can then use to pay off the credit card balance. For instance, if you’re starting a landscaping business and you need to