Pay interest or give up equity? Compare business loans vs. investors

Compare business loans vs. investors

Growing your business means taking risks, but there’s no reason to go in blind.

You’ve got the plan, you’ve started building your business — maybe you’ve even gotten family and friends to buy in. Now you need to put those big plans into action, but bootstrapping isn’t an option right now.

That’s where business loans and investors come in. Whether it’s a venture capitalist, an angel investor or an investment corporation, there are pros and cons to investors — some of the same ones as business loans. Read further to learn just what you’re getting yourself into with either option and how to weigh which might be better for your needs.

OnDeck Small Business Loans

OnDeck Small Business Loans

Among the largest online business lenders offering term loans and lines of credit at competitive fixed rates.

  • Minimum Amount: $5,000
  • Maximum Amount: $500,000
  • Loan Term: 3 to 36 months
  • Simple online application process with fast decisions
  • Dedicated loan specialists and loyalty benefits
  • Must have been in business for at least one year with annual revenue of $100,000+
  • Must have a personal credit score of 500+

    How do business loans differ from investors?

    There’s a good deal of differences between business loans and investors. First, let’s define an investor. An investor is a person or organization who provides funding for your business in exchange for a share of the company, with hopes that they’ll get a return on their money. You’ll have several types of investors to choose from. No matter which you choose, you’re indefinitely giving up a slice of your company’s value — called equity — in exchange for funding.

    A business loan, on the other hand, gives you financing that you pay back. You will not be required to give up equity in your company. If you’re applying for a secured loan, you will typically provide collateral. But letting a bank put a lien on your equipment is a lot different than giving up ownership of a part of your business.

    What are the benefits of business loans and investors?

    Business loans

    • Repayment. Once you repay the amount of the loan and interest, you’re free of your agreement with the lender. With a fixed term business loan, you’ll also know the exact amount you’ll repay over the life of the loan.
    • Retain ownership. You get to keep the same ownership over your business as when you started the loan.
    • Simple relationship. With a lender, you simply take out the loan and repay it. No strings attached.
    • Specialized funding. If you run a small business, you can potentially qualify for an SBA loan with even lower rates.
    Investors

    • Potential for additional funding. By taking on a share of your company, an investor takes on stakes in how well it performs. If your business needs more funding to succeed, there’s a possibility the investor will be willing to put more toward it — within reason.
    • Personalized guidance. A business investor may have with industry knowledge that could benefit your company growth.
    • No strict business age or revenue criteria. You may be able to get an investor on potential alone. With a good pitch, you could spark investors’ interests before your business starts making money.

    What are the drawbacks of business loans and investors?

    Business loans

    • Difficult to acquire. If you have a startup without much business credit or revenue to show, it may be tough to get a lender to fund you.
    • Can be restrictive. You may be approved to use the funds for certain purchases only.
    • Personal credit considered. Even if your business is doing well, you could be denied a business loan based on your personal credit.
    • Collateral. Security in the form of business or personal assets may be required. If you default on payments, that means foreclosure on those assets.
    Investors

    • Ownership. It’s entirely possible to lose the majority of ownership of your business if your equity is diluted by investors.
    • Relationship. When something is personal, there’s a higher chance of something subjective creating a divide. If an investor doesn’t like a business choice you make, they can pull out.
    • No end date. When there’s no exit plan, there’s no foreseeable point at which you could gain back the ownership you surrendered.
    • Long-term cost. If you decide to sell your business down the road, your investors will need to get a payout based on their equity percentage. If you give out dividends to investors, a percentage of your profits could be diverted into the pocket of your investor indefinitely.

    Want a business loan? Compare top online lenders

    Rates last updated February 20th, 2018
    Name Product Product Description Min Loan Amount Maximum Loan Amount Requirements
    LendingTree Business Loans
    Compare multiple business financing options in one place including: small business loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, equipment financing and more.
    Varies by lender and type of financing
    Varies by lender and type of financing
    Varies by lender, but you many require good personal credit, a minimum business age and minimum annual revenue.
    OnDeck Small Business Loans
    A leading online business lender offering flexible financing at competitive fixed rates.
    $5,000
    $500,000
    Must have been in business for at least one year with annual revenue of $100K+. Must have a personal credit score of 500+.
    LendingClub Business Loans
    With loan terms that vary from 1 to 5 years, enjoy fixed monthly payments and no prepayment penalties through this award-winning lender.
    $5,000
    $300,000
    2+ years in business; $75,000+ in yearly sales; No bankruptcies or tax liens; At least 20% ownership of your business; Fair or better personal credit
    National Business Capital Business Loans
    Get a large business loan to cover your financing needs, no matter what the purpose is.
    $10,000
    $5,000,000
    Your company must have been in business for at least 6 months and have an annual revenue of at least $180,000.
    Kabbage Small Business Line of Credit
    A simple, convenient online application could securely get the funds you need to grow your business.
    $2,000
    $250,000
    Must have been in business for at least 1 year. Revenue minimum is $50,000 annually or $4,200 per month over the last 3 months.
    SmartBiz SBA Loans
    Get funding for your small business with a government-backed loan and extended repayment terms.
    $30,000
    $5,000,000
    Personal credit score of 650+; US citizen or permanent resident; Business must be 2+ years old; Annual revenue of $50,000+; No outstanding tax liens; No bankruptcies or foreclosures in past 3 years.
    Excel Capital Management Small Business Loans
    Get personalized financing options that suit your unique business needs in just a few simple steps.
    Varies by loan type
    Varies by loan type
    Your business must operate in the US, be at least 1 year old and have monthly revenue of $15,000+.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Which borrowing option is better suited for me?

    Whether one type of financing is better for your business than another largely depends on factors that include whether your business is new, how much of your company you want to control and whether your investor can bring anything to the table outside of funds.

    If you value having complete ownership of your business, a loan could be better suited for you because the lender charges interest while you retain full equity. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an investor that can also be a source of guidance as you learn the ropes of your industry, giving up a little equity might be worth it to you.

    Bottom line

    Financing your business is a huge decision. When it comes to choosing a business loan over an investor, it’s important to compare your funding options to make sure you’re getting the best value. If you choose to seek an investor, you have many options including family and friends, angel investors and investment corporations.

    Compare business loans to more financing options

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    Frequently asked questions about business loans and investors

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