Ask an Expert: Credit crunch forces small businesses to be creative

Also, check to see what sort of financing your business "partners" may offer. For example, Microsoft (a company I do some work with) offers technology funding to small businesses. Their "Total Solution Financing" helps small and midsized businesses finance their technology purchases with fixed-rate loans, and they do something similar with software licensing. You may have business partners that you work with who have programs of which you are unaware. Ask.

Bottom line: Time to get creative with your financing.

Today's Tip: Here's one final idea: Check out something called peer-to-peer lending. This form of private lending is increasing in popularity. Private lenders compete for your loans. Check out, for example, www.Prosper.com.

Ask an Expert appears Mondays. You can e-mail Steve Strauss at: sstrauss@mrallbiz.com.And you can click here to see previous columns. Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. His latest book is The Small Business Bible. You can sign up for his free newsletter, "Small Business Success Secrets!" at his website —www.mrallbiz.com.

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