Business Loans

Can You Get a Startup Business Loan with No Money?

Jul 12, 2024 • 10+ min read
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      Every great business has to start somewhere. The founders of Apple and Amazon launched their business dreams in garages. Samsung began as a grocery store. Coca-Cola originally made its product in jugs and sold the now-famous soda for a nickel a glass at a local pharmacy.

      Many businesses start from nothing before becoming something special. Yet it’s also true that, when the right moment arrives, securing the right funding for your startup can be pivotal in getting your business off the starting block and on the path to success.

      If you’re looking for financing to get your startup off the ground, the good news is that there are numerous ways to get funded. Even as a small business owner with no revenue and no credit (or bad personal credit), you might be able to find a startup business loan.

      Getting a startup loan with no revenue.

      Getting a startup loan with no money or revenue.

      Getting funding as a brand-new startup with no money can be a challenge. The majority of small business loans have at least some minimum revenue requirements. So, if you have the ability to wait until your business is earning some money, it could open the door to more financing options and more attractive borrowing terms. 

      In the meantime, there are at least two potential ways to get a loan for your startup before it begins earning revenue.

      Equipment financing

      Some equipment financing lenders (though not all) are willing to work with startups. These lenders may have no minimum monthly revenue requirements and no minimum time in business requirements for applicants to satisfy. The collateral your business is purchasing secures the loan and reduces the risk for the lender. However, you may likely need decent personal credit to qualify for this financing option, depending on the lender.

      SBA microloans

      An SBA microloan provides financing of up to $50,000 for small businesses. The loans are intended to support underserved communities and are distributed by nonprofit or community microlenders. The requirements to qualify for a microloan will vary by the lender. Some will review your credit score and personal finances to qualify you for a loan while others will want to see a longer financial history for your business. While some of these lenders may not require positive business cash flow, they may still require a personal guarantee and/or collateral to secure the loan.

      See if your business is eligible for financing.

      How much money are you looking for?
      How to get a startup business loan with no money or revenue.

      How to get a startup business loan with no money or revenue.

      Decide how much you need

      A key step in finding the loan that matches your business needs is identifying how much money you’ll need to borrow. Every lender has a different range of financing they are comfortable offering. Therefore, you probably wouldn’t search for a $5-million loan in the same place you’d search for a $5,000 loan.

      Determine your timeline

      Likewise, you should figure out how quickly you need the money you borrow to arrive. Some loan proceeds may be available in days or hours. For other loans, the funding process could take weeks or months.

      Determine your budget

      Next, crunch the numbers and see which loan gives you the best bang for your buck. There are plenty of easy-to-use loan calculators available online. So don’t worry if math isn’t your strong suit. (Note: It’s wise to compare multiple loan options to make sure you’re getting the best deal available for your small business.) 

      Alternative forms of financing for your startup.

      Alternative forms of financing for your startup.

      It’s not always easy to access business funding as a new startup. According to Gallup, 77% of small business owners use personal savings as a source of initial capital. Nonetheless, there are alternative ways to finance your business dreams that don’t involve potentially draining your personal bank account. 

      Here are a few alternative business funding options to consider. 

      • Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is a way to raise money online for your young business—either by seeking loans from multiple investors (debt crowdfunding), asking for donations (donor crowdfunding), selling off small portions of your business (equity crowdfunding), or offering incentives for contributions (reward-based crowdfunding).
      • Business Credit Cards A business credit card could be a good financing option for startups with no revenue and no established business credit score. Depending on the type of business credit card you apply for, you may need good personal credit to qualify. But there are some options (including secured business credit cards) for small business owners with no credit or bad credit. 
      • Family and Friends Some small business owners are able to borrow money or raise investment funding from family members and friends. If you’re fortunate enough to have this option available to you, be sure to consider the risk up front. Should your business fail or if you’re unable to repay a loan from a loved one, these complications could damage important relationships. 
      • Grants For a startup, small business grants can be an appealing way to raise money since the business doesn’t have to repay the money it receives. Yet with grants, you might also face a lot of competition. It can often be a challenge to stand out from other applicants where small business grants are concerned.


      Let’s be real: it’s pretty challenging for startups to secure small business loans, especially when you’re new on the scene with no revenue to show. Traditional lenders typically look for a history of profitability and solid cash flow—two things that most startups are still working hard to establish. However, you can increase your chances of approval by putting together a solid business plan, laying out a clear repayment strategy, and offering a personal guarantee or collateral.

      Absolutely, getting a loan for your startup without collateral might seem like a tricky path to navigate, but it’s not off the table. There’s a variety of unsecured financing options out there that rely more on credit scores, business potential, and a well-crafted business plan than on assets. Think of it as lenders betting on your vision with you. They understand that not everyone comes to the table with tangible collateral, especially in the early stages. That said, do keep in mind that interest rates for unsecured loans can be higher, and terms might be stricter. But as your business grows, these investments can sometimes prove to be the jumpstart you needed.

      Stepping into the entrepreneurial world without a credit history can definitely raise some eyebrows, but it doesn’t close the door on securing a startup business loan. Sure, credit scores are one part of the equation, but they’re not the whole story. Alternative lenders may be willing to focus on your business plan’s strength, your market’s potential, and any industry experience you bring to the table. It’s all about painting a picture of your business that says, “I may be new to the game, but I’ve got the strategy to win.” Keep in mind that these loans might come with higher interest rates or require a more personal approach to guarantee you’re a safe bet.

      Quickly compare loan offers from multiple lenders.

      Applying is free and won’t impact your credit.

      The information in this blog is for informational purposes. It should not be used as legal, business, tax, or financial advice. The information contained in this page is Lendio’s opinion based on Lendio’s research, methodology, evaluation, and other factors. The information provided is accurate at the time of the initial publishing of the page (July 26, 2022). While Lendio strives to maintain this information to ensure that it is up to date, this information may be different than what you see in other contexts, including when visiting the financial information, a different service provider, or a specific product’s site. All information provided in this page is presented to you without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s terms and conditions, relevant policies, contractual agreements and other applicable information. Please note that the ranges provided here are not pre-qualified offers and may be greater or less than the ranges provided based on information contained in your business financing application. Lendio may receive compensation from the financial institutions evaluated on this page in the event that you receive business financing through that financial institution.

      About the author
      Michelle Lambright Black

      Michelle Lambright Black is a nationally recognized credit expert with two decades of experience. Founder of—an online community that helps busy moms take control of their credit and finances—Michelle's work has been published thousands of times by FICO, Experian, Forbes, Bankrate, MarketWatch, Parents, U.S. News & World Report, and many more.

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