2 of 8
BACKNEXT
Microlenders
Pros: Microlenders can be an alternative for those with imperfect credit. Though most loan less than $5,000 per person, others have been known to hand out as much as $25,000.

"They are typically more flexible with the loan terms and what they will accept as collateral," Lowles says. One of the largest microlenders is Accion Texas, but government programs can help, too, depending on the project. AmeriCorps, for example, loans small amounts to companies that work in disaster areas.

Cons: They're hard to find and they don't give much. "Microlending is limited in the USA compared to other countries," says John Arensmeyer, executive director of the Small Business Majority, a small-business lobbying organization.

Furthermore, microlenders often take just as long to evaluate your business as banks do. "They usually took 15 to 30 days, but in this economy it's 45 to 60 days," says Cynthia Nevels of the North Dallas Small Business Development Center. "Like at other institutions, resources are scarce."

"Social lending" businesses such as Propser and Lending Club are looking to fill that gap, directly connecting potential borrowers to individuals with cash to lend. Such services can bring in quick cash, but the riskier the loan, the higher the interest rate will be.

NEXT: Friends and family

LAST UPDATE: Sep 30 2008 | 11:23 AM ET
Sponsored by
More Galleries
San Francisco: The best city to make things From electric motorcycles to death shrouds, San Francisco's manufacturing sector is booming. More
6 designers shaking up fashion These designers are changing the way we dress, accessorize and shop, from custom made-to-fit dresses to smart jewelry that's actually stylish. More
8 must-have travel apps Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.