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
7 hot businesses to start now It's hard to predict what businesses will take off, but these startup ideas have been drawing tons of interest from entrepreneurs and their customers on Thumbtack.com. More
How will a minimum wage hike hit businesses? Thirteen states increased the minimum wage on Jan. 1, and President Obama supports raising the federal rate to $10.10. 4 small business owners weigh in on how an increase would affect them. More
America's favorite businesses From a science camp for girls to a kombucha brewer, communities around the country voted on their favorite small businesses. These 12 came out on top, each scoring a $250,000 grant from Chase and a trip to Google's headquarters. More
Sponsors

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.