For these cash poor companies, finance is a vital lifeline. But what options are available?

The reality of business funding is that it's never easy to attain. Sure, a loan application may be painless, but the work leading up to the application isn't. Business owners must work hard to secure funding if they want somebody else to invest in them.

The good news is funding is available for new business and it's available through several sources. Here's what you need to know about three of them:

1.     Banks

Business loans from high-street names

Many high-street banks offer finance options for new business. The lending criteria tends to be strict, but the quality of the products offered is high. If your new business has a plan and a minimum turnover (some banks require an annual turnover of £50,000 or more), you could seek funding from a reputable high-street name.

The downside to banks to their lending criteria. Not only do banks insist on a comprehensive business plan, but some will want to meet you in-branch. Depending on the amount you wish to borrow, you may even be rejected out of hand based on your turnover. If your business is approved, however, you will benefit from a good product. Banks also offer some of the best financial advice available.

2.     Independent lenders

Flexible finance tailored to your business

Independent lenders are an excellent alternative to high street banks. Greater application flexibility is the key advantage they hold, with start-ups and SMEs finding them more accommodating for business finance. Independent lenders also hold the advantage of speed with the time it takes for a yes or no answer quartered.

For new businesses looking to get off the ground quickly, approaching an independent lender will mean time savings over a high street bank. Another advantage is that independent lenders can offer a wider range of repayment terms. Quarterly payments may be an option, for example, to ease the burden in the early months of business operation. If these advantages appeal to you, a specialist lender such as Nationwide Corporate finance is what you want.

3.     Crowdfunding

Low-risk funding from customers and brand ambassadors

If you have a great idea, the public might invest in it. Crowdfunding is far from a traditional finance method, but it has helped thousands of start-ups. The premise is simple: sell your idea to people and have a lot invest a little for a stake in your business. It can be a quick and easy route to finance with reduced risk over lending.

Crowdfunding has gained popularity as more start-ups see value in their customers and brand ambassadors being invested in their business. Perhaps the most popular crowdfunding method is having people invest their money in return for early access to a product. Platforms for this include Kickstarter and Indiegogo. So effective it is, that many of these businesses continue to crowdfund yearly product releases.