If you want to start a new business, you’re going to have to invest some of your own money in it. Business financing can help you start out with a greater amount of funds and, therefore, be able to put your strategy into place more easily. It can make or break your company’s success.

For most financing, you’re going to need to put that strategy onto paper. A business plan is typically a requirement, showing that you’ve really thought things through and know how your goals will be reached. It’s also a good tool for you to keep yourself on track.

Since you’re just starting out, you may not have documents like accounts receivable and payable, your balance sheet, and tax returns. In that case, you’ll have to gather your personal financial documents. If you’re very new, you’ll have to do that anyway.

Some of the main ways that entrepreneurs achieve their business financing are loans from friends and family; credit cards; small business loans; and venture capital. Which will be best for you will depend on what you’re using it for, how much you need, and what kind of collateral you have to get approval.

If you only need a small amount, such as purchasing some equipment or furniture, a personal credit card might be enough. However, since the interest rates on these can get high, and the interest pile up if you can’t pay it off right away, it’s not the best choice for large amounts.

Friends and family are the only people that will lend to you without requiring a lot of documentation. The terms are also likely going to be much better, with a low rate of interest, or none at all. You might be able to take longer to pay them back as well.

Capital venture companies, or those seasoned investors who look for businesses to fund, won’t be interested need a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars of investment. Obviously, for that amount of money, you’re going to need to show that you’re serious and have your strategy well thought out.

If you need to use your personal history to get business financing, you need to make sure that it looks good. Pull your credit report and make sure that it’s up-to-date. If you can pay your credit cards off each month that will help as well. Be sure to take a look at the loans available through the Small Business Administration, especially if all you need is a microloan.