These aren't the best economic times, but brave souls are forever launching out on new business ventures. Here are sites for finding the funds to back a new enterprise, even under today's tough conditions.

Due diligence. The background checking that lenders, investors and business buyers do before forking over cash is called due diligence. Here's an article about the process, as it pertains to business buyers. Extras on the page include an article on how to conduct due diligence yourself. Due diligence is a pain for all parties involved, but it could save you grief if the process turns up trouble that you wouldn't otherwise have discovered until it was too late.

Small business. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a listing of possible financing sources for start-ups. These include public options as well as private. For example, there are SBA loans, and some federal grant programs. Some important resources here also include guides to managing your personal as well as business finances, a how-to on cultivating a friendship with your local banker, and tips for writing loan proposals.

The SBA's site offers some additional help on navigating the business-loan maze. A cautious article here says that some "senior citizen entrepreneurs" might use a reverse mortgage to finance a business. "But beware," it says. Indeed. Other practical matters covered here include the good, bad and ugly side of allowing investors onto the board of directors of your company. Advice: First, learn to lead a meeting, even if you don't hold the purse strings.

Your options. Debt financing - where you go to the bank and beg for a loan - is one way to go. But there are others, including selling equity, or shares, in your company. has a list of article and Web site links that detail these and other options.

Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or