Just because the banks aren’t giving out loans as easily as they used to doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams to start a business. Raising funding just requires a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of perseverance and determination. Here are a few ideas on how to raise funding in difficult times.

* Sell your stuff. Small business experts from around the world are recommending aspiring business owners stop knocking on the doors of banks and start looking around their homes, garages, closets and attics to find valuables to sell. Ebay, garage sales and consignment stores are all great places to sell your stuff and raise the money you need to see your business dreams become a reality.

* Partner up. Be creative and seek business partners. Forging mutually beneficial business relationships can really help you get where you need to go with little or no funding required. For example, if you’re looking to open a marketing business but need a website up and running before you can begin to market yourself online, offer to do the marketing for a local web designer in exchange for a website. It’s a win/win situation and it doesn’t cost you anything other than your time.

* Negotiate creatively. Negotiation, careful and creative negotiation, can get you what you need to get started with your business or to grow it from its present level. For example, if you need materials to build your product, you can negotiate by offering to pay a little bit more but asking if you can pay 90 days after delivery. That gives you three months of selling your product before you have to pay for the materials. Your vendor wins because they’re making a bigger profit on the sale even though they don’t get paid right away.

* Peer lending. There are lending organizations online that will allow you to apply for small business loans. Your peers, people from around the world who want to help other small business owners out, will put up money to loan to you. You have to apply, you’ll need a good business idea and you’ll need to have decent credit to get the loan. However the rates are usually extremely reasonable and it’s an option worth investigating.

* Re-evaluate. Be honest about what you really need to get started or to keep going. You may not need as much as you think, making raising funds just a little bit easier.

Raising funding to start or grow your business in today’s market simply requires that you be a little creative, a little unconventional and that you hold on to your dream. Perseverance and a can do attitude will go a long way toward making it happen.