According to the 4th annual Success Study by The Hartford on small business owners, there appear to be fewer owners in 2014 who are concerned about economic issues outside of their control such as slow economic growth, taxes and healthcare costs compared to when owners answered the question in 2012. This greater sense of comfort with outside financial factors may explain why more small business owners are confident in seeking out additional funding to grow further.

However, the big surprise of the study is that even though small business owners are finding it easier to get a commercial loan, they’re not necessarily choosing that as their first option for funding.

Instead, they’re 39% more likely to turn to their own personal funds to help finance their operations than compared to two years ago. By personal funds, we mean personal savings, retirement savings or obtaining loans from family and friends.

Thinking the personal funding route might be the way to go for you too? Consider the risks. It’s one thing to use a portion of your savings that isn’t generating a great deal of interest toward your business. It’s quite another to ask a loved one for money, especially since it could alter the relationship permanently.

Before jumping to conclusions that certain sources of funding aren’t for you, do your research. Talk to a community bank or credit union about the necessary qualifications for loans. You may even explore the terms of alternative loans such as peer-to-peer loans. Compare these avenues to personally funding your growth. Then you’ll be ready to make a more informed decision on an option that matches not only what you best qualify for but what makes you most financially comfortable as well.

Click here for more of the Hartford Study.