Sep 07, 2020

Can a Loan Save Your Small Business?

Times are tough unprecedented. There seems to be no end to the new challenges small businesses face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. First, businesses were forced to close. Some still have their doors shut. The importance of new safety measures has required new equipment like safety shields and procedures like limiting the number of working tables in a restaurant. Operating at 50% capacity may be what your business should and must do in the interest of public health, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt the bottom line. 

In light of all the uncertainty in the world, is it possible that a loan can save your small business? We’re big believers in the power of financing to fuel the American Dream, and sometimes all you need is a little cash to turn the tides and get your business back on track. So let’s look at some of the most common pandemic-related challenges to see if and how a small business loan may help you overcome. 

Forced Closures

Let’s start with the biggie. At the start of the pandemic, many states issued shelter-in-place orders that shuttered many small businesses. The trouble was, rent didn’t stop. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans offered many businesses a lifeline to help cover these costs, but what do you do if you’re forced to close again? 

There are a handful of loan options that can front you the cash to make your rent payments or cover other closure-related costs like paid employee leave or increased cleaning measures. A line of credit, one of the most flexible forms of financing, can be the small business owner’s best friend… especially now. What makes it so special? A line of credit allows you to borrow against a predetermined amount. You can borrow as much as you like (up to the total amount) as often as you need it.

If cash is tight now, but you know you can repay quickly, a short term loan can be your savior. Because these loans are designed for quicker repayment, they typically come with higher interest rates. This works out so that the cost of capital makes sense for both you and the lender over the shorter term of the loan, and the bonus: short term loans are often funded in as little as 24 hours. 

Inventory Shortages

The cards are stacked against production cycles right now. Factories are often operating at limited capacity. Shipping, which was already erratic and sluggish due to the pandemic, has been made worse by cuts to the USPS. You may be feeling like it’s never been harder to get your hands on the product you need, and if you can’t access and manage inventory, how are you supposed to turn a profit?

A small business loan can help you work around this issue by purchasing more inventory up front. By taking out a loan to make a larger inventory purchase, you may actually foster smoother sales and operations over the coming months. If you’re not constantly waiting on more inventory, you can provide an improved customer experience and secure repeat business. 

Increased Costs Due to Safety Measures

Plexiglass dividers to protect employees and patrons. Temperature checks. Personal protective equipment (PPE). Additional payroll hours. New or expanded cleaning services. The costs for effective pandemic safety measures can add up—and quickly! 

How can you pay for these new expenses? You can cut other expenses, reallocate funds, or consider a business loan. This is another situation where a line of credit can come in handy because you can use the funds for whatever you want and whenever you need them.

Flexible Cash Flow

In 2020, uncertainty is the only certainty. Some industries have more practice with this than others. It’s not uncommon in the construction industry, for example, for a company to operate at a loss at the end of a job or between jobs. Unsteady cash flow is par for the course in the construction industry, but it can cause some hiccups. Lines of credit can help a construction company meet unexpected financing needs, and an equipment loan can help you purchase a new forklift for the next job. There are a million ways that a business loan can help, and that’s just one industry. 

Whatever your industry, taking out a business loan can help you prepare for the unexpected. And it may be easier to qualify if you apply before you find yourself in dire straits. 

What Business Loans Can You Get During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Despite the pandemic, lenders are still looking to fund small businesses. That’s great news if you’re in the market for financing. Like most other industries, change comes with the territory these days, so lenders are adjusting their criteria and the products they offer slightly depending on the market. 

You may find it easiest to qualify for the following loan types:

There’s also government-backed assistance available. PPP loans provided small businesses with potentially forgivable loans to help them keep employees on the payroll. The PPP program ended on August 8, 2020, but we expect that Congress will renew the program…though we’re not sure when. If you haven’t applied for a PPP loan, you may want to keep your eye out for that. Economic Injury and Disaster Loans (EIDLs) also provide loans to businesses that have sustained economic injury as a result of the pandemic. 

If you have questions about which loan is right for you, a funding manager can help you navigate the benefits of each loan and help you figure out which type will best fit your business. After all, they’re experts who care. That’s what they’re there for. 

About the author

Mary Kate Miller
Mary Kate Miller
Mary Kate Miller is a writer based in Chicago, IL. She specializes in covering finance (personal and business), investing, and real estate. Her mission in life is to give readers the confidence and the knowledge needed to grow their wealth by making financial topics more accessible. When she's not writing about topics like business loans, you can find her playing armchair financial advisor to the Real Housewives.

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