The words “flexible” and “financing” don’t seem like they should be in a sentence together. When you think of financing, you may think of a stuffy banker stamping rejections on loan applications. Maybe you think about how your business is stalled in growth because you’ve reached the end of your credit line. It is not often that you think about financing options that are flexible to your needs. They do exist, however. Here are some flexible financing options for your small business.
As we have all seen, life is unpredictable. Your business could be performing well, but then revenue may drop off a cliff for outside reasons. Here is where that flexibility will come in handy. The pandemic has been awful to small business owners, and it has also shed light on some huge holes in small business finances. Many small business owners turn to personal funds to keep their businesses afloat because they lack cash reserves. If you want to avoid this scenario in the future, have a financing plan that is flexible and can accommodate unforeseen challenges.
Many business owners found they were at risk of breaching their banking covenants with the sudden revenue loss. Some business owners were struggling to meet payroll. Others had to close altogether. To keep the lights on for your business, you either need a large cash reserve or flexibility in your financing. If you have maxed out a bank line of credit, do you have access to working capital from somewhere else? Is your bank willing to extend your credit limit?
It is worth considering some supplemental financing options to round out your financing plan. Equipment financing is a great option that can unlock working capital to support your business growth. Equipment financing is a loan that you can use for specific reasons, like buying manufacturing gear or any other equipment you need for your business. If you are looking to upgrade your cybersecurity and tools because you have moved mostly remote, equipment financing can cover those costs. This type of financing will be a loan that probably has strict repayment terms, but you can use the money pretty flexibly for your business’s needs.
Accounts receivable financing can help you meet payroll while waiting to collect on your receivables. In simpler terms, the amount of capital you can access is based on the amount of capital you are waiting to collect from your customers. With accounts receivable financing, you can add to your team without the stress of adding to your overhead. Since it’s based on your outstanding invoices, it does not require a high credit score or lengthy time in business, which makes the approval requirements very flexible. This type of financing is similar to a line of credit, but the limit will not be as rigid. Typically, the higher your accounts receivable, the more capital you can access.
A line of credit gives you some flexibility in drawing capital and repaying it. You don’t have to use all the money, and you only pay interest on the amount you use. Online lenders and traditional banks offer lines of credit, and it’s a great tool to have available if you want a more flexible financing plan.
A merchant cash advance (MCA) is basically a lump sum of cash that is repaid through daily or weekly withdrawals based on your future earnings. These are typically costly, but they have their uses. If you need capital very quickly and will be able to afford the repayment, consider this option. Just read your contract carefully before taking out an MCA.
Most of these financing options can work together to round out your financial plan. For example, you can use accounts receivable financing to cover your payroll and also take out an equipment loan to cover your production tools. You could use a merchant cash advance alongside a line of credit. It is crucial to consider your business and your industry when signing up with a new lender. It’s best to choose a lender that knows your industry and can offer solutions to your unique financing challenges. Ultimately, your financing plan should include some flexibility to account for sudden gains or sudden losses.