CEO of National Business Capital, the leading fintech marketplace offering streamlined small business loans.
During the height of the pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided some much-needed relief to small-business owners. It was a temporary reprieve for businesses that were short on cash flow and needed a way to pay their employees and stay in business.
Two rounds of the PPP have come and gone, and PPP funding is drying up for many small-business owners, leaving them wondering what next steps they can take. Fortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic shows signs of letting up, and states are continuing to lift restrictions. But that doesn’t mean it’s business as usual for everyone, and there’s no guarantee the positive momentum will last.
Businesses that want to keep employees on payroll but whose cash flow hasn’t regained its stride, may have to turn to a new source of capital. Let’s consider a few ways you can move forward and help your business return to profitability and growth.
Selling equity is the route many business owners take, because it’s a straightforward solution to cash-flow problems. With equity financing, you raise capital by selling shares of your company. It can be a good source of short-term and long-term funding, and it’s a route taken by many startups. MORE FOR YOUTo Mark 100 Days Out From Tokyo Olympics, New ‘We Are Team USA’ Anthem Video Celebrates Diverse National Team
The advantage of equity financing is there are no loans to repay. You don’t have to worry about your credit score, high interest rates or monthly repayment terms. It’s a good option for newer businesses that don’t have much of a financial track record to fall back on.
There are disadvantages to consider, though. In the long run, it cuts into your cash flow by removing a percentage of your profits forever. You also lose some control over your business, because you now have investors with a critical stake in your company. Experienced investors do have valuable insights to contribute, but their vision for the company could conflict with yours.
These loans come with lower interest rates than business credit cards and set repayment terms. If you’re interested in taking out a small-business loan, there are two primary routes you can take: applying for funding through a bank or an online lender. Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
• Financing from a bank: Banks offer low-cost financing options and loans, which is why they are a popular source of funding for small businesses. If you’re able to qualify, you can access low rates and flexible repayment terms.
Banks will want to see evidence of business and financial success, which not all companies have. They want to ensure they’ll get a return on their investment, so the application process can be lengthy. Some banks also require collateral.
• Financing from a fintech lender: If you’re looking for alternatives to a traditional bank loan, fintech lenders can be a good way to go. These lenders offer a streamlined application process and faster funding. If you choose to pursue financing from a fintech lender, you have the option of using a marketplace, where you submit your application once and receive multiple offers from different lenders.
However, your rates will be higher than what you’d receive from a bank, so you’ll pay more money over the life of the loan.
For many startups and businesses in the early stages, crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money. You start by signing up with a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter and offer incentives to encourage people to donate to your startup.
Crowdfunding may sound easy, but it takes a lot of planning, time, and ongoing effort to convince hundreds or even thousands of people to donate to your campaign. But if you’re successful, this can help you get the capital you need without selling equity or taking out a loan.
You might also consider applying for a small-business grant through your federal, state or local government. Receiving a grant is ideal because it doesn’t require any repayment. And grants are available to businesses of all sizes.
The key to finding a small business grant is to do your research and look for opportunities where your business meets the eligibility requirements. To get started, you should check the Small Business Administration’s website and grants.gov to look for any available federal grants.
How To Choose The Right Financing Option For You
When you’re evaluating your financing options, it’s important to consider your overall business goals and what you plan to use the funds for. Are you looking to cover a temporary cash flow problem, or are you trying to finance a business expansion?
It’s also important to consider how long you’ve been in business. If you’re a relatively new business owner, you may have a harder time securing a small-business loan from a bank. In this instance, you may want to consider crowdsourcing or equity financing.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re considering financing options:
• How much capital does my business need right now?
• How quickly do I need access to the funds?
• Do I want to avoid taking out a loan?
• What option makes the most sense for my business going forward?
You Have Options
Having access to small-business funding ensures you can pay your employees and prepare for long-term growth opportunities. And it will protect your business if another wave of the pandemic hits and the economy worsens.
That’s why it’s so important to find the right channel for your business and get funding while you still have the opportunity to do so. If you wait until you desperately need the money to start thinking about your financing options, you may find that it’s too late.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.
Read the original version of the article on Forbes.Last Updated on June 24, 2021
National Business Capital is the top FinTech marketplace offering small business loans and financing. Harnessing the power of leading technology and smart people, we’ve streamlined the application process to secure over $1 Billion in financing for business owners nationwide.
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