You might assume that the only way you can get financing for your small business is through a loan. But there are many alternative financing options you can explore for your business needs.
Alternative financing entails finding capital through sources outside the standard banking system. You can find many solutions online, plus you don’t have to visit any physical banks for most of these options.
You could benefit from alternative financing if your business is new and hasn’t established much of a credit profile. Financing options are also available if you have poor credit for any reason. You can also get the funds you need faster than if you tried going through a bank.
Line of Credit
You can take out a line of credit when seeking alternative financing. A line of credit is an amount of money that a lender will extend to you. But you will not take out all the funds at once. You will draw from the line of credit as necessary and pay interest on what you borrow.
The amount you can get from a line of credit will vary by option. You may be given access to thousands of dollars depending on what you are approved to access.
A microloan is a loan of $50,000 or less. This alternative financing choice is a short-term option that isn’t provided by traditional lenders due to the loan’s small value. A microloan will include a short repayment term that can last for a few months.
Invoice factoring entails a business selling outstanding accounts receivable to an outside party. The accounts are sold at a discount. The factoring company will pay most of the invoiced amount and will then collect direct payments from your customers. The process helps you maintain a healthy cash flow while keeping your revenue stable.
Merchant Cash Advance
A merchant cash advance entails getting an advance based on your future earnings. A lender will provide funds to you based on the credit card receipts your business collects. You will then repay the funds through a percentage of your daily credit card transactions.
A merchant cash advance ensures you’ll have funds for many business operations. It may also cost more money due to high interest charges. The amount you pay each day or week will also vary over how much you collect in credit card sales. You may end up paying more in interest if you cannot pay off the advance soon enough, especially if you’re dealing with a lull in sales.
Personal loans are different from business loans, as they entail smaller amounts of money. But you can use the funds in your personal loan for business purposes if you wish. The loan is ideal for people who don’t have enough business experience.
A personal loan works as a traditional installment loan. You may qualify for a better rate if you have a better personal credit history and enough household income.
Business Credit Cards
Many credit card providers offer business credit cards to companies that need them. A business credit card lets you pay for various business expenses without needing a loan. You could also build your business’ credit rating when you pay off your card charges.
Each business credit card has unique terms to review, including the interest rate and fee charges. Some cards come with unique reward structures, but they will vary surrounding the branding and format. You can search around for different cards to see which ones fit your business the most.
Your business will likely require various pieces of equipment to stay operational. You can acquire an equipment financing loan to help you purchase the materials necessary for business activity.
An equipment financing loan focuses on the assets necessary for your business, with those items being used as collateral. You can get a lower interest rate on your financing thanks to this point. It does not entail your business revenue, your personal credit rating, or any other points. You must ensure you can pay off the financing plan, as you will lose access to your equipment if you cannot cover the costs.
Angel investing entails private individuals providing funds to businesses that are starting up or are expanding. The investors will provide these funds in exchange for a return on profits or a share of the business. You would require a growth or exit plan illustrating how you will raise funds and how you will provide your angel investors returns in their efforts.
Where Are These Funds Coming From?
You may be curious as to where the funds in the above listed options will come from. Your alternative financing funds will come from many sources:
- Direct private lenders can use their funds to issue financing. They do not require investors or depositors for the money.
- Crowdfunding platforms are often utilized in alternative financing. A substantial number of individuals will provide the funding in this situation. The funds the platform raises will go towards many people in the system.
- Marketplace lenders are people who directly link borrowers with investors. These are peer-to-peer lenders who will get funds out to borrowers in less time.
Two Important Concerns
There are two worries to note surrounding any of these alternative lending options. First, you may be subject to higher interest rates. Since the requirements for alternative lending aren’t as strict, you could deal with high charges. A lender could assume you have a higher risk. You might get a better rate on something if you have a better credit score, but that is not always guaranteed.
Many of these lending choices are also short-term options. While you could get the same amount of money as what you’d find through a bank, you would still make higher installment payments. Not all businesses can afford to spend those extra funds. Check how your business takes in money to see if you can benefit from such a lending option.