Is a cash flow loan right for your business? What to consider
Would a cash flow loan help you take advantage of inventory discounts? Imagine you have an opportunity to buy bulk inventory at a discount. A cash flow loan could help if you don’t have the money right now to make the purchase.
Would financing help you say yes to a job? Say you own a restaurant and are asked to cater a big event. To jump on the opportunity, you need to hire a few more servers, but you don’t have the cash. A line of credit or short-term loan could let you say yes.
Are you entering a slow period? Another example: You own an ice cream shop and winters are slow. Ideally, you’d budget for this by saving more in the summer, but a cash flow loan could get you through in a pinch.
Do you have a lot of outstanding invoices? Many small businesses experience uneven cash flow because their customers pay invoices weeks or months after receiving their product or service. If you’re in this situation, a short-term small-business loan could bridge the gap, but consider invoice financing instead. Are you struggling to stay afloat? Using a small-business loan to keep the lights on or finance other basic business needs could cause you to spiral into debt. Instead, talk with a business consultant, like those available at your local Small Business Development Center, and get to the root of your business’s financial problems.
Short-term business loans to manage cash flow gaps
Even if your company is flourishing, a cash flow hiccup can have a big impact on your ability to run it effectively.
Online lenders offer an alternative to traditional bank loans, which are hard to qualify for if your business is fairly new or you have poor credit. But online lenders’ short-term cash flow loans — which typically have repayment terms between three and 36 months — have higher borrowing costs, so they’re best used to finance projects that help your business grow.
Another option is a business credit card, which can help you manage cash flow gaps while also gaining access to rewards, like cash back. Unlike qualifying for a business loan, you typically can qualify for a business credit card with strong personal credit and get competitive interest rates. However, you may need to sign a personal guarantee, which means you’ll be liable for the business’ debt if you miss payments.
Loans for businesses with strong cash flow
So you have strong cash flow, but you’re still looking for a loan? Because many lenders view strong cash flow as an indicator of a strong business, you may qualify for loans with low rates.
SBA loans, which are business loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offer low rates and competitive terms for businesses with solid credit and strong cash flow.
If you need funding quickly, you can turn to online lenders that offer business loans at competitive rates and a streamlined application process.
Find and compare small-business loans
NerdWallet has come up with a comparison tool for the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, among other factors, and filtered them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.