A guest post by Meredith Wood, Editor-in-Chief at Fundera.

Even the most highly-prepared entrepreneurs can sometimes run into financial setbacks. Whether it’s a pipe bursting in your retail store or a long-overdue payment from your largest client, there are unforeseen issues that arise and require small business owners to scurry for emergency financing.

And with 82% of failed businesses reporting that the number one reason why they failed was cash flow, these cash flow emergencies can be a sink or swim situation for a small business owner.

Below we’ll explore the seven best types of financing to ensure you’re able to recover quickly from any unpleasant cash flow surprises.

1. Short-Term Loans

Short-term loans function like a traditional term small business loan, but the good news here is that the approval process is quick — some alternative lenders will approve you on the same day you apply — and the repayment schedule is short, ranging from a few months to a couple years. However, these loans can get expensive, therefore they are best for dealing with one-off issues you might run into, like a broken hot water heater in your store or a totaled vehicle in your delivery fleet.

2. Long-Term Online Loans

If your emergency situation allows for a few days or weeks delay before securing cash in hand, applying for a long-term online small business loan can have some major benefits. Traditional bank loans can take many, many months, but a medium-term loan from an online lender can be approved in a few days or weeks. Not only that but also, if you qualify, you’ll benefit from much lower interest rates than you would find with other types of “fast funding” options.

3. Invoice Financing

If you’re falling behind on your own financial responsibilities because you’re waiting for clients to pay their invoices, invoice financing might be the best option for you. Invoice financing companies will advance you a portion of the outstanding invoices and hold the remaining amount in reserve. Once your customers pay their invoices, you’ll receive the reserve funds, minus fees. The approval process is generally swift for invoice financing, so this can be a smart option if you find yourself in need of cash quickly.

4. Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards are essentially a short-term loan. Fortunately, in today’s world, plastic is as good as cash just about everywhere, so business credit cards are a great option for dealing with unexpected costs. If you’re a sole proprietor, all you need to apply for a business card is your social security number; larger businesses need to also apply with a Federal Tax ID. Many business credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR, and with the average APR hovering around 15% after the introductory period, credit cards can be an appealing alternative to other types of loans.

5. Short-Term Line of Credit

Many alternative lenders offer short-term lines of credit with fast and easy application processes. Lenders like Kabbage or BlueVine allow you to apply online, provide approval quickly, and are more lenient than traditional lenders when it comes to an applicant’s credit score. Short-term lines of credit are useful because you can guarantee yourself access to cash when you need it, but you don’t begin paying interest on the funds until you actually draw money.

6. Merchant Cash Advances

Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs) can provide immediate cash; a merchant capital company advances you a lump sum of capital and, in exchange, you repay the company by offering a daily cut of your company’s credit card sales. However, this option is at the bottom of the list for a reason: it is very costly. With fees ranging from 70% to 350%, MCAs can cause even more cash flow problems than you had when you started. While MCAs certainly qualify as a viable option for emergency funding, you should think of them more as a last-resort than as your go-to option.

It’s nice to know that even if your small business runs into some unexpected cash flow issues, you do have options to help keep your company afloat.

Weighing the pros and cons of each type of financing and taking your company’s unique financial status into account will allow you to select the small business loan product that makes the most sense for you.


Author Bio

cash flow

Meredith Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Fundera, an online marketplace for small business loans that matches business owners with the best funding providers for their business. She is a resident Finance Advisor on American Express OPEN Forum and an avid business writer. Her advice consistently appears on such sites as Yahoo!, Fox Business, Amex OPEN, AllBusiness and many more.