Every business encounters major challenges in the cash flow at some point, which may necessitate borrowing of funds in order to sustain business operations. For startups, financial difficulties may come knocking at the door early on.

Fortunately, small businesses that find it difficult to finance all their projects have a number of avenues to turn to for support. Finding a lender is not as tedious as it used to be, and the choices are more numerous today. There are bank loans and merchant service providers. Some loan packages are offered by government agencies, which attract many borrowers since they come with guarantees other lenders cannot provide. Loans come in all forms and sizes, and some are tailor-fit to meet the specific needs of the lender. The availability of more than one option is an indicator that business owners must evaluate their needs first in order to ascertain that a specific type of loan is indeed the best recourse given their current situation.

Short-term Vs. Long-term

Two basic types of loans available to small business owners are long-term loans and short-term loans. Long-established commercial lenders usually offer long-term loans that have low interest rates. The amount of money is large enough to cover huge expense, such as additional capital needed in business acquisition and related activities. Small businesses looking for working capital can approach these lenders, and they usually get approval if they have a formidable business plan.

Meanwhile, short-term loans are usually issued by credit unions and banking institutions. Whereas a long-term loan must be paid on a monthly basis, short-term loans are paid at the end of the term of the agreement. The interest rate is usually higher compared to short-term loans. Retailer looking for additional funding for a short project that is expected to provide huge profits in a brief time period can benefit much from this type of loan.

Alternative options

Aside from conventional sources of funding, borrowers may opt to avail of alternative lending offers, such as those offered by online merchants. Applying for a business loan is now quite convenient since every step of the process can be conducted online. These offers are also quicker to process. It is possible to access capital without the difficulty posed by traditional procedures requiring mounds of paperwork. Alternative financing options work best for use in meeting the needs of an expansion, or sustaining operations when there are cash shortfalls.

Small businesses that are in the early stages of operation often find it difficult to meet stringent requirements. Alternative lending methods are relatively more flexible, including cash advances, crowd funding, and peer-to-peer loans, among others. For small businesses, it is often easier and faster to secure financing using alternative means. Many business owners opt for alternative financing methods especially when they have urgent need for the money. There are situations where the time frame is critical because availability of funds determine whether the company’s daily operations can continue or not.