4 ways to fix your business cash flow problems
At any moment your business could need fast access to working capital, especially in uncertain times. A survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that just 28% of Canadian small businesses are seeing normal or better sales. Hospitality, arts, and recreation businesses are hurting the most. But even if you’re not in one of these industries, it’s likely your business may have fewer visitors and a lower average revenue per customer as re-openings continue to stall.
To course correct in an emergency and keep your business moving, consider outside financing. Wondering what your choices are and how quickly you can get access to essential cash? Read on. These four options may provide some relief to help you achieve your financial goals in tough times:
1. Tap a business credit card
If your business is struggling with cash flow because of an emergency or economic downturn, a credit card may offer some breathing room for a strained budget.
Look for a business credit card that features a small annual fee and a low interest rate, so you won’t add costly debt to your list of expenses. Also, be sure to consider a card that offers benefits like insurance and even cashback rewards. Those bonus dollars can further bolster your business cash flow.
2. Take out a business loan or line of credit
Looking for additional financial support beyond what a business credit card can offer? Explore your options for a business loan or line of credit.
A short-term loan (for something you plan to pay back in about a year’s time), could be a possible fix—whether you need to pay vendors, upgrade software, or deal with a cash-flow shortfall. A quality loan typically offers competitive rates, a rapid approval process, and a wide range of loan amounts to fit your needs.
Many of these options are also available online. Quick digital lending opportunities can be found through OnDeck, a Coast Capital lending partner. You can apply in minutes and could receive funding in as little as 24 hours.
A traditional business loan, meanwhile, includes a longer term to support significant financial investments like equipment purchases and business expansions. Choose from fixed or variable interest rates and enjoy flexible repayment options.
Another great lending choice for increasing your cash flow is a business line of credit. You’ll have access to a predetermined cash reserve but will pay interest only on the amount that you actually use. This type of financing is useful for daily or operational expenses on an as-needed basis.
3. Look to government programs
Due to COVID-19, there’s been the added benefit of new governmental support for small business. The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program offers financial relief to small businesses and non-profits. CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 and partial loan forgiveness. Applicants may be eligible if their annual non-deferrable expenses (rent, utility bills, insurance premiums, and more) are between $40,000 and $1.5 million. To date, more than $30 billion in funds have been disbursed to 750,000+ businesses. The program has been extended to accept applications through December 31, 2020. So take advantage while you still can. You can apply for CEBA directly through your bank or credit union.
Have you lost employees or had to lower their wages due to the pandemic? You may be eligible for CEWS, a program that partially subsidizes employee wages so you can retain or rehire employees. Generally, you’re eligible to apply if you had a Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) payroll account in mid-March of 2020 and are a small business, non-profit, or corporation not exempt from income tax. Apply for CEWS directly through the government’s designated site, and use its calculator to predict your CEWS subsidy amount. Then set up for CRA direct deposit through your credit union or bank to aid in quick delivery of your CEWS benefit.
4. Exhaust all resources
While government subsidies have collectively offered tens of billions of dollars in financial support to small businesses, perhaps your business doesn’t qualify for some of the more popular programs? Don’t stop trying. There are other services that offer aid specifically designed for small businesses, self-employed individuals, Indigenous businesses, Black-led businesses, women entrepreneurs, and more. The Government of Canada site offers a list of resources and links. Plus, you may be able to take advantage of legislation designed to preserve your revenue through deferred tax payments, tariff waivers, and loan guarantees.
On the path to success
Economic downturn, below-target revenues, and even business expansion can all lead to tight cash flow and other headwinds. But there are options out there in the event of emergency. You just need to know what they are—and take advantage of them now—so your small business can be better equipped to weather the storm.