6 Alternative Lending Options for Small-Business Owners

6 Alternative Lending Options for Small-Business Owners

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No two businesses are exactly the same, and yet there are a few things that every business needs in order to function. At the top of the list is capital. Sooner or later, most companies need access to financing so they can buy equipment, acquire new office space or make some other important capital investment.

But where will that financing come from? Traditionally, the options have been fairly limited to banks and credit unions. Today, however, business owners have a number of options to choose from, including those traditional lending sources but also several alternatives.

What if a traditional lender won’t work with you?

Some small businesses may have little choice about the kind of financing they seek, specifically if traditional lenders all turn them down.

Most banks and credit unions are going to be fairly risk-averse, as they don’t want to work with any small business that hasn’t proven itself at least somewhat dependable. As such, traditional lenders will usually require business owners to have a strong credit history and perhaps some collateral they can put up as well. If your company is just starting out, it can be challenging to meet these requirements, and you may be approved for little or no financing.

Alternative lenders, meanwhile, are usually a little more willing to assume some of the risk. Many have loan options specifically geared toward businesses that have truncated (or subpar) credit histories. The long and short of it is: If you have bad credit, you can still get a business loan, but not necessarily through a traditional lender.

A related issue is turnaround time. Because traditional lenders do a lot of due diligence, it can take weeks or even months for a loan to be approved. Alternative lenders can often be a little nimbler, sometimes approving a loan in 24 to 48 hours. If you ever find yourself in a position where you need a loan quickly, this is an important factor to weigh.

Alternative business loans to consider

As for where you seek an alternative loan, there are a number of options out there.

  1. Line of credit (LOC). You can get this from a traditional bank, but you may have better luck being approved for an online LOC. OnDeck Capital’s “instant funding” option is one resource worth checking out. Credibly is also a platform for merchants who don’t qualify for OnDeck’s products.
  2. Online loans. A website called Lendio has a number of online loans for which small-business owners can apply, and the eligibility requirements are a little laxer than what you’d find at a credit union.
  3. Short-term loans. LoanBuilder, which is affiliated with PayPal, provides short-term small-business loans in as little as 24 hours’ time. Additionally, PayPal offers another funding option through its Working Capital platform, which allows a borrower an advance against their future PayPal invoices.
  4. Personal loans. If you have decent credit and want to explore personal loan opportunities online, LendingClub is one site you’ll want to check out.
  5. Credit card. Of course, a business credit card provides a simple solution to your financing problems. Chase Ink Business Cash is one of several cards that come highly reviewed.
  6. Invoice financing. This is a form of alternate lending that allows a business to borrow amounts equivalent to the value of its outstanding invoices — with the invoices serving as collateral for the loan. MarketInvoice is one platform you may want to learn more about.

Remember, there’s more than one way to acquire funding for your business. If you don’t have any luck with traditional lenders, there’s still a world of alternative possibilities for you to choose from.

About the author: Amanda Clark is president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.


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