Hope is on the horizon for smaller companies negatively affected by COVID-19 shutdowns and changes in consumer shopping behaviors. According to CNBC and SurveyMonkey findings in their joint small business survey, 53% of small business owners feel confident about the future. Almost two-thirds of respondents believe they can hold on for a year or longer, which is better-than-expected feedback. Still, nearly three-quarters say the economic landscape has changed radically — and permanently.
To survive, most businesses have adopted a flexible mindset. TD Bank’s Small Business Recovery Survey found that 69% of small business owners have made changes such as embracing telecommuting, shifting to online selling, and ramping up cleaning and sanitization of communal and private workspaces. Yet to make all the adaptations necessary, organizations must have finances. That’s why so many business owners should consider applying for working capital loans.
What Is a Working Capital Loan?
Working capital loans aren’t novel phenomena. They’re standard types of small business loans used to pay for normal operations. Typically, working capital loans have a payoff period of no more than about 18 months, making them an excellent funding option for organizations recovering from a difficult year.
If your business is coming out from under pandemic-related shortfalls, you might find that a working capital loan can help you in a few areas. Below are some common products and services that small companies are purchasing with the help of working capital loans:
1. Virtual conferencing and communications tools
Have you begun using Zoom in earnest or upping your Microsoft Suite subscription to include Microsoft Teams? You’re not alone. One-fifth of all small businesses are diving into teleconferencing full-force, according to a Zapier study conducted by OnePost.
Although virtual video conferencing software may be affordable, you may need to beef up your employees’ supply of equipment to ensure each meeting, webinar, or live-streamed event goes off without a hitch. And that means ordering extra supplies. For instance, consider investing in higher-powered web cameras, ring lights, and better internet package services for home-based colleagues.
2. E-commerce software and website upgrades
Many company founders and owners moved their transactions online or into the cloud as soon as shelter-in-place regulations hit. To make buying seamless for shoppers, they investigated products like Square to fulfill contactless money exchanges. At the same time, they turned to e-commerce platforms like Shopify, which experienced a 53% boost in business between March and April 2020, according to The Washington Post.
Whether you’ve already moved to take orders online or you’re just starting to experiment with methods of securing customer funds, you’ll want to look for top-notch technical software and providers to make shopping with your business effortless. When you find the right solutions for your team and operations, you can use your working capital loan to avoid letting your corporate bank account balance fall too low.
3. Delivery and pickup services
Do you have the tools you need to offer a seamless delivery or pickup service for your customers? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, citing data from Apptopia, reports a staggering increase in consumers who are bypassing retail in-store visits. Instead, they’re downloading record numbers of apps so they can receive their desired merchandise at home. No matter what your industry, you may need to lean into this different type of shopper habit by ordering a supply of packaging. Oh, and make sure that packaging is the right fit.
For instance, if you sell products such as prepared food that need to be climate-controlled to remain safe, you’ll want to upgrade to packaging and equipment to keep items at specific temperatures for predictable periods. Spending a little extra on these must-haves could mean the difference between remaining competitive or losing product share to a disruptor.
COVID-19 hasn’t made life simple for small businesses like yours. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a way to pay for inventory, reinvent the services you offer customers, and keep the lights on, you may find a working capital loan is the wisest short-term option to ensure you start the next year in the best possible financial position.
Do you want to apply for a working capital loan for your small business? Contact us today for more information.