- October 15, 2018
- Posted by: Rivero, Gordimer & Company
- Category: Business Advice
eCommerce businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy, with analysis projecting 246 percent growth in online retail sales from 2014 to 2021. Globalization, as it relates to technology and shipping logistics, has made it possible for anyone to launch and run a successful online business.
Much like your traditional brick-and-mortar business, eCommerce companies need cash reserves to build and grow their business. From production and product development to digital marketing and customer service, it takes resources to grow your online business.
If you’re like most small business owners, your first thought might be to begin your search with a traditional lender – a bank or credit union. The problem is, even if you endure their lengthy application processes and accept their rigid repayment policies, there’s still the chance they’ll still turn you away. Unfortunately, most traditional banks and credit unions are not always willing to invest in your dream — especially in an unconventional market such as eCommerce.
You should also keep in mind; lenders will turn to your personal financial track record to evaluate your credit application. In fact, your personal finances are probably the single most important piece of criteria in getting approved, even though you are seeking funding for your business. And your personal credit scores become even more important if your eCommerce business has little or no financial history.
Don’t be discouraged if you are unable to get funding through traditional means — there are many other ways to get funding and working capital for your eCommerce business.
Online lenders offer a convenient alternative to traditional banks and credit unions. If you have a strong credit profile, it won’t take long to find a lender willing to extend credit to your business at a reasonable rate. Better yet, the application process tends to be much less tedious with online lenders (including peer-to-peer lenders). In some cases, you can get approved and have access to the funds the same day you apply.
Micro-loans are another option for eCommerce businesses. Micro-loans typically range between $1,000 to $50,000 and are specifically designed for start-ups. That means your eCommerce business doesn’t need to demonstrate a history of profitability to qualify.
There are many organizations that offer micro-loans, including:
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a micro-loan program. This program focuses on providing much-needed funding, up to $50,000, to small businesses. SBA loans are known for their detailed application process and often requiring collateral and personal loan guarantees to be secured.
- Accion is another lender that believes in providing loans and support to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Loans range from $300 to $1,000,000.
- Kiva is a non-profit online lending platform with a mission to support entrepreneurs doing work for the greater good in underserved communities. Kiva connects regular people who want to lend money to small business owners and charitable organizations across the world.
If your eCommerce business is one that can generate some excitement, crowdfunding may be a viable fundraising option. Crowdfunding involves obtaining small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically over the internet. One of the best features of these types of programs is that individuals generally provide money without reviewing your personal credit history. These types of arrangements often involve the small business providing products or services in exchange for financial support, although other repayment options exist.
If you’re an entrepreneur with limited options, credit cards can be a useful tool in a pinch. Of course, there are some obvious drawbacks – namely high-interest rates. The key is finding the right card.
Look for cards with low (or no) introductory rates or cards with attractive balance transfer offers. Make sure you are prudent with your spending and that you are able to repay any balance you accrue before the promotional period comes to an end.
Also, apply for the card in the name of your business. While it’s your personal credit that will be the primary factor in evaluating your application, you can take a major step toward building business credit.
A Few Final Thoughts
These days, there are plenty of options to help you get the funding your eCommerce business needs to get off the ground. Each business is unique and has different needs, so make sure you carefully consider your options and choose the one that best suits your particular situation.
If you are launching an eCommerce business and want to speak to a CPA about your funding options, contact the Tampa CPA Firm, Rivero, Gordimer & Company.