Factors Stay Busy Due to Credit Squeeze

A small business owner who is trying to grow his/her business during a booming economy will hit some speed bumps when applying for traditional financing if he/she cannot show an extensive profitable operating history. Throw in the current economic climate, and the chance of an entrepreneur obtaining a conventional bank loan is slim to none.

When loans are no longer an option, business owners have to find a short-term funding option to keep them from dipping into their personal savings accounts or having to rely on friends and family for operating cash. Over the past decade, the main fallback has been small business credit cards. During better times, credit card companies actively pursued the small business market. Entrepreneurs were enticed with low introductory interest rates and high credit limits. In addition, banks started offering small credit lines to entrepreneurs who didn’t meet conventional loan requirements, and vendors started relying on the efficiency of credit card payments. Needless to say, the small business credit card caught on like rapid fire. Today, nearly 60% of the nation’s small businesses rely on credit cards to help fund their daily operations, according to the National Small Business Association.

Yet as the economy worsens, entrepreneurs are seeing their interest rates going up and their credit limits going down. With credit card delinquency as high as 12 percent among small business owners, bankers and credit card companies say the only way to decrease the risk in their portfolios is to make some changes with their small business accounts. As a result, nearly three-quarters of small businesses have seen a large cut in their credit limits over the last six months. Now that access to both bank loans and credit cards is hard to come by, where can the nation’s 27 million small business owners turn for funding?

Enter factoring. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs across the nation are in desperate need of a factoring firm that understands the intricacies of today’s funding marketplace.

If you think about it, the process of factoring receivables is very similar to using a credit card. For example, many small business owners use a credit card to purchase additional inventory and then pay down that bill as their customers pay them. With factoring, a business owner could just as easily sell his/her invoices to an invoice factoring firm and receive cash immediately on those invoices. In turn, they can use the cash to purchase additional inventory. In both instances, the business owner has readily available cash to purchase more supplies. In fact, the two funding mechanisms sound almost exactly the same.

However, there is one very important difference. When credit card companies and banks define a credit line and interest rate for a small business credit card, it’s based on the financial strength of the small business or its owner. During an economic recession, credit card companies view the normal ups and downs of a struggling small business as too risky. However, with factoring, the credit decision is not based on the business’ credit at all. Rather, the lending decision is based on the creditworthiness of the company’s customers. Keep in mind that small businesses routinely sell to larger, more established companies. Because these companies are financially sound, they have the ability to continue paying their vendors, even during an economic decline. So in other words, when business owners use factoring, they can literally leverage the creditworthiness of their customers, which leads to lower fees and higher credit limits.

Now as I previously stated, there are 27 million small business owners in America right now who could be looking for another form of invoice funding because of the current state of the economy. Factoring is the perfect funding solution for those entrepreneurs who are unable to qualify for a traditional line of credit or are having difficulty negotiating reasonable rates on a small business credit card.

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