Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are the backbone of the economy, but they often face more financial challenges that impact their overall growth and success. One of the biggest challenges businesses face today is managing their cash flow. Even profitable businesses can experience cash flow gaps that make it difficult to pay bills, invest in growth opportunities, or handle unexpected expenses. That's where a working line of credit comes in.
A working line of credit is a flexible borrowing arrangement that provides businesses with access to cash they can borrow as needed. Instead of getting a lump sum of money upfront, businesses can draw from their credit line when they need it and pay back what they've borrowed over time.
Now more than ever, securing a working line of credit is an essential part of planning for the future of small to midsize businesses. Recent data has experts predicting a credit crunch on the horizon, which will make borrowing money more competitive and expensive for SMBs. Firms should act quickly to secure a working line of credit now, so that later on they have the necessary capital to remain competitive and cover their expenses during any periods of economic instability.
Why is securing a working line of credit so crucial for SMBs?
There are several reasons why securing a working line of credit is especially important for SMBs. These include:
- Managing Cash Flow Gaps: With fewer resources and assets than enterprises, SMBs rely heavily on credit to cover costs when their cash is low. A working line of credit helps businesses manage cash flow gaps that may arise due to slow-paying customers, seasonal fluctuations, or unexpected expenses.
- Investing in Growth Opportunities: A working line of credit allows businesses to invest in growth opportunities like product line expansions, hiring more staff, or opening new locations. Having access to a line of credit helps businesses take advantage of these opportunities, grow their customer base, and increase revenue.
- Keeping Operations Running Smoothly: Securing a working line of credit can be the difference between success and failure for small to midsize businesses. It provides businesses with quick access to cash when they need it, so they can focus on their core operations rather than constantly worrying about how they will pay their bills or cover unexpected costs.
Why should teams secure a working line of credit before a tumultuous economic landscape?
Economic downturns can cause unforeseeable changes in the market and sudden shifts in supply and demand. Businesses that are financially unprepared for these changes may be forced to cut back on operations, reduce staff, or even permanently close their doors.
A working line of credit in place enables businesses to continue operating as normal, even during times of economic uncertainty. It provides quick access to cash when it's needed most, allowing businesses to respond to emergencies, pursue new opportunities, and keep things running smoothly.
Traditional Banks vs Online Lenders: How to Choose Between Credit Lenders
So, how can SMBs go about securing a working line of credit? There are two main options: online lenders and banks. Below we provide an overview of each option, along with a list of pros and cons so you can carefully weigh your options.
Traditional banks are a reliable source for working lines of credit, as they offer more advantageous terms and interest rates compared to online lenders. That said, they typically require businesses to have a good credit history, a well-defined repayment plan, and proof of profitability before approving a loan. While this can be time-consuming and difficult for some businesses, those who get approved most often benefit from lower interest rates versus businesses who seek credit from online lenders.
- Lower interest rates and fees: Banks are often able to offer lower interest rates and fees to customers versus online lenders. This is because they have more working capital to lend out.
- Established Reputation: Traditional banks have been around for decades, and they have a strong reputation for stability and reliability. This tried and true history provides a sense of security to their clients.
- Personalized Service: With brick-and-mortar locations, traditional banks can offer face-to-face interactions, which may lead to more personalized service and a better understanding of your business's unique needs.
- Additional Services: Traditional banks provide a wide range of financial services, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and merchant services. This can make it convenient to have all your banking needs under one roof.
- Stringent Requirements: Traditional banks typically have strict lending criteria, making it more difficult for small businesses or those with less-than-perfect credit to secure a working line of credit.
- Lengthy Application Process: Applying for a line of credit through a traditional bank can be time-consuming, with lengthy paperwork and slow approval processes. This is not ideal for those looking to quickly secure a working line of credit for their business.
- Limited Flexibility: Traditional banks often have less flexibility in their lending terms and conditions, making it challenging for businesses to find a customized solution that meets their specific needs.
- May require collateral or a personal guarantee: Traditional banks may also require collateral or a personal guarantee for certain loans, adding an extra level of risk to the borrower.
Online lenders usually provide faster and easier credit applications than banks, in exchange for significantly higher interest rates. They're known for having more relaxed requirements and can approve loans in a matter of days or even hours, making them ideal for businesses that either need quick access to funds or firms that don't meet the strict lending standards set by traditional banks.
- Fast and Easy Application Process: Online lenders often have streamlined application processes, which saves time and effort for busy and lean SMB teams.
- Flexible Borrowing Terms: Online lenders are known to offer more flexible lending terms and repayment options, making it easier for businesses to find a solution that suits their unique needs.
- Higher Approval Rates: Many online lenders boast quick approval times, sometimes within hours or days, which can be crucial when businesses need access to funds quickly.
- Less Personal Interaction: Online lenders have limited opportunities for face-to-face interactions, which can make it harder to build a personal relationship with your lender.
- Higher Interest Rates: Online lenders often charge higher interest rates and fees compared to traditional banks, which quickly hikes up your overall borrowing cost.
- Potential Security Concerns: When dealing with online lenders, businesses should ensure they choose a reputable provider to minimize the risk of security breaches or fraud.
- Fewer Regulations and Oversight: Online lenders are subject to fewer regulations and oversight than traditional banks. This can leave customers vulnerable to predatory lending practices and limited protections.
Why Choose Centime
When it comes to securing a working line of credit, businesses historically had to choose between a traditional bank and an online lender. Today's teams now have a third option with Centime. Our innovative platform provides a seamless online experience, flexible lending terms with competitive rates, and personalized service, along with backing from FNBO, a 150-year-old financial institution.
By combining Centime's innovative platform with FNBO's vast experience, our clients enjoy the best of both worlds: cutting-edge technology paired with a solid foundation from a reputable banking partner. This collaboration powers businesses to quickly apply for and receive access to a working line of credit so they can manage cash flow, invest in growth opportunities, and navigate through challenging times - all while maintaining the highest standards of security and reliability.
With Centime, you'll enjoy:
- A simple, fast, and secure application process
- Reliable, trusted service with backing from FNBO
- Flexible lending terms and repayment options
- Competitive interest rates
- Personalized service from a team of experienced professionals
At Centime, we believe in offering an exceptional blend of technology, personalized service, and competitive rates to help businesses thrive in today's competitive landscape. Ready to better manage your cash flow, invest in growth opportunities, and keep your operations running smoothly? Check out our most recent webinar to learn how Centime can help your team secure credit quickly and get you the cash you need.