In the midst of the global economic crisis, many small businesses are on the brink of closing down if not enough capital infusion is found. It is now even more difficult to get small business loans from banks, though. Ironically, the exact reasons why small businesses need such small business loans – the fact that business has slowed down and profitability has plummeted – are the same reasons why banks turn them down for loans.
Small businesses now have to be more resourceful in finding alternatives to small business loans.
Government Grants and Contracts Instead of Small Business Loans
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama in February 2009 caused the pumping of billions of dollars for the revitalization of the economy. Because of it, there are plenty of government grants and contracts available to small businesses. These can be alternatives to small business loans.
But how can small businesses avail of the stimulus program?
The Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) has the responsibility for helping small businesses obtain and perform federal, state and local government contracts. It has Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) throughout the country, ready to help small business owners to get registered and find opportunities in the area of government grants and contracts. Counselors assist small businesses in filling out bids, proposals and quotations.
The PTAC holds seminars teaching small business owners all the ins and outs of government legalese, including acronyms and registries. A one-day seminar with PTAC covers what small business owners may take months to learn on their own.
The PTAC then helps small businesses with Central Contractor Registration (CCR), a requirement for doing business with the federal government. This registration can be so complicated that some companies take two days to do it when the PTAC counselor can help them get through it in 15 minutes.
Local PTACs will be of help in acquiring state and municipal contracts.
Other resources that small business owners should consult include the Small Business Administration (SBA) which also coordinates with the APTAC; the General Services Administration (GSA) which acts as the government’s purchasing department and provides information on becoming an approved vendor; the Federal Business Opportunities website (fbo.gov) where federal contract opportunities currently available are posted; and the Small Business Innovation Research website (sbir.gov) where grant and funded research opportunities for small businesses are listed.
Cash Advances from Credit Card Services Instead of Small Business Loans
Another alternative to small business loans are cash advances from credit card services. This option is much easier than winning government grants and contracts.
Most small businesses are already availing of credit card services that enable them to accept payments by credit cards or debit cards. This is practically a requirement to doing business these days, with people hardly paying cash for goods and services. Many small business owners do not know that they could avail of cash advances from these credit card services, though, and that such advances can actually equal small business loans.
The amount that a small business can borrow is based on its average monthly income from credit card sales. This is so because the cash advance does not require collateral and future sales receivables from credit cards stand as the collateral. Payment will also be done through automatic deductions from those future credit card sales. There will be no set monthly amortizations. Instead, a certain percentage of the sales will be allotted as payment. The small business owner, therefore, need not worry over where to find cash for loan payments.
Cash advances from credit card services are the best bet of small business owners as alternatives to small business loans.