Business referral network

­­­­­­­­­­­­6 ways to expand your business referral network

A strong business referral network can bring new life to your business strategy, but they don’t happen by accident.

Business referral network

It takes time and effort to foster a high-quality business referral network that you can count on. But while you probably already know that building those relationships is essential for business success, you might still be avoiding giving it the attention it deserves. Maybe you’re focusing on other priorities…maybe you don’t have time to network…or maybe you’re not quite sure how to get started.

Building a high-quality business referral network doesn’t have to be a chore. It can actually be strategic while still being enjoyable.

Treating referrals as a business development pipeline instead of a casual, ad hoc exercise is the first step. As Harvard Business Review explained, building and sustaining relationships can help business leaders solve problems, uncover new insights, and achieve business outcomes. So we’ve gathered a few strategies you can use to strengthen your relationship building skills and increase referrals:

1. Diversify your business referral network to build new relationships

Staying inside the same network or circle can deepen existing relationships, but it can be hard to develop new ones. Instead, go outside of your immediate circle of acquaintances and begin meeting new people in adjacent circles — and beyond. Looking at your second-degree connections can be a less intimidating starting point, for example, with a partner supplier, vendor or one of their trusted customers.

2. Put as much into your business referral network as you expect to receive

Effective business relationships require a give-and-take from both parties. Offer and deliver your expertise and assistance. Connect colleagues, clients and partners, or share industry information others would find useful. This will encourage those in your network to reciprocate when you also need a helping hand.

3. Recognize and thank those in your business referral network

Whether with a phone call, email, holiday card, or handwritten note, acknowledgment of a referral encourages partners to refer even more. They see you appreciate the fact they’re helping you achieve your business goals, increasing the chances they’ll refer more in the future. Who doesn’t like to hear « Thank you » every once in a while?

4. Invest quality time with key relationships

As your circle grows, it will be hard to spend time with everyone. So you must determine which relationships are the key connections to your growth. These relationships will generate higher returns in the short and long term and are worth spending time on. Don’t spend as much time nurturing the ones that aren’t providing you value, and you may consider ‘retiring’ other referral contacts that have consistently fallen short. Remember, more is not always better. It’s the quality of the relationship, not the quantity.

Read: 5 steps to grow an outstanding referral partnership

5. Pay attention to the local social and business landscape

Your community already has bonds, loyalties and networks of its own. It’s time to make them work for you. Research events happening in your community, whether it be on your local Chamber of Commerce website, in your partners’ social news feeds, or in industry publications. Keep track of conferences, tradeshows and meetups where your referral network may be attending. Recognize the ebb and flow of your community — then get involved where possible. Bonus: You might even open up areas to gain a new competitive advantage along the way.

6. Prune, nurture and reshape your network often

A business network is a dynamic, living thing that will grow and contract over time. You should cultivate relationships with partners essential to your business growth and eliminate the ones who are no longer useful — which can sometimes even mean customers. Revisit your network regularly so you can see which relationships you should continue to nurture. Work this tactic into your ongoing business plan and make it a business objective to keep your network trim but powerful.

Focusing on relationship building as a business pipeline can have a dramatic effect on your business. It takes time to develop them to the point where referrals come through to you consistently. Following these strategies will be part of building your own process to grow a successful business network.

Read more about how to leverage referral partnerships to increase your sales. And learn more about our Liquid Capital Referral Partner Program if you are a commercial finance professional, a BDO, or a banking professional that is interested in extending your network.

About Liquid Capital

At Liquid Capital, we understand what it takes for small, medium, and emerging mid-market businesses to succeed – because we’re business people ourselves. Our company is built on a network of locally owned and operated Principal Offices, so whenever you’re talking to Liquid Capital you’re talking directly to your funding source and a fellow business person.

Business Growth Strategies

7 business growth strategies for a healthy financial new year

A new year means new opportunities for your small business. Start planning with these top business growth strategies for 2020. 

Business Growth Strategies - Start planning for 2020

The final rush of the year usually means many small and medium-sized business owners are focused on hitting sales targets, ensuring contracts are fulfilled and that staff will help make it through the holiday rush. But this time of year, you’re likely also trying to plan for the year ahead. 

Developing a business growth strategy for a new year can be a daunting task filled with uncertainty. Business owners may even forgo planning and stick with the status quo. But some careful planning can unveil areas of opportunity, expose unnecessary expenses and set up their business so it can withstand anything the economy throws at it. 

Whether you’re hoping to hold steady or expand your business next year, here are some of our top business growth strategies that you should keep in mind as you forge ahead.

1. Create a business budget

A business budget helps you allocate resources, control costs, set prices, plan for expansion and, generally speaking, make better decisions for your SMB. It’ll keep you on track for a positive, successful year, while also giving you performance information about your business. You’ll know, at a glance, how well you’re doing by comparing your numbers to your forecasted budget. (Plus, if you ever need to secure funding, you’ll need to create one to show the lender.)

2. Have an emergency fund

This is a classic piece of advice, but a good one for any business to follow. An emergency fund helps you deal with unexpected costs whenever they may arise and can get your SMB back in action right away. Start building your emergency fund into your financial planning now and redirect some of your income into it today. Your business will thank you later.

3. Reduce long-term costs

Instead of just looking at ways to reduce your « regular » fixed costs such as the electric bill for your office, how about looking at your long-term fixed costs? These are things like software subscriptions and year-long leases or agreements. 

By switching from a long-term to a short-term agreement or subscription, you’ll enjoy more flexibility. Yes, you’ll sacrifice some of your profits to pay the higher rate, but you’ll feel better knowing you can scale down your fixed costs whenever you need to. That peace of mind might outweigh the additional cost.

4. Reduce uncollected revenues

In the enterprise world, interest and late fees are the norm. Vendors and customers who run afoul of payment dates are penalized appropriately. SMBs, however, may be hesitant to do this for fear of offending and losing their customers. But when a customer is late paying you, you’re essentially lending them money, which can have a wide range of negative impacts on your financials. So consider offsetting your losses from late-paying customers by charging penalty fees.

Want to get ahead of late-paying customers and accounts receivable challenges? Consider factoring your invoices to get more working capital upfront. Here’s how it works.

5. Understand your winners and losers

That is, your product winners and losers. Chances are you probably have a few that offer high returns and great value to your customers. Investing in these can bring higher profits. On the flip side, you’ve probably got other products that aren’t performing to expectations. It can be a hard call to retire those, but once you realize you’re spending far more on development, production and marketing than you’re receiving in revenue, it’s much easier to do.

6. Encourage customers to buy during your slow times

Every business experiences slow periods throughout the year, and when nobody’s buying, you’ll need a proactive plan to incentivize your customers. Brainstorm ideas on how your products can provide great value and then market them appropriately. You could use the same strategies to market your existing products year-round (like a « Christmas in July » promotion), or offering complementary services to your business. For example, if you’re a landscaper, offer snow plowing in the winter. Or if you’re a manufacturer, offer a Spring Super Savings discount to preferred customers who haven’t yet placed orders.

7. Eliminate unprofitable clients

Stop working with slow or late-paying customers and you’ll immediately save money. By freeing up time to work with higher-paying customers, it can lead to more income. The key is to focus on customers who deliver greater profitability for your business and eliminating the ones who don’t. Review your customer roster regularly and trim the lower-value customers as needed.

With a few financial tweaks, your business can be set for success in 2020.

Using these business growth strategies can help you reduce expenses, save time and, most important, improve your overall financial health. Find out more about how we can help

About Liquid Capital

At Liquid Capital, we understand what it takes for small, medium, and emerging mid-market businesses to succeed – because we’re business people ourselves. Our company is built on a network of locally owned and operated Principal Offices, so whenever you’re talking to Liquid Capital you’re talking directly to your funding source and a fellow business person.

 

3 more warning signs of a business downturn

Is a business downturn on the way? Spot these signs and then take action immediately.

Business turnover — Get ahead of the problems

Ups and downs are part of business life. A short-term slump doesn’t always signify an impending disaster. Even so, if a slump lasts for several months, there could be a larger challenge on the horizon. 

We’ve already seen five warning signs that your business could be failing, so now let’s look at three more warning signs of a business downturn:

1. Inventory is rising

An increase in the value of your inventory could mean that you’re purchasing more than you’re selling. It could also mean that the cost of your inventory is rising. Whatever the reasons behind an increase in inventory, it is not usually good news. Excessive inventory could be a sign of a deeper problem with the business, and it ties up cash.

2. You’re constantly fighting fires

If a business is about to enter a free fall, the CEO or business owner will often be called upon to fight fires. Spending more time on the day-to-day management of the business may be a sign that the staff can’t cope. Your employees are leaving it up to you make decisions such as who should get paid and who should not. This is not because your employees are unable to make the decisions. Your team is not making decisions because they realize that these decisions are now crucial to the future of the business.

3. You’re paying yourself less money

If you have stopped paying yourself to save some cash, that’s an obvious sign that something is not right. Reducing how much money you take out of the business may provide a temporary fix, but it’s not a long-term solution. If the business can no longer afford to pay you, it’s time to make some changes.

 

There’s strength in knowing the signs of a business downturn.

The sooner you spot the signs that your business may be failing, the sooner you can act to remedy the situation. That’s why it is so important that business owners and CEOs never take their fingers off the pulse of their business. Reviewing trends and key performance indicators (KPIs) can seem like a chore, especially if the business appears to be healthy. But tracking financial KPIs will help you spot the underlying signs that something is going wrong and give you the time to fix it.

For best practices in managing cash flow to keep your business healthy, access the Cash Cycle Guide or click the image below to get your own downloadable copy.

Ultimate Cash Cycle Guide

5 warning signs that your business is failing

Businesses generally don’t fail overnight. There are warning signs that a business is struggling long before the situation becomes critical. If you can spot these signs early enough, you’ll be able to take steps to mitigate – and hopefully reverse – the decline. Ignoring these signs may lead to passing the point of no return. 

Here are five warning signs that your business could be in decline.

1. Keep an eye on overall activity

It can take time for a slump in sales to manifest itself in the accounts and cash flow. And ongoing business from existing customers may hide the decline in new sales. So it’s important to keep an eye out for a general decline in business activity month over month. Your sales team might have fewer appointments than usual, for example. Or, you might notice that the phone doesn’t ring as often as it used to.

2. Are you experiencing higher employee turnover?

A sharp increase in employee turnover could be a sign that something isn’t right. It could be a general lack of morale or dissatisfaction with pay that is causing the problem. Or it could be a management style issue. Aside from the usual suspects, it could also be a sign that employees have seen something that you have missed. If employees see the writing on the wall, they won’t hang around until the bitter end, and instead will start looking for new jobs straight away.

3. Are you taking longer to pay suppliers than you used to?

It’s not unusual to need to pay suppliers late once in a while. However, it’s a bad sign if this has become normal practice, and if you start to receive final notices and demands for payments, that is a big red flag. You will spot the trend earlier if you keep a watchful eye on your accounts payable “average days to pay” ratio.

Related: Is cash flow stressing you out? Here’s what to do

4. Watch out for negative cash flow

A steady increase in your use of credit facilities is a sign that you have a cash flow problem. Using more credit means that the business is being supported by finance rather than by equity and sales revenues. The amount of finance that you are using may fluctuate from one month to the next, and a gradual increase in the use of an overdraft facility may not get noticed at first. Even so, an increasing reliance on credit indicates that there is an underlying problem with the business.

5. Keep an eye on sales trends

Another trend that needs tracking over time is the business turnover. One month of lower than usual sales is no reason to panic. If there is a steady downward trend over several months, though, it is cause for concern.

 

It’s very easy for an owner to look at their accounts and business through rose-tinted glasses. No one wants to learn that their business is in trouble, and it can be a hard fact to accept. Don’t ignore worrying trends or convince yourself that things will get better next month. Take action now and you will be in better control of the overall business.

Up Next: 3 more warning signs of a business downturn

Can redesigning my client base create a healthier business?

It’s not you, it’s me: 3 times to say goodbye to a business relationship in order to build the business you want.

Create a healthier business

If you’re one of the lucky ones, business is easy. Your customers know what they want, you know how to deliver it, and the transactions leave nothing on the table.

However, for most owners and entrepreneurs, business is tough. You put a lot of energy into each of your customers and accounts, you’re constantly worried about the end result, and in the few times when you have a moment’s rest, you sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. (We’ve all been there.)

Of course, your revenue and sales are important, but so is your time, energy and enjoyment. After all, you likely started working for yourself so that you had more freedom and could love what you do. If you now feel like you’ve started to sacrifice too much at the risk of your original goals, it could be time to update your strategy, move in another direction, focus on key customers and streamline your accounts.

Here are a few signs that could help you make the difficult choice of when to say goodbye:

 

1. The account takes up too much of your time

We often think about “product” as the main commodity in a business relationship, but sometimes it’s more important to think about the less tangible costs: the effort it takes to sell that product. If you have a long-term client that regularly makes use of your business, or places large orders, you might be tempted to keep them at all costs — especially if the account is profitable on paper.

But it might be worth thinking about how much time you spend with them on each purchase. Does that time add up to extra expenses, and is the account as profitable as you think? Factor in your team’s time as well, and consider what you could be doing with that time otherwise. Could it make more sense to work with a few smaller customers instead?

 

2. Late invoice payments

Similarly, if you expect future business from a customer, you’re more likely to forgive lapses in timely payment. That works for some businesses, but for others with thinner margins, a late payment can mean not having the equity to pay your invoices.

If you have a customer who is habitually late in paying their invoices, it might be worth rethinking how reliable their orders actually are. Another option, of course, is to think about a factoring service. (Learn more about what that means here.)

 

3. Unrealistic expectations

It’s not necessarily a bad thing for a customer to be demanding. It can actually push you to learn new skills, add more products and services, or even bring on team members that can help your business expand further.

When it crosses the line, however, is when those demands aren’t possible to fulfill. Short timelines, changing goals, impossible standards and other problem requests don’t just take up your time (see #1), they strain your employees. And over the long-term, these unrealistic expectations may decrease your quality of life and the quality of your service for other customers.

 

This doesn’t mean that adjusting your accounts and client base is always the answer, but you should consider it one of the possible areas to address. Naturally, entrepreneurs and business owners are resilient, but when your energy starts to fade, your quality of work often goes with it.

At the end of the day, don’t sacrifice your quality of delivery and potential for continued success for something you could have fixed. It’s important to assess your current situation and spot the warning signs — then get ahead of it quickly.

Man Typing On Laptop

4 extra ways to get ROI from your web-based projects

web-based projects

When you invest in your small business, making sure you get a solid ROI is always crucial. With web-based projects, you can take additional steps to ensure the benefits of those projects will be maximized.

Here are four ways (beyond the regular website tools) that can help enhance your web-based projects and ensure long-term success for your digital strategy.

1. Make your digital content more accessible

Consider using an automated transcription service to translate your audio or visual content into readable text for hearing-impaired consumers. This can help you reach a broader customer base by giving more people access to your content, products and services. ADA requirements in the US and accessibility rules in Canada can also apply to your site, so read through the regulations for your business, which could help protect you from lawsuits and costly legal issues.

When using an automated transcription service, you’ll want to limit background noise and utilize the highest quality audio to get the most accurate transcription. Using a service such as this will also allow your team to focus on other tasks, rather than filling up your schedule on this time-consuming process.

2. Hire creatively to help launch projects

web-based projects hiring employees

When your business is growing, you may quickly need more staff. For web-based projects, you may be tempted to turn to part-time employees as a way to get help without having to shell out for benefits or bigger salaries. But when a part-time employee starts to work more often, especially when business picks up and project hours go well into overtime, it can be a tricky line to tread.

This is why many companies are hiring project-based help from gig apps instead. These part-time gig workers operate more like contract employees, but you can also find candidates on these apps who can fill permanent part-time positions, or even eventually full-time. This offers you a lot more flexibility, especially when project scope isn’t yet fully defined.

3. Turn to marketing pros to brand your business

Your web-based projects should also match your small business brand. Not sure what those standards are for your company? Then you might benefit from the services of a marketing professional who understand branding and how to tie that into your online presence.

Marketing consultant, Shane Barker, suggests that small businesses create a brand that sticks with customers and evokes strong emotions, and then ensure that brand flows through any online or social media presence. If that sounds too complicated to achieve alone, consider starting the search to hire a consultant instead.

4. Don’t overlook cybersecurity

web-based projects cybersecurity

Although you want people to know your business, it shouldn’t be because of a catastrophic data breach. Up to 60% of small businesses impacted by data breaches close up shop in less than a year after experiencing a major breach, and those that survive are left with thousands of dollars in recovery costs. So it is absolutely imperative that you protect any information that could be exposed to cyberattacks during your web-based improvements.

If you don’t have in-house IT expertise, one of the best ways to get help and assess your overall risk is to invest in cybersecurity consultant services. These experts can easily identify vulnerabilities that could leave your business open to an attack, help you create a strategic plan for preventing a breach, and save you valuable time in the process.

 

Any small business project that requires time and money, including web-based projects, needs to provide a healthy return to be worthwhile. By leaving some room in your budget to invest in the right help and resources, you can boost that ROI and take your business to the next level.

 

Up Next: 5 ways technology can help your small business grow

 

Featured image by Tyler Franta on Unsplash

Businesswomen In Boardroom Meeting

Streamline your HR to put your people first

Every business is a people business. Here are common HR mistakes that can cost you time and money, but that you can fix quickly.

Streamline your HR to put your people first

It’s impossible to do business without people.

Even if you don’t have an autonomous HR department, organizing, managing, hiring and monitoring those people are essential parts of any company’s process. That means, of course, that the more people you employ, the more work you’ll have to sink into those functions.

Something many businesses struggle with, however, is balancing effective HR practices with their bottom line. With so much involved, it’s easy to let HR become a major time sink, but it can be avoided with some careful planning.

Here’s how you can begin to streamline your HR function and make sure your efforts are working for you and not against you.

Step One: Digitize 

It might go without saying, but these days there’s no excuse for not having a digital records system. It’s not just important to store HR records digitally — such as pay details, employee histories and contracts. It’s also important to be able to see them at-a-glance.

Step Two: Develop a filing system

Make sure all of your records are stored in the same way. You can waste hours over the course of a year if all of your folders are organized differently, and if you’re tracking employee information in different ways.

Step Three: Keep track

HR admin and tracking

No matter who is in charge of the HR function, that person has to be constantly aware of information including benefits, vacation time and pay schedules. Most importantly, though, that person has to communicate with the accounting department to ensure that everything meshes.

If you need to pay your employees (or contractors) on a certain day, you’ll need to know that you have the funds available to do it. That also includes managing your cash flow cycle, which you can learn more about in this handy resource.

Step Four: Get Help

There are numerous new software solutions on the market today for businesses looking for a top-of-the-line HR management portal. Look for one that suits your size of business and your income, and you’ll be able to supervise all of your HR tasks in one easy platform.

 

Up Next: Making sure you safely store your business contracts

Working on tablet

5 ways technology can help your small business grow

Many people assume that only big, international companies can gain something from new technologies. But in reality, even a small business can find the right solution to grow and expand into new markets. It could even be easier than you might think.

After all, most of us use the internet all the time in our daily lives, and a little extra online promotion in the right areas can go a long way to increasing your revenue. With a good marketing strategy, you might even be surprised how much you can achieve.

1. Tell your clients who you are

In your daily life, when you’re looking for a great place to visit on your next vacation or for a reliable mechanic to fix your car, your first step is most likely trying to find them online. It’s no different in business and for your clients, so it’s important to use online tools to attract new customers. The first step is creating a professional website for your business. Make sure to include all your contact information, but also a detailed description of your products and services. Another good idea is to start a blog where you’ll be able to share interesting news about your industry and new solutions that you offer.

2. Use social media to get your message across

Think about how many people use social media and how many of them could be new clients. There’s a lot of potential on different social networks, but first you’ll first need to connect with people and gain a following. To do that, start by posting relevant and interesting content to engage with your audience in a natural way. Find ways to stand out by offering a unique perspective on topics that showcase your expertise, and offer solutions to problems that your customers may face.

You don’t necessarily have to create accounts on all available platforms, as it can be difficult to manage all of that content and potential responses. At the end of the day, it may be more beneficial to have just one profile but with regular updates.

3. Find the best solutions for your company

There are many apps and programs you can use to improve the way your business operates. From calendars to invoicing systems, you’ll find a solution to every problem you may encounter. And even if you won’t be able to find something that will meet your specific requirements, you can look for bespoke options. But remember that even a software company located internationally can have better solutions for your business than a similar one in your area. To find the best one for your company, you should focus more on their portfolio than on their location.

4. Improve communication

With new technology, you’ll be able to communicate without any trouble. And you could even save on your communication bills at the same time, as contacting your international clients won’t be a problem. Plus, by enabling your employees to talk to one another online, you’ll see their productivity rising. That’s because they’ll be able to access all the necessary information in the fastest possible way, without having to walk across the office to find an answer. In modern business, everything is about being efficient, and using the internet can help you achieve this goal.

5. Keep your data secure

You need to make sure your business network and your website are secured with strong passwords. It’s also a good idea to keep backup storage for all your data. The most convenient way is probably storing your files in the cloud, which will also allow you to access all the necessary information easily no matter where you are. Plus, giving access to specific documents to people who need them will be a matter of seconds.

 

Technology is constantly changing our lives, and it’s affecting how we run our companies as well. There’s no reason to ignore the opportunities offered by the internet. You have a lot to gain, so look for solutions that will work best for you and be ready to take your business to the next level.

Office desk calculator

Spend money wisely & cut costs with these 5 business tips

Get this small business budgeting advice to make sure you don’t break your budget as you plan for future growth. Spend money wisely, cut costs and tap into more business success.

Spend money wisely

One of the greatest challenges of running a business is managing money. If you aren’t smart about your spending, it will be impossible for your small business to grow. Follow these budgeting tips to save your business from future financial trouble.

1. Set a realistic budget

A realistic, detailed budget will help you stay on track of your business spending. When creating your plan, don’t inflate your projected sales, as that could cause an array of avoidable financial problems for your business. It’s also important to be tally any and all business expenses, while also trying to forecast or leave room for unexpected costs that may arise.

Remember, your business will continue to evolve over time and both expenses and revenues will fluctuate. Because of these ups and downs, your budget will need constant updating and re-evaluating. Make it a priority to monitor your plan regularly, keep a very close eye on what you are spending, and adjust your budget where necessary.

2. Enlist a professional

Every business owner knows how stressful it is to run a business, and if you get certain things wrong, you run the risk of losing money and wasting valuable time. No matter how big or small your business is, you can’t possibly do the job all on your own.

For example, there may be areas that you are unfamiliar with, such as tax management, where you’ll need extra help. In particular, taxes can be complicated and require a lot of attention to detail — making it easy to misunderstand, especially as a new business owner.

To save you time and stress, enlist a professional to help you with your business finances. This will give you more time to focus on other important tasks. An expert will help you avoid crucial mistakes, and give you peace of mind that everything will go smoothly.

3. Cut out the unnecessary items

earnings and expenses

There are many creative ways to minimize your business costs, and if you’re a small business owner, you don’t need a lot of full-time staff. Outsourcing to contractors is a great way to reduce costs and save office space.

You can also save a ton of money by introducing sustainable business practices. Energy-efficient businesses have lower electricity bills, leaving more money for things that matter. If you want to find out where you’re using the most electricity in your office, conduct an energy audit. This will allow you to introduce “green” alternatives and make big savings on your energy bill.

4. Save for emergencies

Put any extra money you save into an emergency fund. Use this emergency fund to pay for unanticipated business expenses in the future. Having an extra set of funds for emergencies will save you a tonne of money and stress.

5. Get insurance

There are different types of insurance you can get, and having the right insurance will help you manage all the financial risks of your business. Without a good plan, you’ll be forced to pay for various businesses losses yourself.

When researching insurance plans, consider which areas of your business need the most protection. This may depend on what industry you’re in, your business size and the type of work you do. Consult with an insurance broker to find a plan that’s right for your business.

Managing money in any business venture requires a lot of discipline and meticulous planning. A good budget, some professional assistance and a great financial support system will be key to your success.

Cloe Matheson is a creative writer based in Dunedin, New Zealand. Check out her written work on her personal blog.

Up Next: 12 Hidden Costs Of Running Your Small Business 

Merchant Cash Advance Risks

Risk vs. reward: “Merchant cash advances” and “Invoice factoring”

Are merchant cash advances worth the risk? Here’s why you might want to think again…

Merchant Cash Advance Risks

Even with the best of contingency plans, every business will one day run into trouble with their cash cycle.

Maybe your supplier’s payment is due, but your biggest customer unexpectedly had to delay their payment to your business. Maybe you had a catastrophic breakdown in some of your equipment and don’t have the funds to cover replacement. Regardless of the reason, the end result is the same: your business needs funds quickly.

A traditional bank loan would take far too long to get approved, so you might be considering two other options: invoice factoring and a merchant cash advance (MCA).

But both options are not created equal. Here’s a quick rundown of how the two will affect your business.

Invoice Factoring

This is essentially where a funding company “purchases” your unpaid invoices at a slightly reduced rate.

If, for example, you’re awaiting a payment of $10,000 on a 60-day schedule but you need money now, invoice factoring will ensure you have access to that $10,000, minus a one-time upfront fee. Your customers can then make their payment directly to the funding company.

Learn more about invoice factoring here.

Merchant Cash Advance

Instead of purchasing your invoices, this option provides you an advance based on projected sales. If you need that $10,000, the lender will offer you the funds, but you will have to repay it (like a loan) on a payment schedule, and with a percentage on top.

Therein lie the two problems with an MCA. First, until you pay back the advance in full, you’re beholden to the lending company. If you run up against more trouble with your business, you’re still stuck with a hefty payment.

Secondly, the percentage on top is typically very high. Taken together, that leaves you with all the risk, and apart from the speed of getting the money, very little reward.

With that in mind, it’s rare that an MCA would be recommended. Instead of playing the projections lottery, focus on the money that you already have committed to you and look to invoice factoring.

 

Up Next: What’s the cost of NOT factoring?