What To Do When You Lose Funding Amid a Pandemic
Losing funding is devastating to a business at any time, but the ongoing crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up banking on a massive scale which makes keeping your business functioning financially even more difficult. We already know government programs like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) were given out on a first-come, first-served basis and many small businesses were left out in the cold. Even with subsequent rounds of funding, many businesses were unable to qualify for various reasons including, in some cases, their banking relationships.
Other businesses were faced with being notified by their financial institutions that lines of credit were being suspended, small business owners who were depending on their home equity to take a line of credit were found those lines were suspended, and still, others learned banks were not accepting new applications for loans. Where does this leave business owners who need capital to maintain their current business operation or to expand their operation?
Why Financials Institutions Are Decreasing Their Lending Availability
The COVID-19 pandemic has financial institutions making changes in how they do business. One of the more prevalent trends we may see are financial institutions taking measures to counteract increased risk with their lending practices. There are specific reasons behind this change including:
- The continued economic fallout from COVID-19 – banks do not like uncertainty and lending in today’s environment can potentially be riskier than ever because they are not able to accurately predict the continued economic challenges which commercial and retail clients may face.
- Liquidity issues – financial institutions are not free from the economics of COVID-19. Many are facing their own issues with reduced liquidity making to fund extensions of credit and renewals of revolving lines of credit. In certain situations, capital may only be allocated to the most profitable business loans. They will be ready to shed under and non-performing loans. Banks may also be minimizing their exposure to nonessential lending services (such as investment banking, international expansions, etc.) that consume considerable amounts of capital.
- Risk assessment standards – portfolio risk thresholds are being reassessed. Financial institutions have or will be, implementing more stringent underwriting standards and tightening their policies for extending credit. This makes it harder for small businesses to secure new financing or renew their current facility. The historical financial performance of their clients and other previously relied upon metrics may no longer be relevant risk indicators.
These factors and others impacting financial institutions mean business owners need contingency plans to access the capital they need. Business owners also need to be prepared for potentially losing an existing line of credit when they need it most. While this is important DURING the pandemic, the same could be true for any time your funding lines are interrupted.
Finding an Alternative Funding Source for Long-Term Success
Given these challenges, more businesses are finding they fall outside the acceptable risk threshold to access and retain lines of credit as well as more traditional business funding.
When faced with financial demands or an opportunity to expand operations, some business owners may feel pressured to reach out to private investors and offer a piece of equity in their company. There are other options businesses can consider including working with vendors to extend credit terms, taking out a personal loan, or invoice factoring. Each has the potential to provide you the capital you need on relatively short notice. Joseph Ingrassia, the Managing Member for Capstone Capital Group, LLC, provides insight and points of consideration for each in a recent Forbes Expert Panel article on Funding Your Business with a Personal Loan? 14 Things to Consider First and also in Emergency Business Funding: A Look at Your Options.
Business owners should avoid taking steps that could damage them financially. For example, these include hard money lenders, credit card advances, and merchant cash advances (MCAs). These options may be available to you but in the long-run, they could harm your business financially as they typically come with high-interest rates and will create a never-ending cycle of debt.
Converting accounts receivable to immediate cash through invoice factoring makes sense from a practical point of view. Here are some of the reasons why this option is a good one:
- No new debt on your balance sheet
- No need to give up equity in your business
- Personal liability is limited
- You have control and flexibility — factor all your invoices or only specific ones
- The fastest method of obtaining cash for your immediate business needs
While banks may prefer to lend to businesses with only positive financial performance, stable cash flows, and predictable revenues, factor companies, such as Capstone, can often work beyond these issues and provide funding based on the quality and strength of a business owner’s accounts receivable. Also, businesses often turn to invoice factoring for their cash flow needs as the approval process is simpler and faster than the underwriting process at a bank. That means businesses have quicker access to crucial working capital.
This is one option, among others that we can help establish to help your business meet your financing needs. Capstone continues to be a leader in developing customized plans for businesses in a wide range of industries to help them meet their capital needs. Whether you are currently facing uncertainty in your funding, or you want to have a plan in place which eliminates the need to take on new debt from your bank, contact Capstone by email at [email protected] or call us at (212) 755-3636. Let us help design a customized financing package that works for your business.