(Photo by Piotr Chrobot)
No matter how successful or financially stable your business is, there’s always the risk of an unexpected emergency that costs you more money than you have on hand.
These situations are especially difficult because securing traditional bank loans can take months—far too long when your livelihood is hanging in the balance. In times like these, business owners can allow panic get the best of them, and pursue ill-advised strategies to generate cash flow, like withdrawing money from their home equity or personal retirement accounts.
What should you do instead? Take a deep breath, and consider applying for emergency small business financing from a reputable lender that can fund you quickly and at an affordable rate. Here are five of the most common uses of emergency small business loans.
1. Broken equipment
Whether you run a pizzeria and your oven suddenly stops working, or you own a metal-working shop and your milling machine breaks down, the loss of an essential piece of equipment can cause an immediate financial hardship on your small business.
Often, broken equipment can require tens of thousands of dollars to replace, or even repair. If your business absolutely depends on having the equipment in question, securing an emergency business loan will get your business up and running quickly.
2. The loss of a major account
Having 50% (or more) of your revenue come from a single client or buyer is not an ideal situation, but it’s the reality for many small businesses such as law firms and wholesalers. Losing your biggest account means taking a big financial hit in the short-term. An emergency business loan gives you the breathing room necessary to find new clients without having to lay off staff or make any other decisions you’ll regret later.
3. Delayed or unavailable product
Does your business rely on timely shipments of product from suppliers? For retail stores that need fresh product on their shelves and restaurants that have time-sensitive inventory needs, delayed deliveries and other supply issues can take you by surprise and leave you unable to fully serve your customers.
Usually, unavailable product is a temporary inconvenience, but if it turns into an ongoing problem that requires you to scramble and find new suppliers, an emergency small business loan can plug your cash flow gap so that your business can recover.
4. Computer hardware/software failure
Your business’s computing systems might be the central repository for all your customer data or the primary means for your employees to perform their jobs. Fried hard drives, corrupted software, or cyber-attacks could create tremendous disruptions that kill your productivity and demand immediate action.
In addition, having to suddenly buy new computer equipment — or hire an IT or cybersecurity firm to get you fully operational again — isn’t an expense that most small businesses plan for. According to Symantec, an IT outage costs SMBs an average of $12,500 per day, not including the effect it has on their customers. Fortunately, businesses with historically strong revenue can secure emergency small business financing to survive situations like these.
5. Natural disasters
For a small business owner, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods are true worst-case scenarios. 43% of businesses that close due to a natural disaster never reopen, and an additional 29% of businesses shut down permanently within two years of being affected by a natural disaster.
Between the cost of structural repairs and equipment replacement, to associated expenses like finding your employees a new space to work while repairs are being made, the aftermath of a natural disaster brings steep costs that are simply too much for many businesses to withstand. Still, if your business suffers only minor damage or disruption from a natural disaster, emergency small business loans can mean the difference between temporary hardship and permanent closure.
How to find emergency small business loans
When disaster strikes your small business, every minute counts. For that reason, it helps to build a relationship with a small business lender before you experience an emergency. Securing a small working capital loan from an alternative lender and paying it off responsibly will convince the lender to provide you with emergency financing at fair terms when you need it, and give you one less thing to stress out about when your business hits a rough patch.