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Sourcing for funds is a phase that most, if not all, businesses encounter every now and then. Just because you need to pool funds from external sources, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your business is facing financial turmoil. Most financial institutions use this mindset, so potential borrowers should adopt the same mindset! It should not be degrading to request financial support for this is rather a part of the business. Amazon FBA is also a business, and so all sellers should be unafraid to seek out Amazon financing options, or external financing for their Amazon Store when needed.
According to a Business Finance Survey by the British Business Bank, only 37% of companies seeking to finance is under the reason “working capital/cash flow,” which refers to the need to continue trading or for the general running of the business, and also to cover a short-term gap in the funds.
A small 2% from the same study has the reason of “refinancing.”
Challenges Small Businesses Face When Seeking Financing
Needless to say, not everyone gets approved when they request funds. There are some factors financing institutions lay the groundwork for simply because lending money to other parties is a risk in itself.
Here are some of the challenges you need to consider before starting to shop for financing options.
Poor or No Credit History
Most lending companies use credit reports to determine the potential borrower’s paying capability. It goes to show that if you had issues with a previous debt, what are the chances it won’t happen again?
A credit score of 720 happens to be the threshold. If you have a credit score above 720, you will be approved for a loan in most cases. Below this number, you need some fixing worked on. You can start by checking for accuracy on your credit report, which you can request for free once a year from one of the 3 credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax or Experian.
Limited Cash Flow
Cash flow is a measure of how much cash you have on hand to pay a loan. It is one of the first things lenders consider when gauging your business’ financial health.
We recommended that you calculate your cash flow periodically – at least every quarter.
Insufficient Operating History
Financial institutions prefer to engage with a business with significant track records. Your request for funding may be declined if your company has been operating for a while but has not sustained a certain amount of credibility.
Loan applications usually include a request for collateral in order for the requestor to receive funding. For large corporations, this is a non-issue, but for SMBs, this can be a hurdle. This is also likely the biggest challenge for online businesses. It is hard to source funds if there are no actual physical stores for collateral.
Lack of a Solid Business Plan
Lenders will want to know that your business will stay on for long, and having a solid business plan is a fundamental testament to this. This makes your loan application much more attractive. It also gives investors a good idea of how you’ll spend their money.
A standard business plan includes a brief of your company, market, products and financial reports. If you’re not sure your plan is strong enough to persuade lenders, it is advisable to talk to a business plan expert who can review it and offer feedback. Financial experts can easily spot a half-baked plan and it likely won’t be approved!
Deciding on whether you get a loan or not is not 100 percent objective. Well, ideally, it is, but there are some subjective factors that come into play, and this is where your character comes in. Two things to bear in mind when it comes to presenting with the right character: apathy and disorganization.
Some financial experts argue that most business owners present their loan application rather too methodically that they appear apathetic. You need to exude enthusiasm and a compelling faith in your venture to draw in investors and make them also a believer in your offer.
Before approaching potential lenders, make sure you have everything set properly and in order. All required documents need to be available with multiple copies, which should be clear and labeled as such. Also, fill in all relevant forms with information correctly. Sign and date all fields that need a signature & date if necessary.
The fewer trips you make to the lending company office, the more chances of your loan request getting approved. To help you organize, it is advisable to print out a loan application checklist.
Funding Options for Amazon FBA Sellers
When you run into a situation where you need to finance – whether to continue running your business or for business growth – or for any other reason, here are some of the options available to help out your Amazon FBA finances. Some of these are Amazon financing options, others are external sources.
Financing Option 1: Amazon Lending
Amazon Lending is an invitation-only short-term business loan program. It’s offered to qualified sellers and finances additional inventory to sell through the Amazon marketplace. It is a program that does not check your credit and loan amounts range between $1000 and $750,000.
To be qualified, you need to have a Seller Account in good standing and with good customer metrics. You must be an active Amazon seller and your store needs to show a steady increase in sales.
Eligibility for this program is displayed in your Seller Central dashboard.
This is not a disclosed information. The rate depends on your account and sales metrics. Some sellers, however, have reported receiving a rate anywhere between 3% and 17% APR.
How to Apply
Apply within your Seller Central account if you are eligible for Amazon financing options.
Financing Option 2: Amazon Line of Credit
Similar to Amazon Lending, Amazon Line of Credit is also an invitation-only program where the Amazon partnered with Goldman Sachs to provide eligible Amazon sellers with a Business Line of Credit. This line of credit allows sellers with the flexibility to request funds ad hoc, instead of receiving one large lump sum. Out of the mentioned Amazon financing options, this one is available only for Amazon sellers based in the United States.
Amazon and Goldman Sachs do not disclose the eligibility criteria. You will similarly see it on your Seller Account dashboard if you’re eligible. You can then open a link that will redirect you to the Goldman Sachs page to verify your eligibility and to complete your application.
Your merchant data will be thus shared with Goldman Sachs, which will then use your business revenue data to underwrite your line of credit.
The interest rates range from 6.99% to 20.99% APR. The credit limit available is up to $1 million and it uses revolving credit.
How to Apply
Application is done via a Goldman Sachs page, which you will be redirected to when you open the link from your Seller Account dashboard. Again, this is an invitation-only initiative.
Financing Option 3: FinTech Lenders
The continually growing number of online sellers gave rise to the Financial Technology Lenders or FinTech Lenders. Most banks and traditional loan institutions would sometimes decline loan requests from online shop owners because of the absence of physical stores. Luckily, now you are not limited to just banks, and you’re not even limited solely to using Amazon financing options. FinTech companies are focused on, but not limited to, providing financing assistance to ecommerce businesses.
Some of the FinTech Lenders are AccrueMe, Sellers Funding, Kabbage, and Payability.
AccrueMe offers growth capital to Amazon sellers with no monthly payments. They also do not charge any interest, but will take a small percentage of your profits so long as you’re using their money.
No credit checks and no personal guarantees needed, and funding is based on your Amazon sales. They can invest between $5,000 to $5,000,000 in your Amazon business.
Amazon sellers based in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada (Quebec not currently supported) can also request for Working Capital solutions from Sellers Funding. They use an artificial intelligence algorithm to leverage your Amazon store performance for qualification. Sellers may still be eligible if the owners reside abroad so long as the business are registered within the listed supported country.
You can request for a minimum of $20,000 USD or £25,000 GBP. You need to have at least 6 months of sales history on your ecommerce marketplace and your sales average should be at least $20,000 net sales per month or equivalent for the past three months. Finally, your company needs to be generally in good standing, and your sales metrics will be consolidated across all of your sales platforms.
An American Express company, Kabbage offers a revolving line of credit which can be used on a per-need basis. There are different loan types available to all kinds of businesses for up to $250,000 USD. The loan amount offered is based on your sales volume and you don’t pay until you start using the funds.
Payability offers capital advance as much as $250,000 USD in as quickly as 24 hours. You need to have a seller account for at least 9 months with average monthly sales of $10,000. Fees are typically between 0.5% and 1% per week, with no obligation fees. You have the option to pay your advance sooner to lower down your cost.
Financing Option 4: Merchant Cash Advances
Another way to gain access to immediate funds is through Merchant Cash Advances. These are external financing options that Amazon FBA sellers who are not eligible for Amazon financing options can consider. MCAs allow business to grow against its future earnings. The biggest perk MCAs offer is the speed of obtaining funds if approved. Sometimes, delivery of capital advances occur within hours of applying and being qualified.
Similar to FinTech Lenders, MCAs can also be applied online. They require very little to no paperwork at all. Typically, no collateral is required and no credit check is needed either.
Since MCAs are within an unregulated industry, however, interest rates tend to be higher. There might also be some varying fees depending on the company. When applying for MCAs, make sure to understand every fee associated with your loan request.
According to Business.org, the best Merchant Capital Advance companies are: Lendio, Fundbox, CanCapital, and National Business Capital.
- Loan Amount: $5,000 – $200,000.
- Loan Term: Up to 2 years.
- Time to Funds: As early as 24 hours.
- Interest Rate: Starts at 18%
- Minimum Annual Revenue: $50,000
- Requires past 4 months of bank statements or receivables.
- No collateral required.
- No credit pull.
- Request submitted via online cash advance application.
- Loan Amount: $1,000 – $150,000.
- Minimum Time in Business: 3 months.
- Interest Rate: Starts at 4.66% draw rate.
- Time to Funds: As early as next business day.
- Minimum Annual Revenue: $50,000
- You can integrate your bank account and accounting software with your Fundbox account, where you can directly draw funds from.
- To apply, you need to create a Fundbox account then click on the Apply button.
- Loan Amount: $2,500 – $250,000.
- Loan Term: Estimated at 6 to 18 months.
- Minimum Time in Business: 6 months.
- Interest Rate: Starts at 12.9%
- Time to Funds: As fast as 2 business days.
- Minimum Annual Revenue: $100,000
- The criteria for funding eligibility includes business performance.
- Some of the additional fees include: a 3% origination fee, and $595 MCA administration fee.
- To apply, fill out the online application form.
National Business Capital
- Loan Amount: $10,000 to $2,000,000.
- Minimum Time in Business: 6 months
- Time to Funds: Within a few days or even hours.
- Minimum Annual Revenue: $120,000
- No personal guarantee needed, no collateral needed.
- No minimum credit score requirement, no credit check hard pull.
- Flexible Payment Terms – no set payments, repayment is based on your day-to-day sales.
- The only paperwork required is 3 months of bank statements.
Financing Option 5: Personal Loans
Personal loans are often unsecured loans that can be used for a variety of things including business. This can be a good option for someone just starting out, without a bit of sales history yet to get them a business loan.
Being eligible for personal loans highly depends on your credit score, income, employment history, state of residence, and even your nationality.
The safest personal loan that you can apply for is still through your local bank or your credit union. Expect lots of paperwork to be required. Approval may take a few days to a few weeks.
You can also apply for personal loans with online lending companies. Just make sure you understand the terms and conditions and all the fees associated with it.
On average, personal loan interest rates vary between 10% and 28%, depending on your credit score. Credit scores of 720 and above enjoy the lower rates of 11.4% or lower, while credit scores below 680 start at 18.85%.
How to Apply
Instructions on applying for a personal loan varies depending on the lender. More often than not, these are available on the financial institution’s website.
There are definitely a lot of viable sources of funds in case you need extra financial sources. However, they should not be treated as an extension of your financial department. The best way to obtain needed funds is definitely by growing your online business into a successful ecommerce store. With your business running stable and consistent with good performance, not only you may not need to borrow financial resources, but if you would have to, then the approval chances get very high.
If you have questions or insights to share, please feel free to post them via the comments section. Please also consider joining our Facebook Group where we discuss any questions you may have about running an Amazon business.
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