To take your business to the next level, you’re going to need capital, otherwise you won’t be able to buy more inventory, expand your product line, or hire new employees. But because of Amazon’s two-week payment delay, your access to capital — or lack thereof — prevents you from being able to grow.
Fortunately, there are several financing options that can help you grow your Amazon business despite the two-week delay in income. Here are eight of the most common:
1. Personal Savings
It’s not uncommon for a business owner to dip into their personal savings to get their business off the ground. This is a tempting choice when it seems like you don’t have any other options, but it has its risks. Sure you have immediate access to cash at no cost, but it’s not an unlimited source of funds — and you should really keep your personal savings for your personal needs, not your business needs.
2. Credit Cards
Another common approach for early-stage Amazon sellers is to rely on credit cards. While they come with cash back and other rewards, there are spending limits and, if you don’t pay your bills on time, high-interest payments. Not to mention, using a personal credit card can put your personal credit score in jeopardy.
If you do use a credit card, opt for a business credit card instead of a personal one — doing so will allow you to build your business credit, which could improve your chances of getting other financing in the future.
Depending on what you sell, crowdfunding may be an option. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to source investment “donations” from the public in exchange for a gift or reward. Just don’t expect crowdfunding to work if you sell an already-branded product — it really only works if you’re a private label seller with a really innovative, fun product.
If your product does fit the bill for crowdfunding, don’t expect money to just pour in. You have to make a strong case for support and market your page, otherwise you won’t get donations. And if you do get donations, keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites require you to raise a minimum amount of money or you won’t get anything at all.
4. Friends & Family
If crowdfunding sounds like too much effort, you could consider asking friends and family members to invest in your business’ growth. Depending on the arrangement, the cost of funds could be nothing, or you may need to “pay” by giving equity in your business. If you decide to go this route, just be careful about mixing business with pleasure.
5. Bank Loans & Lines of Credit
Traditional banks offer loans and lines of credit to established businesses. They are known for high dollar amounts, low-interest rates and long payment terms, but the process is very time-consuming (often taking months to review an application!) and approval rates are low. Banks also put a lot of emphasis on your personal credit score, so if you’ve relied on personal savings or credit cards and you have a low FICO as a result, an approval is unlikely.
6. Online Business Loans
In the last decade, a crop of online business lenders have emerged to disrupt the bank financing process, offering fast, easy application processes and high approval rates, even for business owners who have a low personal credit score. The loans tend to be smaller than bank loans with shorter payment terms, daily or weekly payments, and higher interest rates.
7. Amazon Lending
Amazon offers financing on an invite-only basis through its Amazon Lending program. You can’t apply for Amazon Lending, but if you qualify, you’ll see an offer in Seller Central. The offer is binding, meaning that the terms they offer are “take it or leave it”.
While you’re logging into Seller Central to check for an Amazon Lending offer, be on the lookout for a separate offer from Payability, a financing company for Amazon sellers.
Payability allows you to access 80% of your Amazon earnings one business day after making a sale, so you don’t have to wait two weeks for your income. Instead, you can buy inventory as you need it, score the best deals from suppliers, and stay in the Buy Box — all for a 2% flat fee off of gross sales. Payability is best suited for high growth Amazon sellers like Swannies and Jump City Toys who need daily access to cash — if this sounds like you, you can apply directly at Payability.com or by calling (646) 494-8675