Guest Post by Victoria Sullivan, Payability. Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
In business, cash flow is king. When your business is with Amazon, cash flow is still king — but it’s elusive and unreliable. The cash flow gaps that result from Amazon’s two-week payment delay can have long-term negative effects on your business. For example, you are more likely to experience stockouts, inconsistent sales, and stagnant growth. After all, if you don’t have a steady stream of cash, you’re not going to be able to buy more inventory when you need it.
As an Amazon seller, you need access to your income daily and in real-time, but because this isn’t an option for most third-party sellers, you need an alternative. Thankfully, there are a variety of financing options that help business owners bridge their cash flow gaps and grow their bottom lines — in fact, some are even designed specifically for marketplace sellers.
Keep reading to learn more about them and see which one is right for your business.
1. Credit Cards
A convenient way to finance inventory is with a credit card. Chances are, you already have one in your wallet and it likely comes with cash back offers, travel perks and other benefits. However, even though credit cards allow you to spend money daily, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:
- Interest Payments: If you don’t pay your balance in full and on time, you’ll be stuck paying interest and could find yourself in an endless cycle of (potentially growing) credit card debt.
- Credit Limit: Your credit limit will only let you spend so much, so you may not be able to cover all the inventory you need.
- Wire-Only: Some suppliers, particularly those in China, don’t accept credit cards. Instead, they only take wire payments.
- Credit Score: Hopefully the credit card you use for inventory purchases is an official business credit card. If you’re using a personal card and wind up in a never-ending cycle of debt, you’re putting your FICO score at risk, which could make it difficult for you to expand your credit limit or secure other types of financing in the future.
2. Traditional Loans/Alternative Lending
Depending on where you source your inventory, a loan might be a better option for you than a credit card. There are several types of business loans on the market these days, including traditional bank loans and alternative lending. So what’s the difference?
- Traditional Bank Loans tend to have high dollar amounts, low-interest rates, and long payment terms. However, approval rates are slow and the application process takes weeks, sometimes months — time you don’t have when you’re looking to turn inventory quickly. Unless you’re an established business with years of history and have some type of physical storefront, bank loans are hard for online marketplace sellers to get.
- Alternative Lenders offer application processes that are more streamlined and faster than banks, and their approval rates are higher. That said, loan amounts tend to be smaller, interest rates are higher and payment terms are often short.
It’s very common for entrepreneurs to dip into their savings to launch their businesses, buy inventory, and cover other expenses. After all, the cash is available immediately, accessible daily, and comes without interest or payback terms.
As tempting as it is, there are risks involved. Unlike a credit card, your savings isn’t a revolving pool of funds, so unless you’re paying yourself back on a regular basis, you’ll eventually run out of money. You should avoid depleting your savings, otherwise you could be left in an even worse cash flow situation if an unexpected expense arises.
If none of these options seem like the right fit, you could ask other people to invest in your business. Crowdfunding is a very popular financing option for entrepreneurs, especially those who are creating a brand-new product and need help funding the production of it. So if you run a private label business on Amazon, crowdfunding may be an option for you.
Here’s how crowdfunding works: You set up an online fundraising page with a specific goal and deadline, then you share it with friends, family, your social media followers, etc. to see who is interested in contributing. Depending on the platform, you’ll “pay” by providing rewards for certain donation levels or by giving equity in your business. Crowdfunding has its share of challenges — if you don’t meet your fundraising goal by the deadline, you won’t receive any of the money raised, and if you’re not a savvy marketer, you may not raise anything at all.
Remember when we mentioned earlier that there are financing options designed specifically for marketplace sellers? Meet Payability, a financing company that gives Amazon sellers daily access to their income through two powerful solutions: Instant Access and Instant Advance. Here’s how each one works:
- With Instant Access, Payability advances you 80% of payments daily, the business day after your sales are completed. So if your Amazon payout is $5,000 on Monday, you’ll get $4,000 of it on Tuesday (the remaining $1,000 is kept on reserve to cover any returns or chargebacks and is then released to you on Amazon’s regular payment schedule). It’s not a loan or a cash advance — it’s your income, daily and in real time, for a 2% fee on gross sales.
- Payability’s Instant Advance is a purchase of future receivables to receive a lump some of cash today. For example, Payability would purchase $5,000 of your future receivables and you would receive $4,000 up front. Depending on your sales history, repayment is expected within 16-20 weeks, and each week’s cost is 1% of the $5,000. The total cost is determined by how long it takes to pay back. If you pay back the full $5,000 before 20 weeks, you’ll get a rebate of 1%/$50 for each week it’s early. And when you’re halfway paid back or beyond, you’ll be eligible to refinance and will get an early payment rebate plus a new advance to continue reinvesting in inventory.
Since 2016, Payability has sent nearly $1 billion in daily payments to more than 2,000 marketplace sellers, allowing them to turn inventory more quickly and grow 2.5x faster than their competitors. If you need more convincing, watch how this Amazon seller uses Payability to turn more inventory more quickly, learn more about how Payability differs from other small business financing options, then visit Payability to see how they can help your business and claim your $200 sign on bonus. Sellers referred by ecommerceChris can sign up for Payability Instant Access at a discounted rate of 1.75% (normally 2.0% of gross sales).
Marketing Manager, PayabilityVictoria Sullivan is a Marketing Manager at Payability. She has over eight years of social media, copywriting and marketing experience. Prior to joining the Payability team, Victoria developed social media content and strategies for top technology brands such as Skype and Samsung. She holds a degree in Advertising from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She can often be found in a yoga class or working on her fashion blog.