Here come the holidays! Are you and your business prepared? Scaling for a busy season is always stressful but there are strategies to get your small business up to speed and ready for success.
One of the best ways to scale is to get an infusion of funds from a low-cost loan like an SBA loan from SmartBiz. SBA loans generally have the lowest rates and longest terms (10 years) leading to low payments that won’t crush your cash flow. There are other funding options out there like credit cards or merchant cash advances but they can be expensive. For more information about funding your business, check out the SmartBiz blog post 5 Ways to Fund Your Small Business: Pros and Cons.
No matter where you get funds, here are ways you can use the loan proceeds to scale your small business for the holidays.
Look at data from years past to calculate how much inventory you need to have on hand for the holidays. Running out of a product can send consumers to a competitor, never to return again! Purchasing additional inventory can lead to big savings as well. Bryan Tracey of the wildly popular skateboard manufacturer, SkateXS, recently shared his scaling experience.
“August is the time of year that we invest in inventory in higher quantities. Because we’re ordering more, we’re getting better prices and our dollar is going so much further with this additional money. We can actually make the money really work for us. As an example, skateboarding and stickers go hand-in-hand and we include them with every board purchase. I’ve always placed orders for just 1,000 stickers at a time. I can now buy 5,000 and it’s so much cheaper. I’d be crazy not to do that. Having cash on hand is a difference maker.”
Extra staff can help your bottom line and your stress level. Proceeds from an SBA loan can be used to staff up your team during the holidays. Take a look at your sales volume from previous years and hire accordingly. The Small Business Administration stresses that labor laws still apply no matter what type of employee you are bringing on including temporary hires or interns. Check out this article for important information: 5 Things to Know Now about Hiring Temporary or Seasonal Workers.
You probably rely heavily on equipment to keep your business humming. From computers to copiers to trucks and refrigerators, make sure you have the working equipment you need to brave the holidays.
The Front + Main blog explored how investing in equipment helped a small business, Little Seed Farm, run more effectively.
“With the addition of a couple larger pieces of equipment, our soap production went from making 15 bars in a batch to over 300. We can effectively make 1,200 bars of soap in the same amount of time that it used to take us to make 100. If instead of purchasing equipment we had to hire 12 people to make 1,200 bars, then our business wouldn’t have been able to scale.”
Have you built a strong marketing holiday strategy to stay ahead of the competition? Proceeds from an SBA loan can be used for a variety of marketing purposes including shaping up your website, launching social media promotions, sending out direct mail pieces and more.
Calculated as current assets minus current liabilities, working capital keeps businesses afloat throughout the year. According to the SBA, businesses that are seasonal or cyclical often require more working capital to stay during the off-season. An SBA loan can give you funds you need to prepare for a busy season and survive not-so-profitable times.
Refinancing High Interest Debt
Do you have existing debt that’s crunching your cash flow? An SBA loan is an excellent way to consolidate and even erase expensive obligations. With 10-year terms, SBA loans have very low monthly payments. Paying off high cost debt will help your business run better during the holidays and year round.
The most important element for holiday scaling? Planning. Whitney Weiss of the Weiss Watch Company recently participated in a SmartBiz Twitter Chat about holiday scaling. Her advice? “Start your holiday prep a year before the holidays begin!”
Are you already planning for 2017? Now is a great time to explore financing. Prequalify for a SmartBiz SBA loan in about 5 minutes on our streamlined website. We conduct a “soft pull” of credit so your score won’t be impacted.