Here comes the holidays! Are you and your business prepared? Scaling for a busy season may be 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 leading to low payments that won’t crush your cash flow. There are other loan types and funding options out there including credit cards or merchant cash advances but they may be expensive or more difficult to qualify for.
For more information about funding your business, check out our recent blog post: How to Determine the Right Type of Business Loan for your Small Company.
No matter where you get funds, here are some ways you may 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 may send consumers to a competitor, and make it unlikely that they will return. Purchasing additional inventory may also lead to big savings.
Repeat SmartBiz customers, Maria and Victor Vargas of Vargas Import Bikes® used funds from a SBA loan to boost inventory heading into the 2022 holiday season. “I felt additional funds would be needed as the holiday season approached.” Maria said. “I returned to SmartBiz and they helped me a lot.” Vargas Import Bikes used their funds to bolster inventory, hire an employee, and for working capital.
Extra staff may help your bottom line and your stress level. Proceeds from an SBA loan may 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. Seasonal workers must be paid at least the federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is the highest. However, hiring a seasonal employee rather than another full-time worker allows you to easily adjust the size of your workforce as needed. Seasonal hiring reduces employment costs when the busy season ends, and since seasonal workers are not classified as full-time employees they may not be entitled to all employee benefits. Additionally, there is no minimum or maximum number of hours required for seasonal employees so it is a flexible staffing option.
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.
Michael Fordinal, founder of Franklin Media®, used proceeds from a SBA loan to invest in a forklift. Franklin Media buys and sells used books and the forklift helped the business move and organize inventory much more efficiently.
Have you built a strong holiday marketing strategy to stay ahead of the competition? Proceeds from an SBA loan may be used for a variety of marketing purposes including shaping up your website, launching social media promotions, sending out direct mail pieces, customer loyalty programs, 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 may give you funds you need to prepare for a busy season and survive during not-so-profitable times.
Refinancing high-interest debt
Do you have existing debt that’s crunching your cash flow? An SBA loan is generally 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. Look at the current landscape in your industry and how your competitors might have pivoted over recent years. Determine your holiday budget for marketing, staffing, and inventory ahead of time. Strive to launch your holiday campaign as soon as possible, ideally before November and no later than Thanksgiving.
Are you ready for the 2023 holiday season? Now is a great time to explore financing. Pre-qualify for an SBA loan or other financing option in about 5 minutes. Our dedicated experts and streamlined website make it easy for you to scale your way to a successful holiday sales season.