If you’re a small business owner, the one thing that wakes you up at 3am more than anything else is cash flow – or lack thereof.
It is the lifeblood of any business, especially smaller fast growth businesses.
In my experience, most businesses never have enough of it, and cash flow gaps are common; not because the business isn’t financial mature, but because gaps are hard to predict.
Customers pay late, they partial pay, the invoice is disputed…the list goes on.
When I was in my early 30’s I started a technical recruiting business in Seattle during the dotcom boom. It was money for jam – demand was high as were margins, and we grew very fast.
To keep us funded, we had a small term loan tied to the house and a minuscule line of credit, but that was all the banks would give us. We had no track record, no assets and the P&L was weak, so getting flexible credit lines was almost impossible.
In the end we used a factoring service which helped as it allowed us to take on more business, but the customer experience and administrative burden was a nightmare.
Fast forward 10 or so years, and while the breadth of credit and payment options is broader, the problem is still the same. Short-term cash flow gaps abound.
With the whole finance industry being disrupted as I write this, new forms of alternative finance proliferate which can support the small business and provide working capital typically on more flexible terms than the banks.
The Kaplan Group identified alternative finance companies worldwide that fall into three categories: they use technology to enable extremely fast authorization and financing, they use technology to connect crowdfunding and peer-to-peer finance sources, or they offer non-traditional forms of finance.
As you can see below, there are a lot of options to choose from and they are growing:
Source: Liberium Capital Limited, 2014
In April 2014, new regulations were introduced in New Zealand to support alternative finance providers. Aimed initially at peer-to-peer and crowdfunding providers, the regulations allow businesses to raise up to $2 million a year through licensed crowd funding websites by issuing shares or other incentives to the public.
To date there are 5 peer-to-peer lenders in New Zealand – mainly focused on the consumer market and primarily offering medium to long-term debt facilities. In addition, there are seven or so crowdfunding providers – providing both debt and equity growth capital for charities and small businesses.
While the growth of alternative finance in New Zealand is encouraging, there is still a gap in the market for flexible financing solutions which address a small businesses short-term cash flow gaps, without tying the business up in onerous covenants, administrative burden and cost.
For the first time, thanks to Xero’s partnership with Fuelled, customers can access an immediate source of finance making the task of managing cash flow easier, as well as providing the means to fund future growth.
“Better decisions, better access to capital, better and more secure data – these are the promises of the financial web that together we are making real,”Rod Drury
Whatever the cause of your cash flow gap, it’s now easier than ever to solve it. Fuelled and Xero make it simple, giving you access to an on-demand cash flow source that is able to grow with your business.
It takes seconds to register and you find out in minutes how much cash flow you can access.
See you at www.fuelled.co.nz.
 The Kaplan Group, Alternative Financing Landscape, 2016