Rising costs, late-paying customers, and a slowing economy are enough to put a dent in any business’ cashflow and they’re a major concern for most South African SMEs. Add in unexpected emergencies, or a sudden boost in demand and it doesn’t take much to push a successful business into difficulty. Fortunately, there’s a solution to these problems – meet the short-term business loan – the fast and cost-effective way to support your working capital and keep your business running at full speed.
A short-term business loan is exactly what it sounds like – money that your business borrows and then pays back quickly – usually in less than one year. If you don’t want your business burdened with long-term debt, short-term business funding can be a good alternative – just borrow what you need, pay the money back in short order, and remove the liability from your balance sheet.
Note that the application process for a short-term business loan may be less stringent than for loans of longer duration, and you may receive the funds you need far quicker. However, short-term loans typically cost more than long-term financing, and the maximum sum you can borrow may be smaller than for loans that are paid back over several years.
It’s a simple process:
Most business borrowing will require a personal guarantee from the business owner(s) but depending on the type of short-term loan you take out, security (collateral) in the shape of a lien on business assets or property may also be required.
Top tip: Lenders will typically check the credit status of the business, and the business owner(s). Don’t get caught out by an error on your credit records. Always check your personal as well as your business’ credit scores before applying for a short-term loan.
Almost any type of SME can take out a short-term business loan, although most lenders will need to see that your business is in good standing and has the ability to repay the funds. Additionally, you will usually have had to be trading for more than six months and be a South African-registered business.
Short-term business loans are ideal for covering emergencies or sudden expenses and are especially suited for seasonal businesses that may see large fluctuations in income, or organisations that offer extended credit terms to their customers.
Short-term finance can be used for almost any business purpose:
There are many types of short-term business loan:
Small business loans work just like a traditional bank loan. Borrow from R1,000 to R500,000. Repay the loan in a few months or over several years. Security may or may not be required.
Stop waiting 30, 60, 90 days or more for customers to pay their bills. Invoice finance lets you receive the cash tied up in your outstanding invoices as soon as you raise them. You retain control of your sales ledger. Clients need never know you are using your invoices to raise funds. No added security is required.
With an MCA, Businesses that accept customer credit and debit cards can borrow against the value of their card sales. As your card sales increase, your borrowing limit goes up. Pay back the loan as a fixed percentage of your card sales. No added security required.
Business credit cards work the same as personal credit cards, but are in the name of the business, not an individual. Business cards typically have a higher credit limit than personal accounts and higher interest rates than other forms of business borrowing. Security may be required.
Your loan details
This calculator is intended for illustration purposes only and exact payment terms should be agreed with a lender before taking out a loan.
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Total cost of finance
Many lenders offer a ‘one-size fits all’ generic short-term business loan, and a fast application process that gives you an initial ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in minutes. However, as you can see from the menu of short-term loans above, there are many ways to borrow the immediate funds you need, and some types of loan may work better for your organisation than others.
You can start the process to find out which type of borrowing is best for you here. It’s still a fast application, but now you get to choose a short-term loan that’s tailored to your business.
Different lenders have different criteria, but it may make the process easier if you have this information available:
As with any type of business borrowing, short-term loans have their pros and cons:
Most short-term business loans can be secured very quickly. In some cases, an immediate approval and streamlined document processing can deliver the funds into your business bank account the next day
Many short-term loans can be secured with just a credit check and a review of basic business information
Paying the loan back faster means less interest is generated over the course of the loan
Select the short-term loan that’s best for your business – choose how you repay the funds, the need for security, and the terms and conditions that fit your business structure
Because you repay short-term loans quickly, you will pay less interest than you might if the loan were extended over several years. However, because these type of loans are fast and convenient, many lenders charge a higher interest rate on short-term borrowing
Paying the loan back in a short time span means the repayment instalments will be larger. This may put strain on the cashflow of some business borrowers
Short-term business loans typically come with lower borrowing amounts than you may be able to secure with a long-term alternative
Many short-term loan providers will require a personal guarantee from the business principal(s) and depending on the type of loan you take out you may also have to provide collateral via a lien on your business assets or personal property
Short-term business loans are an ideal solution to sudden emergencies, or an unexpected dip in cashflow. They can support your working capital during tough times or give you a financial boost to make the most of a new business opportunity. See a short-term loan as a business backstop – there to help you when you need it, but not a drain on your income that’s stretched out over years.
Possibly. Even if your credit score is weak and you’ve been turned down elsewhere, it may still be possible to secure the short-term business financing you need. Providing collateral such as business assets or property as security or bringing in a friend or colleague with strong credit to act as the loan guarantor can often offset a weak credit score. Alternatively, some lenders may still provide an unsecured short-term loan even if your credit is poor, but you should expect to pay a higher interest rate and only borrow a smaller sum.
Get a grip on unexpected business costs, or sudden dips in cashflow. Register with Swoop to find the short-term loan that fits your business like a glove.