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The Impact of the Recent Credit Crunch on Small Businesses

How Businesses Are Responding to an Uncertain Economy

business creditWith investors, banks, and businesses worried over a precarious economy, business credit and financing is changing radically. Many suppliers are now demanding payment up front in order to avoid late payments and defaults.

However, these concerns are also allowing buyers to exploit economic anxiety. Agreeing to up front payment terms can often secure significant discounts that exceed typical pre-payment discount rates. Companies with cash strength are finding that they are now in a position of power, able to leverage their capital to reap benefits from uncertain times.

On the other side of the coin, businesses that have forged strong relationships are also being rewarded by extended payment terms. As many companies are tightening their belts, those with the financial flexibility earned through consistent relationship building are sinking more money into research and development and strengthening their market position.

Turning the Recession Into an Advantage

Lots of successful entrepreneurs are turning the recession to their advantage by becoming proxies for credit and debt. Factoring companies are springing up to buy accounts receivable at discounted rates, pawn shops are seeing unprecedented demand for loans, and anyone with extra capital on hand has an advantage in this desperate climate. Securing a good business deal has never been easier, in some regards, and in no small part thanks to the difficulty many businesses are having securing credit and financing.

Many financial institutions are reducing their business loan portfolios, forcing businesses to downsize and reduce inventory to pay off their debts. Even those businesses that are expanding face cash flow problems that are driving them to seek alternative forms of financing.

Fortunately, more community banks are receiving federal funding through the Small Business Administration to provide better access to capital for small businesses. Encouraging lending through additional funding may provide some relief to struggling businesses and reduce demand for unfavorable financing options.

Author:

After graduating with a B.A. from Occidental College, Ben Wills worked for several political non-profits on economic policy, government transparency, and public accountability issues.