How to fund your Amazon business to become a successful seller
To sell on Amazon is a to be on a hunt.
No, wait - what? What do we mean by money? Isn't that the whole purpose: to make money? Of course, but you know what they say - you do, right? - you need to put something into it to get something out. Or are you one of those survivalist chaps who go about hunting with their bare hands? In other words, if you want to be an Amazon seller, you should treat your Amazon selling business just like any other business. With adequate financing to get it started and keep it running. Ok... but what do we mean by plenty of it? We have done our math and according to our calculations, it will cost you at least $10.000 to start selling on Amazon using their FBA system. That might sound like more than enough to you. Maybe even too much. But there are expenses to consider if you want to succeed. Branding, manufacturing, shipping and marketing, to name just a few. These are the challenges of an actual business that requires actual capital.
Hold it right there! Sure, business is a wonderful idea. But that kind of money just doesn't grow on trees. Maybe in the Amazonian jungle, but certainly not in this soon-to-be seller's backyard. Since you are reading this, we assume that personal savings are not indigenous to where you live. So how do you set about raising the small business working capital you need?
In this article, you will learn about your business financing options, their pros and cons, and how you can gear up for the upcoming hunt.
1. Traditional loans
When you think about getting a loan, the old brick-and-mortar bank immediately springs to mind. That's enough to send a shiver down your spine. Things such as paperwork, credit score, waiting time, interest rates and loan terms can put anyone off. But this is not the time to give in to fear. Traditional lending is a solid, time-honored way to get the financing you need.
Small business loans
Most traditional banks and lenders offer financial products designed specifically to support businesses. This includes e-business funding and startup capital loans. These types of products can easily be tailored to individual needs. Their main advantages are accessibility, decent interest rates ranging from 3% to 7%, and government support. In the U.S., the Small Business Administration provides support for people who are trying to get convenient small business financing. The SBA connects them with lenders, guarantees loans and offers guidance.
Our opinion: Good for long-term business goals. As an Amazon individual seller, the Microloan program is your best bet.
A personal loan is a small amount of money (ranging from $1,000 to $100,00o) that you can borrow to cover a wide range of personal financial needs. It involves short payment terms (up to five years) and affordable interest rates. Most personal loans are unsecured (no collateral required). However, the borrower's credit score has a considerable impact on the interest rate. You can use an online calculator to quickly asses your options.
Our opinion: All in all, a personal loan is a very good idea.
A line of credit is a specific amount made available by the lender. You can draw from this amount whenever you need a money quickly. This type of loan usually comes with a physical credit card that you can use to pay directly for goods and services. The main advantage of using a credit card is that the funds are readily available the moment you need them. Also, you don't have to use the whole amount. You can simply tap into it for any sum you need at a given time. What's more, the interest only applies to the sums you actually spend. The drawback is that interest rates are quite high (14%-24%) compared to personal loans. And the payment term is usually pretty short.
Our opinion: Not the wisest choice because of the high interest rates.
2. Alternative loans
Understandably, banks are becoming ever more skeptical about investing in small businesses. As a result, alternative forms of financing are flourishing. The fertile internet and the nourishing technology provide the perfect habitat for them. In your ongoing hunt, you are welcome to roam these lands in your search for game. But tread carefully - danger lurks in the wilderness!
Online lenders and fintech companies
Many trustworthy, professional financial companies operate exclusively online. This means that you can asses your eligibility, apply for a loan and get it approved in a matter of days without ever setting foot in a bank. Online lenders offer a variety of products at competitive rates and in decent terms. Some fintech companies, such as Kabbage, are dedicated entirely to small businesses, including Amazon seller loans. However, you should beware of scams and bad deals. The internet being what it is, it's easy to fall into a costly trap. Make sure you do your research before you borrow from an online lender. Check out their credentials, read reviews, get advice from people you trust.
Our opinion: Something tells us that online lenders and online retail business go hand in hand. Maybe the word "online"?
Peer to peer lending
This highly innovative form of online crowdfunding is rapidly gaining ground. P2P lending platforms are websites where individual borrowers can connect directly with investors for startup business ventures. The platform manages the rates and terms, as well as payments. This does not exclude the need for a good credit score, and the interest rates are adjusted accordingly. But it does exclude the financial institutions as middlemen. Obviously, this system offers more flexibility and opens up a world of opportunities.
Our opinion: Perfect for the proficient internaut.
Merchant cash advances
This loan option is a bit odd, since it ties directly into your business. How does it work? With a merchant cash advance, you get a lump sum that you then repay from your revenue (credit or debit card sales). The payments can be done daily, weekly or monthly. It's an unsecured type of loan that you can get fairly quickly, even with bad credit. All of this sounds great on paper. But there are major drawbacks to it, including very high interest rates and cash flow disruption.
Our opinion: Not a good choice for beginners.
3. Amazon lending
The almighty Amazon itself is no stranger to the financial market. It is possible to get seller financing directly through the Amazon lending program. This program was created to help sellers boost their inventory and grow their business. It's pretty convenient, fully-digital, with credit card-level rates and short payment terms. What's more, it doesn't take credit score into account, and payments are taken from your seller revenue. Unfortunately, there are two factors that make it off-limits to new sellers. First of all, it requires a history of selling on Amazon and a track record of growing sales. Secondly, it is invitation-based. This means that an Amazon loan application is not really an option. You can only do so if an invitation is extended to you first.
Our opinion: Not yet. And that's a fact.
4. Partner up!
Why venture into the wilderness on your own? Why not gather a merry hunting party? Get your friends and family to team up and partake in your adventure. This way, everyone can pitch in. No to-and-fro dancing with banks, no gloomy debt hanging overhead. No other interest but your own! Share the burden, share the profits. Easy and fun.
Our opinion: Exactly!
In order to start a business selling on Amazon, you need to raise some capital to get you started. There is a wide array of options available for an Amazon business loan.
- small business loans
- personal loans
- credit cards
- online lenders and fintech companies
- P2P lending
- merchant advances
Amazon's own lending program
Each of these come with their own specific pros and cons. But not all of them are suitable for new sellers. You should choose your financing option based on your past business experience and your long-term goals. That being said, we highly recommend a small business or personal loan from a trustworthy online lender to fund your Amazon business.