In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for SMEs to be flexible and innovative. Moving fast to take advantage of new business opportunities usually requires cash flow – thankfully, there are credible alternative finance lenders that can help retailers access the funding they need for a quick cash boost.

Steven Heilbron, CEO of the Connect Group, says that business finance has changed in South Africa, with credible, Fintech lenders offering financial solutions that make it easier for retailers to access working capital. These products enable businesses to be agile, responding to changes in their markets in innovative ways, so that they can survive and thrive in these unusual times.

Heilbron describes a few things retailers should look out for when choosing a business finance partner:

The need for speed - alternative lenders, like Capital Connect, understand the need for speed, especially in the fast-moving retail environment. They offer SMEs quick access to business funding, providing a cash boost that allows retail merchants to take advantage of the opportunities for business growth.

Collateral vs no collateral – this is an important aspect to consider.  While traditional lenders require business owners to offer collateral, alternative finance solutions enable retailers to take a business loans in many cases without collateral.

Alternative lenders use analytics and  modelling of significant data points,  to make informed lending decisions and can hence grant business finance without the fuss. These streamlined finance solutions eliminate the red tape of for example collating audited financial statements that are generally associated with applying for a business loan. 

Retail merchants can apply straight from an app and get funds in their account in 24 hours hassle-free. This is a valuable helping hand for SMEs at a challenging time when many businesses require cash to rebuild and innovate.

Flexibility – Alternative finance solutions, like Capital Connect are designed for the fast-paced retail industry, providing merchants with shorter, more flexible loan terms. The loan repayment period is not bound to a few years or large monthly repayments, but to a shorter period of time that works better for the business owner. With Capital Connect, retailers can choose their loan amount, select a preferred repayment period and repay the loan in small daily instalments. This enables business owners to be agile and jump on opportunities that will enable them to increase profit margins and revenues.   

“With the current pressures our retail industry faces, time is money for South African retailers, especially as they seek to rebuild in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic,” says Heilbron. “Access to working capital enables retail entrepreneurs to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. Alternative lenders can help merchants to access funding fast when they can’t wait for weeks for an urgent loan application to be granted.”

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