Running a small business in Florida can be extremely rewarding, but also comes with its fair share of challenges. One major pain point for many small business owners is managing debt and securing enough capital to keep operations running smoothly. Luckily, there are a variety of debt relief and funding options tailored specifically to aid Florida small businesses.
If your Florida small business is struggling under the weight of debt, there are a few potential paths forward:
Debt consolidation entails taking out one large loan to pay off multiple smaller debts. This can simplify payments and sometimes secure a lower interest rate. Some top debt consolidation lenders for small businesses include LendingClub, BlueVine, and Fundbox.
With debt settlement, you negotiate directly with creditors to pay a lump sum that is less than what you owe in exchange for considering the debt paid off. This can save a substantial amount of money but may damage credit scores temporarily. Reputable Florida debt settlement companies include Freedom Debt Relief and National Debt Relief.
A DMP involves working with a credit counseling agency to set up a repayment plan that works for your budget. The agency will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. DMPs allow you to repay debt in full but sometimes at reduced or waived interest rates. Solid DMP providers in Florida include Money Management International, ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, and Consolidated Credit Counseling Services.
In tandem with debt relief efforts, Florida small businesses should also actively pursue funding to ensure they have enough operating capital. Here are some top funding options to consider:
The U.S. Small Business Administration partners with various banks and nonprofit lenders to provide small business loans. Popular SBA loans include 7(a) loans, which can be used for various business purposes, and 504 loans for purchasing commercial real estate or heavy equipment. Helpful lenders include Lendistry, Celtic Bank, and Lendio. The SBA also offers debt relief programs like the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
Business credit cards can provide quick access to funds in a pinch. Cards from issuers like Chase Ink, Capital One Spark, and Wells Fargo Business offer 0% intro APR periods along with cash back, rewards points, or travel miles. Using business credit cards strategically can earn serious perks.
Online alternative lending platforms like Kabbage, Fundbox, Credibly, and CAN Capital offer fast small business funding options including business term loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances. Amounts range from $5,000 up to $250,000+ and funding can be secured in as little as 24 hours in some cases.
With invoice factoring from companies like BlueVine and Fundbox, you can take outstanding invoices and sell them to a commercial finance company to get immediate access to up to 90% of their value. This releases cash flow quickly without taking on debt. It does tend to be more expensive than conventional financing however.
Angel investors are high net worth individuals who provide startup capital to small businesses in exchange for convertible debt or equity stakes. Florida has many active angel investor networks like New World Angels, Tampa Bay Angels, and First Coast Angels that small businesses can pitch to.
For high-growth startups, especially in sectors like technology or biotech, venture capital firms can provide substantial funding. Florida VC firms to target include Ballast Point Ventures, Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners, VenVelo, Las Olas Venture Capital, and Vestigo Ventures.
Government and nonprofit grants do not need to be repaid like loans. Grants can support needs like new equipment, expanding facilities, hiring staff, or developing new products. Helpful Florida small business grant programs include the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, Black Business Loan Program, Florida Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), and EPA Brownfields Grants.
For further help navigating debt and funding options for Florida small businesses, check out these useful resources:
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