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Hurricane Sandy destroyed homes and businesses overnight. Even half a year later, insurance agents are rejecting thousands of business claims.

disasterIn 2005, Hurricane Katrina did similar damage to local businesses. One year later, ABC News reported 18 percent of businesses were still completely destroyed. Whether a natural disaster has swept through your office or factory and stopped production, or some unforeseen expense has put you in the red, a certain amount of cash for your business could be the difference between survival and bankruptcy.

Cash Advances

Business cash advances don’t require lengthy application processes. They’re not exclusively available to businesses doing well, like loans are. They don’t rely on collateral, meaning businesses don’t risk losing the very business itself if it becomes difficult to make payments. In fact, cash advance providers are often willing to work with businesses to adjust payments as necessary because they’re invested in a business’s success, not its failure.

Depending on your business’s scope, your recovery plan and the extent of the damage done, you could qualify for as many as seven figures. Still, you won’t have to take out more than you need. Cash advances work as a sort of line of credit. You have access to a set amount, but if you only wind up needing several thousand, you only pay interest on the amount you used. The “line of credit” model can prove especially helpful to a business rebuilding from disaster, as unforeseen costs associated with rebuilding can appear as you go.

Credit Card

You may already have what can get your business through disaster in your pocket: the business credit card. Ordinarily, financial advisors recommend against putting large amounts on credit cards you can’t immediately pay back because interest rates are high. However, it’s fast — instantaneous if you’re pre-approved for enough to keep your business afloat. You can always use another source of funding to pay off or pay down the credit card at the first opportunity. Remember that at the moment you’re primarily concerned with the speed of financing.

Plus, credit card debt doesn’t present as much risk as a bank loan. Whereas a bank requires collateral in your business and can quickly seize the business if you can’t pay back, credit cards take longer to collect overdue funds and won’t necessarily have a claim to your business.

The Client Discount

It seems counterintuitive: Your business is strapped for cash, and offering a client discount is one way to get your business money fast. The emphasis is not on the money lost on the sale but the speed of receiving money. After all, if you don’t get the money you need now, you’ll never be able to make that sale at a later date for full price.

You need the money before you can offer the product or service to your client. You need to attract clients to pre-pay for the product or service in full in exchange for offering them a moderate discount. It’s a fine line to walk. You need to have good client relationships with those who are willing to risk their investment and can empathize with your post-disaster plight. You’ll be under legal obligation to provide the service or product eventually; if you’re unable to raise adequate funds, this could present a problem. The client discount is best used in conjunction with other fast funding sources, but at least it doesn’t come with interest or other fees.

Fast, reliable sources of business money in a pinch can include cash advances, credit cards and offering clients discounts in exchange for pre-payment. When getting ahold of financing for your business is literally standing between your business staying afloat and closing down for good, you have to work quickly. Insurance claims and bank loans are anything but quick — not to mention, even after waiting, you don’t know if you’ll get approval.

About the Author: Nathaniel Kingsley is a contributing writer and marketing director at Yellowstone Capital. He recommends businesses facing losses due to disaster seek fast sources of financing.

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