Businesses, especially SMEs, have grown highly competitive in the past 10 years. Local competition is not new, but international and online competition have kept small businesses on their toes. And along with the general cost of living, cost of doing business has gone up as well. In such a scenario, it is absolutely essential for SME owners to keep an eye on their cash flow.

According to an NUS Enterprise study, almost half of all start-ups fail in the initial stage because of cash flow issues in the business. As one of our SME clients aptly explains, “Cash Flow is King” without cash flow, businesses cannot survive.

SMEs face a number of business challenges. According to DP Information Group’s SME Development Survey of 2017,  the biggest challenge for SMEs is financing. Over a third of SMEs surveyed reported finance-related issues. This was up more than 13 percentage points from the previous year and almost doubled since 2014.

What are the finance-related issues plaguing SMEs?

Based on the survey conducted between 2,522 SMEs, four main issues were highlighted by SMEs in 2017.

Statistics based on SME Development Survey of 2017*

#1 Delayed payments from customers

This is the most common issue faced by SMEs. Due to seasonal fluctuations, your clients may not be able to pay you on time. One possible solution is invoice financing, which will be discussed later in this guide.

Read Also: What is Invoice Financing?

#2 Higher interest rates for bank loans

SMEs also highlighted that they encountered higher interest rates when they go to the bank. According to this Business Times article, four in 10 Singapore SMEs lack support from financial institutions. While certain banks are recently looking to grow their SME lending, financial support for Singapore SMEs doesn’t exclusively come from banks.

#3 Suppliers tighten credit access

As financing gets tougher for companies, suppliers start to tighten credit access to their debtors. Suppliers may require companies to pay for inventory upfront or at shorter notices.

#4 Need more collateral for the same financing

Typically, traditional banks would require collateral for SME loans of larger amounts. SMEs have highlighted the need for more collateral for the same financing.