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Picture these scenarios: You run a busy clothing store and your only cash register just broke. Or the warm weather is coming up, and you need to hire servers for the patio. But you don’t have the cash to fix the register or hire the workers. In both cases, a short-term business loan can help. You get money you need now and, with the profits you make, repay it over a short period of time – usually anywhere from 3 months to 18 months.

In contrast, long-term business loans are typically much larger and have a repayment period of five to 15 years or longer, making them better suited to a real estate purchase, a business acquisition or major equipment purchases.

Short-term business loans typically come in smaller amounts ($5,000 to $100,000), carry repayment terms of a few months to a year or two, have looser qualifications and can provide quick cash – usually 1-2 days – at a much-needed time. However, short-term business loans generally have higher borrowing costs — something to keep in mind when you’re shopping around.

There are several situations when a short-term business loan may be appropriate for your small business. Here’s the top three:

To manage cash flow gaps: Uneven cash flow is a common issue for seasonal businesses. Instead of running up expensive credit card debt or taking out a home equity loan to pay the bills, a short-term business loan or line of credit can help manage the slowdown.

For emergencies: What if your clothing store doesn’t have the cash in the bank to fix the broken register? What if you run a pizzeria and your only oven breaks down? Short-term business loans make sense in these types of emergencies. You can get quick cash for repairs, then repay the loan over a short time period — that way, you’re not still paying for a cash register or oven five years from now.

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