smart spending

Offbeat ways to finance a small business

Sell gift certificates
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Sell gift certificates

If you don't need a huge infusion of cash but some money to get over a cash-flow hump, try selling gift certificates. You may want to offer these gift certificates at a discount to tempt customers into buying immediately and buying more.

Before issuing gift certificates, check your state's laws regarding expiration dates and unclaimed gift certificates.

"And remember: Gift certificates are a liability ... and you need to fulfill the obligation," says author Roth.

Your business doesn't have to be in retail to offer a gift certificate, Roth says. "A service business can offer these as well and can be a welcome gift for people," she says. For example, accountants can offer tax-preparation gift certificates at a lock-in rate.

The bottom line is that you will get cash now -- when you need it -- and fulfill the service or product later.


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