With small businesses still struggling to cope with the compounding impacts of the pandemic, Facebook has announced two new initiatives to provide support for SMBs, and help them better manage their cash flow in their time of need.
First off, Facebook’s launching an expansion of its Invoice Fast Track program, which enables SMBs to apply for Facebook to buy up their outstanding invoices, providing immediate cash flow benefits.
As explained by Facebook:
“For a low, fixed fee, eligible businesses can get cash immediately for the goods and services they’ve invoiced their customers for but would otherwise have to wait months to get paid - time and capital they can now use to invest in the recovery and growth of their companies. We will fund up to $100 million in invoices on an ongoing basis and are operating the program in partnership with Supplier Success and Crowdz.”
Through the program, eligible businesses can submit their invoices to Facebook, which Facebook will then pay immediately. Facebook then notifies the relevant customers that they’ll pay the Facebook Invoice Fast Track program when the invoices reach term – so essentially, Facebook becomes a debt collector of sorts on the business's behalf, while the business doesn’t have to wait around for the cash.
Facebook first launched the program with diverse suppliers last year, but from October 1st, more US-based small businesses will have the opportunity to apply.
Businesses can find more information on the program at the dedicated Invoice Fast Track mini-site.
In addition to this, Facebook’s also launching a new in-app application process for grant and loan opportunities, making it easier for SMBs to access resources and information.
As you can see here, the new resource showcase will highlight grant opportunities and business education programs, as well as SMB groups that can help provide guidance and support.
Facebook’s partnering with a range of ‘mission-driven’ organizations for the initiative, which are focused on providing resources to owners from underserved communities, in order to ensure that such opportunities are reaching those most in need.
Business Page Admins will be able to access this new experience on Facebook by clicking on Business Resources and Small Business Funding.
As per Facebook’s latest State of Small Business report, more than 60% of small businesses are facing some form of difficulty in paying business-related expenses, as the COVID crisis drags on, and while the end is now seemingly in view, it’ll still be too far off for many to remain in operation at the current impact rates.
Which makes sense – many SMBs are operating month-to-month, with their intake and expenses in fairly close alignment, so even short-term closures or business restrictions can have a big impact. And when you also consider that the vast majority of businesses are SMBs, that also points to the broader economic impacts, which will flow through to all organizations eventually, and cause revenue impacts for some time, even in the post-COVID environment.
Which is why funding and support initiatives like this are important, and it’s good to see Facebook looking to invest in this critical element, and provide assistance for smaller providers as they work to manage the ongoing impacts.