One of the lifebloods of any small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) is its financial health. It determines the capacity of an SME to weather economic storms, take advantage of development opportunities, and thrive over the long term. One of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal for improving the financial health of your SME  is smart business financing.

This comprehensive guide will take you through improving the financial health of your SME by applying for suitable financing options. From evaluating your financial health to learning your financing options and administering your funds effectively, we have you covered!

Assessing Your SME's Financial Health

How to assess SME financial health

A. Key metrics analysis

Assessing the financial health of your SME begins with a comprehensive assessment of key financial metrics. The following metrics provide crucial insights into how your business is performing and where improvements may be required.

1. Cash flow analysis

It is important to understand how funds enter and leave your business. A positive cash flow indicates that your business generates more cash than it spends, whereas a negative cash flow indicates prospective financial difficulties. Analyzing your cash flow statement enables you to identify periods of profit or deficit in cash, which helps improve your financial planning.

2. Income statement 

The income statement, also known as the profit and loss (P&L) statement, displays the revenue, expenses, and net profit or loss for a specified period. This statement enables you to evaluate your profitability and identify areas in which you can reduce expenses or increase revenue.

3. Balance sheet review

A balance sheet provides a snapshot of the financial position of your SME at a specific point in time. It displays your assets, your liabilities, and your equity. By conducting an in-depth analysis of your balance sheet, you can evaluate the liquidity, solvency, and overall financial stability of your business.

B. Identifying areas of improvement through financial analysis

The financial analysis process is proactive. After reviewing your business' financial statements, identify areas where your SME can improve:

1. Cost reduction 

Identify unnecessary expenditures and areas where you can reduce costs while maintaining the quality of your products and services.

2. Revenue enhancement

Explore avenues for increasing sales, such as diversifying your product or service offerings, entering new markets, or expanding your business.

3. Debt management

Evaluate your debt levels and devise a plan to reduce high-interest debt or refinance existing loans at lower interest rates. It is also a wise practice to never reroute your business loans. For example, if you acquire invoice financing, ensure that the funds are used for that purpose. Avoid rerouting funds obtained for specific needs, as doing so not only leads to financial mismanagement and difficulties in meeting repayment obligations, but can also affect your future financing applications to different financial institutions or lenders.

4. Working capital management 

Ensure the efficient management of accounts receivable, accounts payable, and inventory to maximize your cash flow. . One smart approach is to access additional working capital through solutions like invoice financing. This enables you to accommodate larger-than-usual orders, which can result in higher revenue and improved financial stability.

C. Setting S.M.A.R.T. financial goals

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) financial objectives is fundamental to effective financial management for SMEs like yours. Clearly defined objectives provide direction and inspiration. Here's why they are crucial:

1. Focus and motivation

Goals provide you and your team with a solid and clear target to strive for, thus motivating everyone to contribute their best.

2. Strategic planning

 Goals encourage the prioritization of activities and the efficient allocation of resources.

3. Measurement and evaluation

By establishing SMART objectives, you can easily monitor your progress and make adjustments and optimizations when necessary.

4. Risk mitigation

Having goals and objectives in place enables you to anticipate and plan for potential financial challenges.

Understanding business financing options

Let's explore the different business financing options, from traditional business loans to alternative lending options, and how to choose the right financing option for your SME's needs.

Different types of traditional business loans PH
Different types of alternative loans PH

Your guide to choosing the right financing option

Choosing the right financing option for your SME's needs requires careful consideration:

How to choose the right business financing option for SME

1. Determine your needs. Assess why you need financing. Is it for working capital, the procurement of equipment, or an expansion? Understanding your business’ unique needs is essential.

2. Consider your financial situation. Evaluate your creditworthiness, repayment capability, and other major financial aspects of your business. This will help you determine the realistic options available to you.

3. Compare Costs. Compare the costs associated with each financing option, including interest rates, fees, and any concealed charges.

4. Evaluate your risk tolerance . Some financing alternatives may be riskier than others. Choose the option that correlates with your level of comfort.

5. Consider the duration of the financing's term. Short-term requirements may be best served by invoice financing or purchase order financing, whereas long-term needs may necessitate conventional loans.

6. Read the fine print. Always thoroughly read and comprehend the terms and conditions of any financing agreement prior to signing it.

7. Seek professional advice from a Financial Consultant . If you are uncertain about which option is best for your SME, you should consult with a financial advisor or accountant who can provide you with personalized advice.

Understanding your business financing options is crucial for making decisions that can impact the development and stability of your SME. When deciding between a traditional loan and an alternative loan, you should consider the character of your business, your financial situation, and your business objectives.

Managing Business Financing

How to manage business loans

A. Proper Utilization of Funds

It is crucial for the financial health and development of your SME to effectively manage and utilize the business financing funds or business loans obtained. Here's how to maximize your financial resources:

1. Budgeting and allocation

Create a detailed budget that specifies precisely how you intend to use the funds acquired through specific financing methods. Allocate these resources solely to the designated objective, ensuring that every cent serves the intended purpose. Maintain a transparent accounting system that tracks the flow of funds to ensure compliance with the purpose of the financing.

2. Prioritize investments

Identify opportunities or investments that are likely to generate a high return on investment (ROI) and prioritize them. These may include entering a new market, introducing a new product, or upgrading equipment.

3. Cost management

Keep a watch on your expenses. Implement cost-cutting measures wherever possible without sacrificing product or service quality. Effective cost management can maximize the impact of your financial resources.

4. Reserve for emergencies

Reserve a portion of the funds for unforeseen circumstances. This safety net can assist your SME in overcoming unforeseen obstacles or capitalizing on unforeseen opportunities without derailing your core operations.

B. Financial performance monitoring

Continuously monitoring the financial performance of your SME enables you to remain on track and make informed decisions. It includes:

1. Reviewing the following financial statements routinely

1.1. Income statement. Continuously monitor revenue, expenses, and profits to evaluate your company's financial health. Look for inconsistencies or trends that may require your attention.

1.2. Balance sheet. Assess your assets, liabilities, and equity on a regular basis. Changes in these areas can provide insight into the financial health of your SME.

1.3. Cash flow statement. Monitor your cash flow closely. Ensure you have sufficient liquidity to cover operational expenses and debt obligations by analyzing cash inflows and outflows.

2. Adjustments to the business plan

Review and revise your business plan on a regular basis to account for shifting circumstances, objectives, and market conditions. Incorporate insights from your financial analysis to refine your strategies and objectives. If necessary, be willing to pivot or modify your business model to remain competitive.

C. Fulfillment of repayment obligations

Maintaining a positive rapport with lenders or investors requires that you fulfill your repayment obligations. Here's how to effectively manage this aspect:

1. Creating a repayment strategy

Develop a repayment strategy that corresponds with the cash flow and financial projections of your SME. Ensure that your plan includes both principal and interest payments, and consider the possibility of interest rate fluctuations. Consider making additional payments when your business experiences windfalls or an increase in cash flow in order to reduce debt more quickly.

2. Establishing positive relationships with lenders and investors

Maintain open and transparent communication with your lenders or investors. Keep them apprised of your SME's performance and any potential hurdles. If you anticipate difficulty meeting repayment schedules, discuss potential solutions or reorganization options with your creditors in advance, as demonstrating your dedication to meeting obligations and addressing challenges in a professional manner may help in maintaining the confidence and goodwill of your financial partners.

Effective management of business financing requires the careful allocation of funds, continuous financial monitoring, and a proactive approach to meeting repayment obligations. Your SME can optimize its financial health and position itself for sustained growth and success by implementing these strategies.

Investree Philippines, the first permanently licensed fintech crowdfunding platform here in the Philippines, offers alternative business financing or supplier finance options, such as invoice financing and purchase order financing. These financing alternatives can help you gain access to financing that may not be available through traditional financing institutions. Through the additional working capital Investree Philippines can provide your business with, you can leverage your SME and achieve continued business growth.

Explore Investree’s crowdfunding platform to learn more about its collateral-free, reliable, and risk-based invoice financing based on a debt crowdfunding concept with low interest rates and flexible payment terms at  To learn more about business growth strategies, the benefits of crowdfunding platforms for SMEs, invoice financing, or purchase order financing, you may read more articles here.