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Owning a liquor store is no trendy cocktail party. You face even more challenges than most other small retailers. The liquor industry is highly regulated. Competition is rampant. You have to maintain vast inventory to meet constantly changing consumer tastes.What’s a liquor store owner to do? You need money to operate and grow your business. And you don’t always generate enough cash to do that. At least, not at the right time. When this happens, small business loans are a necessity. It’s the same for every retailer. But what if you’re turned down? Lenders may never even tell you why.


“Nearly 89% of business owners report having the enthusiasm to execute growth strategies, yet just 46% report having the necessary financial resources to successfully execute growth strategies.” That’s from Craig Everett. He directed the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project and 2014 Capital Markets Report. He agrees that small business owners can’t get the financing they need. But they don’t know why. He says the most common reasons are:

  • Insufficient earnings quality (stable, consistent, predictable revenue from core business products/services)
  • Insufficient cash flow (from core business products/services)
  • Insufficient collateral
  • Overly large debt load

“A lot of small businesses, to be frank, really don’t manage their businesses in order to maximize earnings because they’re trying to minimize taxes,” Everett says, “so they’ll get a lot of expenses. But of course, that hurts them when they go to sell the business or get a loan.”

The most likely reason you were denied is that you applied to a bank. Today, banks are approving more small business loans than in years past. But they really don’t want your business. Banks prefer to loan large sums of money to large, well-established companies with excellent credit.


Don’t just take no for an answer and slip away hanging your head. Don’t just assume some or all of the above possibilities apply to your liquor store. And don’t buy into the many myths out there about small business loans. Ask why you were turned down. You may not get a straight answer. Or a complete one. But you could learn something extremely valuable to improve your future chances.

Whether or not you learn anything substantial from your hoped-for lender, it’s time to honestly evaluate your liquor store against each of the denial possibilities. When you know where you come up short, you’re half way toward fixing it. Well, maybe not quite half way. Repairing bad credit and working to boost cash flow are challenging. It takes time. So let’s get started.


One of the most damaging myths about small business loans is that all lenders are the same. That is simply not true. It’s not true for commercial banks and other financial institutions. And it’s not true for online lenders. Choosing the right lender is just as important as choosing the right type of financing.

Picking the right loan option increases your chances of approval. So don’t despair if you’ve been turned down. There are many types of small business loans for liquor stores. They don’t require collateral or great credit. And they’re fast:

  • Accounts receivable loans, or factoring
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Inventory financing
  • Unsecured business loans
  • Business line of credit
  • Business credit cards
  • Equipment leasing

That said, you might need a traditional bank loan for expansion or a major equipment purchase. SBA backing can boost your credit-worthiness. Here at United Capital Source, we can even help you bypass the famously slow SBA loan process. With our SBA Marketplace loans, you can get to $350,000 in a week. Your liquor store does have to meet certain credit and other criteria. But if you need a significant amount of money for a big project soon, let’s talk about this option.

UCS started out as a very small business. I’m proud of our growth, but we’ve never lost touch with our roots. Our mission is to help other small businesses grow, too. We do that by building strong working relationships with each client. One of the many ways we help is by offering a variety of payment terms. We know your liquor store isn’t a carbon copy of some other business. Even another liquor store. What works in your best interests is different. For you, it might be best to repay:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Bi-weekly
  • Monthly, or
  • Through automatic withdrawals from your credit card transactions


It’s tough running a liquor store. No one knows that better than you. Margins are tight. The hours are long. Your worry about theft – from employees as well as shoplifters. At least demand is good, even in poor economic times. But that demand means you have to stock a vast array of products. And new products are constantly emerging.

Customer desires change, too. Now they expect you to carry wine and beer. To do that, you have to expand. Meanwhile, you have a tremendous amount of capital tied up in your inventory.

The more you do to improve your liquor store’s finances, the more likely you are to impress lenders next time around. You’ll impress yourself, too. After all, who doesn’t want a thriving, growing business? Here are a few tips to help boost your cash flow:

  • You can’t carry every product out there. Focus on products that sell well and have higher profit margins. Because of the cost, stocking too much inventory can be worse than too little.
  • Combine in-store tastings with discounts to help move slow-sellers. Tastings are also ideal to introduce customers to new products.
  • Modernize your marketing to attract new customers and encourage your regulars to shop more often.
  • Use your detailed product knowledge to boost customer service and sales with specific recommendations.
  • Offer desirable companion products such as lottery tickets. That will draw more customers and lift your sales totals.

Finally, track all expenses carefully. That way you can plan ahead. You’ll know how much you need to pay your bills. And when you’ll need small business loans to fill in gaps or purchase new inventory, upgrades, or a great new marketing campaign.

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