Small Business

These are not the dog days of summer for small businesses

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Labor Day is no picnic for entrepreneurs.

While the summer months are often the slowest for small businesses in terms of revenue and sales, they are, perhaps, the most crucial. Especially when it comes to preparing for the holiday season.

Small business owners start as early as August increasing their inventory and hiring seasonal workers for the holiday rush, because not all shoppers wait until December to make their holiday purchases.

In 2013, more than 20 percent of shoppers began shopping for gifts before and during the month of September, according to the National Retail Federation.

"Now is actually when we start stocking." Denise Cline, owner of The Minky Boutique in Concord, North Carolina, told CNBC. "This is the time to take the risk, to be aggressive."

Cline, whose shop sells custom, handcrafted items as well as bulk fabric, just received a large inventory order of supplies for the fall season. Aside from regular weekly orders, this delivery is meant to last her business until the end of the holiday season.

In order to purchase this large order, Cline turned to PayPal's Working Capital program. The program is designed to provide capital to businesses that already use PayPal, offering loans at fixed rates with no interest charges, late fees or pre-payment fees.

The product deducts a predetermined percentage from the borrower's daily sales in order to pay the loan off.

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Cline, who has been using PayPal for almost six years, noted that her most recent loan from the company was for $31,000 and she is paying 30 percent of daily sales back to the program.

"I've looked at traditional bank loans, but this has be so quick, so easy, it's based on our sales history, our five- to six-year history with PayPal and I don't have to go through all the credit checks. Which the credit's good, it's just time we don't have to go through any of that."

Cline's not the only entrepreneur to use alternative business loan programs as a method to fund her holiday inventory.

Heather Cramer, owner of Pittsburgh's Olive & Marlowe, an artisanal oil and vinegar company, used crowdlending site Kiva Zip to finance her holiday prep.

The $10,000 crowdsourced loan she received has already helped build her inventory of bottles and oil products and will enable her to hire additional employees for the coming season.

"We started later in the past and haven't been prepared," Cramer said. "With this being our third holiday season in this location we're hoping to be better equipped this year than in years past."