Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

How to Learn Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is an essential part of all business models. Unless you sell directly on the web, you would like to encourage customers to come to your site and see types of your skills, or join a discussion. Whether you possess your very own business and should try to learn online marketing strategies or you want to pursue a profession in marketing, there are a true number of ways you can gather the skills needed to be an Internet marketing professional. You can decide to join classes, or find out and research the fundamentals of Internet marketing free of charge.Method 1: Starting out in Internet Marketing1) Browse the net. In case you are older, nor have much knowledge with the Internet, the very first thing you must do is get familiar with online promotion, such as banner advertisements on the relative sides of web pages, online shopping and on-line marketplaces, such as for example Craigslist, eBay and amazon. If you don’t have the basic Computer and internet skills necessary to accomplish buying, navigating and selling the web, you should join classes then. Low-cost or free of charge classes are given by neighborhood libraries and Lifelong Learning classes often.2) Join social mass media accounts. The easiest method to understand social mass media is to dive involved with it. Sign up for free of charge accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+.3) Seek a level in advertising with a concentrate on online or online marketing. If you are just leaving high school and you are thinking about marketing and business, this is probably the best path for you personally then. Research marketing programs that concentrate on Internet marketing and learn the basics 1 course at a right time. After completion, you will be ready for an entry-level job at a marketing firm. You may use your knowledge to advertise your own items or ideas also.4) Take an Online marketing class, in case you are unfamiliar with the essential steps of business advertising and online advertising. If you don’t know how to setup accounts, create a website, make use of Google work or providers with a graphic/internet developer, this may end up being the easiest method to learn. Many businesses provide this online marketing tutorial program. You can join it on the web for a cost from $50 to $1,000. If you can, hire and instructor, that way you can obtain an interactive education.Method 2: Understanding Online Marketing Basics1) Learn the basics of Internet analysis, if you would like to learn online marketing for free. For anybody who knows the fundamentals of social media, SEO (SEO), Google news and website building blocks, you can likely learn Online marketing by yourself then. A big component of advertising is understanding your competition, market and data analysis.* Determine your market. This is something that should be obvious from the moment you select an ongoing service or item to market. However, you may want to research what part of that marketplace is on-line and what part is done through mobile phone or in-person sales.* Determine who your primary online competitors are. Analysis how they work, how they market and what size of you be shared by market believe they have. Join e-newsletters, research their pr announcements and determine the weaknesses and strengths of every online competitor. You may need to buy something from them to be able to know how they complete their product sales process.* Determine who your ideal client is. For just about any product, you need to be capable to see who’s buying the product. Once you determine your demographic, you can determine where they spend their period on the Internet.2) Interpret the info which you have gathered. Produce reviews using Google Analytics, spreadsheets or software program that show the marketplace, customer and competition data. You can get software or on the web which will help you make reviews or charts showing where your ideal consumer is purchasing and who your primary competitors are. That is especially important if you have superiors to that you must provide results. Although you could be able to turn data into a strategy easily, graphs and reports are crucial to be able to communicate that data to individuals who control the budget. Spend time making in depth reports and building a PowerPoint presentation predicated on your research perhaps.3) Create a strategy. Utilize the conclusions and research from your own reports to develop an effective strategy to achieve your target demographic. Begin by using the techniques which were successful for your competition, search for more innovative techniques then. Your strategy shall probably require a budget to employ writers to accomplish SEO articles, graphic designers to accomplish ads, and web site designers to revise or create an internet site. You may even need to hire visitors to update your business’s cultural media accounts daily.4) Create internet marketing campaigns and monitor them well. Ensure that your site uses analytics or make use of Google Analytics to ensure that you understand which methods are effective and that are not. That is a forgotten guideline of online marketing often, but it may be the only method to see your return of investment (ROI).* Internet marketing nearly includes launching many promotions at once always, which explains why they are thus important to track. A website might be marketing through e-mail blasts, You Tube videos, public media accounts, internet banners, online marketers, SEO, weblogs and more.* Understand that see’s are the important to many online marketing. Companies are looking for methods to ensure their site and item are being listed on the first web page of a Google, Bing or yahoo search.

Business Loans In Canada: Financing Solutions Via Alternative Finance & Traditional Funding

Business loans and finance for a business just may have gotten good again? The pursuit of credit and funding of cash flow solutions for your business often seems like an eternal challenge, even in the best of times, let alone any industry or economic crisis. Let’s dig in.

Since the 2008 financial crisis there’s been a lot of change in finance options from lenders for corporate loans. Canadian business owners and financial managers have excess from everything from peer-to-peer company loans, varied alternative finance solutions, as well of course as the traditional financing offered by Canadian chartered banks.

Those online business loans referenced above are popular and arose out of the merchant cash advance programs in the United States. Loans are based on a percentage of your annual sales, typically in the 15-20% range. The loans are certainly expensive but are viewed as easy to obtain by many small businesses, including retailers who sell on a cash or credit card basis.

Depending on your firm’s circumstances and your ability to truly understand the different choices available to firms searching for SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE options. Those small to medium sized companies ( the definition of ‘ small business ‘ certainly varies as to what is small – often defined as businesses with less than 500 employees! )

How then do we create our road map for external financing techniques and solutions? A simpler way to look at it is to categorize these different financing options under:

Debt / Loans

Asset Based Financing

Alternative Hybrid type solutions

Many top experts maintain that the alternative financing solutions currently available to your firm, in fact are on par with Canadian chartered bank financing when it comes to a full spectrum of funding. The alternative lender is typically a private commercial finance company with a niche in one of the various asset finance areas

If there is one significant trend that’s ‘ sticking ‘it’s Asset Based Finance. The ability of firms to obtain funding via assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets with no major emphasis on balance sheet structure and profits and cash flow ( those three elements drive bank financing approval in no small measure ) is the key to success in ABL ( Asset Based Lending ).

Factoring, aka ‘ Receivable Finance ‘ is the other huge driver in trade finance in Canada. In some cases, it’s the only way for firms to be able to sell and finance clients in other geographies/countries.

The rise of ‘ online finance ‘ also can’t be diminished. Whether it’s accessing ‘ crowdfunding’ or sourcing working capital term loans, the technological pace continues at what seems a feverish pace. One only has to read a business daily such as the Globe & Mail or Financial Post to understand the challenge of small business accessing business capital.

Business owners/financial mgrs often find their company at a ‘ turning point ‘ in their history – that time when financing is needed or opportunities and risks can’t be taken. While putting or getting new equity in the business is often impossible, the reality is that the majority of businesses with SME commercial finance needs aren’t, shall we say, ‘ suited’ to this type of funding and capital raising. Business loan interest rates vary with non-traditional financing but offer more flexibility and ease of access to capital.

We’re also the first to remind clients that they should not forget govt solutions in business capital. Two of the best programs are the GovernmentSmall Business Loan Canada (maximum availability = $ 1,000,000.00) as well as the SR&ED program which allows business owners to recapture R&D capital costs. Sred credits can also be financed once they are filed.

Those latter two finance alternatives are often very well suited to business start up loans. We should not forget that asset finance, often called ‘ ABL ‘ by those Bay Street guys, can even be used as a loan to buy a business.

If you’re looking to get the right balance of liquidity and risk coupled with the flexibility to grow your business seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with a track record of business finance success who can assist you with your funding needs.