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?

Natural Skin Care And Beauty – The Steps You Need To Know

With everything going green these days, natural skin care has never been more popular. Skin care companies are adding natural based products to their product offerings. Most any beauty store you pass has natural skin care products in the window. However, true natural skin care is more than using just natural products or homemade skin care remedies. It is a lifestyle routine.Natural skin care is natural beauty and vice versa. However, it is affected by more than what you put on your skin and if that product is natural. Practicing natural skin care involves a lifestyle that practices healthy habits all the time. If you eat a poor diet, never exercise and smoke, then there is not product natural or otherwise that is going to keep your skin young and healthy. The most important factor for maintaining a beautiful complexion starts from the inside. In other words, natural beauty is more than skin deep.Six Factors That Can Influence the Way Your Skin Looks
Diet: What you put. It is just as important as any product you could put on your skin. A balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits, low in sugar, low in bad fats, rich in calcium and plenty of water, will do more to keep you a natural beauty than any store bought product.

Physical Activity and Proper Sleep: Exercise is great for the skin. It promotes good blood flow to the dermis and brings more oxygen to the skin. On the flip side, getting enough sleep is just as necessary for beautiful skin especially as we age. An average adult should get 8 to 9 hours of sleep when possible.

Environment: The outside and inside environment in which you spend your days can affect your skin in many ways. The sun being the most obvious. UVA/UVB rays can do lots of damage to our skin down to the deeper collagen layers. With all the great sun protection choices available, there is no reason not to protect your skin. Wind can dry and chap your skin and smog can leave a thin layer of dirt on your skin; so make sure you moisturize and keep your skin clean. Even air-conditioning and heating can affect the health of your skin.

Heredity: Great skin or skin problems can run in the family. If you get a beautiful complexion from your grandmother, don’t take it for granted. Your skin will still need proper care. The same goes for skin problems. Do not feel like there is nothing you can do. Following the recommendations here and finding a good skin care system can improve or totally alleviate these problems.

Stress: Avoid stress as much as possible. Too much stress can adversely affect your total health including how your skin looks. Practicing natural skin care includes reducing or eliminating stress from your life.

Medications: Certain medications can affect your skin, sometimes resulting in rashes, dry skin or acne. Always consult your doctor if you are taking medications that seem to be changing your skin. Hormonal medications and some antibiotics are examples.
Other tips for a natural skin care lifestyle are:1. Give your body a dry brush exfoliation.Dry brush exfoliation removes dead skin cells and helps to detoxify your skin. Dry brushing also improves lymph and blood circulation. The gentle brushing is also relaxing for your nerves and can help decrease puffiness.2. Try to avoid sugar overload in your diet.Eating sugar is considered one of the major causes of premature aging. Too much sugar in the bloodstream can cause a process to happen known as glycation. Glycation is when a glucose (sugar) molecule attaches to a protein molecule. When this happens, the protein molecule is damaged and a new molecule is formed and is called advanced glycation end-products or AGE’s. AGE’s damage collagen in the skin, cartilage, and ligaments and causes a loss of elasticity. This causes sagging and wrinkles.3. Keep things moving.A sluggish circulation affects your skin by leaving it starved for nutrients. Inactivity can leave you bloated, puffy, increase acne, and encourage cellulite. So if you have a job that leaves you sitting all the time, it is very important to use your breaks and get moving. Talk a couple laps around the office. Join a gym. Get outside on the weekends. Good circulation will improve your skin and your whole body.4. Rev Up Your DigestionA good running digestive system is good for your skin and total well being. People with skin problems often suffer from digestive problems like constipation or an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.To rev up your digestion, try to drink enough water. Water keeps things moving through the colon which is always important. Then make sure to eat enough fiber in your daily diet. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board recommended that women, aged 19 to 50 years, need 25 grams of fiber daily and over age 50, 21 grams of fiber. For men, aged 19 to 50 years, 38 grams of fiber is recommended. Men over 50 years, need to include 31 grams of fiber in their diet.To add fiber to your diet, make sure to include whole grain products, cauliflower, apples with skin, nuts and seeds, prunes, bean, legumes and ground flax seed.5. Eat Good FatsGood fats are the essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. Your body cannot live without these essential fatty acids. EFA’s are needed to make cell membranes, hormones, and other body chemicals. They protect your heart and fight inflammation. EFA’s can help people with dry skin, acne and eczema. Essential fatty acids can be found in cold water fish like salmon or sardines, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and supplements.A few more steps that you should include in your natural skin care and beauty system are:
Brush your teeth after every meal

Pamper yourself with a weekly facial or steam

Treat yourself to a monthly or more total body treatment

Always protect your skin from the sun and elements

Use natural skin care products

Be happy and confident! A smiling face always shows your inner beauty.
For more skin care advice, please visit Better-Skin-Care.com

Promotional Apparel – Facts and Purchasing Tips

Custom printed apparel is a very popular way of advertising your business. Clothing is one of our basic necessities. We cannot go out into the world wearing nothing on right? Similarly, a marketing strategy is not complete without promotional apparel. They really do score you big publicity points.It is said that the early men and women who walked the earth used leaves, grass, fur and leather as clothing materials. They basically just enveloped in it their body to protect themselves from the elements. It is not yet confirmed when humans first started wearing clothes but scientists theorized that it was probably during the time when people traveled from Africa to other parts of the world. It is important to note, however, that style, appearance, and form of clothes are based on many factors like gender, race, religion and social status. Apparel is another term for clothing.Presently, humans wear a variety of apparel. Men wear polo shirts, slacks, pants and shorts. Women usually don dresses, skirts, blouses as polo shirts as well. Children wear basically similar items but may differ in style and size. Corporate apparel may also include sweat shirts, jacket, and even windbreakers. Accessories like footwear, scarves, towels, and caps may also be considered as apparel.The advantages of giving away promotional apparel are:1. Wide Audience Reach – Given the assortment of items, custom printed apparel will surely attract a lot of people’s attention because everyone can wear them. Just imagine well-designed promotional apparel, say a T-shirt for example, worn by most men and women in your own town or city. The rate of publicity of your company will shoot up big time.2. Variety in Styles – Promotional apparel come in different styles that range from formal to casual. You are therefore given the liberty to choose which kind or style best works for you.3. Ease and Comfort – Most custom made apparel is easy to use, clean and maintain. They’re also comfortable to wear.4. Print-ability – One of clothing items’ best qualities is that they are ideal for printing and embroidery. You may choose which method works for you best and apply it to your promotional apparel.5. Durability – They are made to last. You can be sure that your customers and clients will be able to enjoy its benefits for a long time which also means longer advertisement time for you!Are you now excited to get your own set of customized apparel? Read these tips first:1. Plan Your Budget – It is always best to draw up a budget plan first before you settle on any business deal. Know how much you can spend on promotional items so you don’t go overboard.2. Consider the Weather – Before you get a whole batch of shirts or jackets printed try to identify first what time of the year you plan on giving away these items? Will it be during the winter or summer season? If it’s for the chilly season you might want to order long sleeved shirts. However if you plan to have your launching day during summertime you would have to settle for T-shirts that are made of light fabric. The kind of apparel you give out should be in accordance to the present weather.3. Gender Studies – You should also take into account the type of target audience you have. Will they be generally male or female? You might want to choose an article of clothing that would suit both sexes.4. Color Matters – Choose colors that would best suit your company name or logo. While it is fun to experiment on different color schemes you have to be wise about picking a design that would look appealing and eye-catchy.