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?

Things to Know About Small Business Online Advertising

Small businesses are the heart of every country. Almost every one of us has a tendency to buy your car from the same car dealer as your parents or your friends even if it a local retailer you know of or to shop at the same neighborhood store every week. Consequently, most of the jobs in our economy come from these small business owners. However, there are some cases wherein many of these business owners fail within their first year of business. The major reason for this is the lack of proper advertising and marketing strategies.It is quite obvious that small business owners do not have a budget to launch a large scale advertising campaign. However, internet is a cheap and effective method of advertising since it can reach to a huge audience and thus can help in increasing your business to a large extent. Just like advertising in newspapers of your region to attract local consumers, even in internet you have to find out the websites and search engines that are mostly used by the people in your locality and region. This can be a bit time consuming but there are some websites that are aimed at a particular geographical area. Thus if you aim at such websites your work is greatly reduced.Just like newspaper, there are classifies ads even on the internet. These are one of the cheapest ways to advertise online. For effective small business online advertising, you have to be a good copywriter in order to create effective and attractive ads that will be noticed by the users. Another very effective method is to send personal emails.You can rent email lists from various companies and select the recipients according the geographical area and other demographics. However, you need to supply an attractive headline which will cause the recipient to open your mail and read your advertisement.There are different ways in which online advertisements are paid. There are some banner ads that are put up in popular blogs and other websites. These ads are paid for each time they are clicked and viewed. Clicking on the banner will lead the user to the website of the product. Sometimes depending on the keyword these advertisements are placed on websites that are related to the keyword. For instance if you are florist and are advertising for your shop you can place your ad in websites that are related to flowers and buying flowers. However, there are some advertisements that are paid for each time they are simply put up online.Unlike big and established companies, small business owners are mostly new to the area of online advertising. There are some companies that are specialized in small business online advertising. You can take help from these services in the beginning in order to understand the advertising and marketing strategies in online market.They might even help you in drafting your advertisements in an attractive way that will definitely attract online users. It is necessary to create advertisements that have bright colors and graphics which can be easily seen among all the other ads.

Finance Debt Consolidation – Evoke – Invoke – and Revoke the Debt

EvokeFixing in the marsh of financial debts is more or less an open secret. It is not the folly of individuals that they come under the subjugation of loan plans. Nevertheless, scarcity of finance makes individuals to leap out for loan assistance. And, by and by, unstopping availing loans inadequately, shows a person under the debt grave. For, lending authority of the UK has emerged with a solution of finance debt consolidation. Hereby, an individual has to deal in with a single lender for all of his pending dues.InvokeMany options of availing the facility of the finance debt consolidation are thrown open ways for the borrowers. In some of these lending option collateral pledging keep centre stage, whereas some of these, contain no such placing pledging. Both of these lending programs are planned at to solve the debt crux. Need is only of the right approach to the program and rest of the works is of financial experts. Yes, these experts give their best first hand knowledge about the finance debt consolidation plan to the aspirants.RevokeApplying for a finance debt consolidation online gives an individual the convenience to get instant and cheap rate dealing. A candidate accesses through internet from his office, home, or from any cyber café, and browse number of online financing websites at a time. These sites work round the clock. There are a number of loan professionals staff available, who screen borrowers’ application form and work out to find the most apt and suitable loan deal to them.Apart from this, individuals under the adversity of bad credit history too, can avail the facility of finance debt consolidation. The financing effectively merge ones various outstanding debts to make them in a single debt unit and lowers down the overall interest rate in most of the cases.As the repayment term is extended since one procures a new loan, individuals end up paying low monthly instalments. If a person can take the risk on ones property, if the person has to obtain secured finance debt consolidation, the person will get even lesser interest rate and a comparatively longer repayment terms.