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?

Entry Level Finance – Why Finding Your New Job Will Be Easy

Entry level finance jobs can be easy to come by if you know where and how to look. You are probably fresh out of college, and you are seeking a job in an entry level finance position. A common question many fresh graduates have is “How long would it take you to find a job, considering there are so many other people out there looking for the same job that I am looking for?”Nowadays, it isn’t as difficult to seek a job as it used to be, despite what the economy is going through. We have the Internet, and there are so many sites available on there where employers advertise to look for people like you. There are many websites that can assist you in your search.Unfortunately, because the Internet has gotten so popular, a majority of the people you are competing with are most likely going to do the same thing as you. The first thing they are probably going to do is get on
the Internet and visit those website where they know they can find some job openings in the entry level finance field. So far, you’re doing everything your competition is doing. You’ll probably look for job openings, email the employers, and wait for the employers to contact you back to possibly set up an interview. Pretty basic stuff.Well, the good news is, not a lot of your competitors will go above and beyond like you will. If you are really serious about getting yourself a well paying entry level finance job, you will go above and beyond in order to beat all your other competitors.First, you will seek for the job openings in finance field. You are going to email the employer your resume and cover letter, then, you will not just wait for the company to contact you. You are going to have to call them and let them get to know about you, that way, you are already in their minds. If possible, you can even visit their office and introduce yourself. This process can take a little bit of time and effort, especially if the company you are applying for is a very busy company and has a lot going on, but you are going to have to be patient and understand that this is a part of getting yourself ahead in the game. Remember, employers like to hire aggressive and people skilled employees like you and they are not going to know what’s so different about you and your skill set just by sending them an email.Once you get yourself an interview, it’s time for you to shine even more! Be professional, yet friendly. Be aggressive, yet cool. Employers don’t like to hire robots. They like to hire people who have great personalities and know how to take initiative and can make good decisions. Let them know that you are very interested in an entry level finance position and sell them the skill set what you bring to the table.With this knowledge, not only will you advance in looking for a entry level finance job, but you will also build a lot more confidence during your interview, knowing that you have reached that far in the game. Good luck in finding your position in entry level finance.

Commercial Carpet Is A Must For Your Commercial Area

Carpets are used in many places to make a room or house look beautiful. Carpets which are used in commercial places are known as commercial carpets. In today’s world, which is hugely competitive, being successful in whatever you do is vital. There are many things that contribute towards making a business or any other venture successful. The interior of a place including the carpet, tiles or the area rugs are some of the things that help in giving professional look to a place. Your commercial place can be anything starting from an office to hotel to restaurant or something else.There is a wide variety of commercial carpet available in the market and you can easily find the type you want to use in your office or any other commercial area. Depending on the kind of commercial place you have, you must make the choice of commercial carpet. Suppose if you have an office where you need your staff to work in complete silence, then you can opt for commercial carpets. The carpet which you use must be thick and of good quality. Well it is not that you will replace your commercial carpet every year. So make a smart choice about this as you are undertaking all this for the progress of your business.The best part of using commercial carpet in your office or commercial place is that the carpets can mask footstep and other sounds. It can be very annoying for a person, who is completely immersed in his/her work and suddenly sounds of footstep or any other clattering noise disturbs you. The entire concentration of the person breaks and needless to say that work will indeed be affected because of this. The color, design and make of the commercial carpet are also important. Make an effort to choose commercial carpet in subdued color tones. Surely, you will not want your office to look garish with carpets of abnormally bright shade.In your city, you will find several stores that sell commercial carpets, tiles and area rugs. Area rugs are not very commonly used in commercial outlets. However, certain exceptions are there. This can be used in some places like the reception area or some of the rooms in a hotel or restaurant. Getting commercial carpet, tiles and area rugs is not a difficult this. You can go to the store and choose the type of carpet that you want. Most carpets dealers have professionals working for them, who can help you in making an estimate. The professional can come to your office and provide an exact estimate of the amount of carpet which you will need. He can also tell the correct amount of money that you have to pay.Keeping your commercial carpet clean and dust free is also important. So simply buying the commercial carpet is not sufficient, you must know the right method to keep the carpet clean. Try to buy commercial carpet which can resist liquid spillage. Controlling the spillage in a carpet is a tough job, so the best you can do is buy commercial carpet that is spill resistant, so that you do not have to worry about anything.