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?

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Understanding Payday Loans

Life is a roller coaster ride, isn’t it? We experience vicissitudes of life. Left and right we definitely in need of money to sustain our individual and personal necessities. Aside from this, we are often times tempted with the bargains in the shopping malls and inevitably we spent more than what we expect to have. Exactly, this is true, this happens in reality and this results to financial shortage. Now, where we go? Here we go again, finding possible solution to catch and cover our expenses. And what to do? Are we going to let ourselves experience starvation? Here’s payday loans, a great and helpful source to answer our problem.Let us try to reflect on this, let’s understand what payday loans is.Payday loans let you borrow small amounts of money for as little as a week or a month, but with very high interest rates, which mean it could end up costing far more than you bargained for. These are suitable for someone going through financial crisis. In the event an individual goes bankrupt and is unable to meet the high cost of his utility and medical bills, payday loans can be very helpful. These are given by private lenders or lending institutions in the form of cash advances on Payroll cheques.Let’s take this for instance, in U.K. They let you borrow from £50 to £1,000 for a few days or up to a month until you get paid the following month. Loan companies typically charge up to £30 for every £100 cash loan you borrow for up to 31 days. This may sound reasonable on the face of it, but it equates to an APR (annual percentage rate) of a whopping 2,255%. The idea of payday or cash loans is that they give you access to emergency cash for a short period without you having to go to your bank. However, with such high interest rates borrowing a small amount of money can be very expensive. Isn’t it?Now, applying for a payday loan is easy as lenders make few checks and in some cases credit checks are not carried out at all. However payday loans can be a very expensive way to borrow money. For example, a cash loan of £500 in U.K for 31 days could cost almost £150 in interest – or almost £5 per day.One of the biggest problems with loans is that the following month when the loan is repaid, you may find that you are short of money again and a further loan is needed. In this way the cost of borrowing a small amount of money can increase dramatically. Loan companies have been blamed for getting people into debt problems they are unable to get out of.As a last resort, a payday loan could provide an emergency cash advance for up to a month. However make sure you budget so you can pay the cash advance back within the agreed term and so you don’t have to take out another the following month. Although it’s interest rates are very high, charges vary – shop around to find the best deal on cash loans or try visiting the web and browse on the on line payday loans. Read them with understanding and try to reflect on it.Definitely, payday loans are almost certainly not the only borrowing option. An authorized credit card will be much cheaper. The world is changing dramatically each day, and if you are in financial difficulties, before you borrow money or take out a cash loan, use some debt help tools and search for articles to get information on your situation that could help your finances on the right track.I assure you, aside from payday loans, Saving is one tool to avoid from going into loans which cause you much disgrace, trouble and great financial dilemma.