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?

Sharing The Good News

Have you ever felt like you just had to share your latest good news with anyone and everyone around you, but they literally had no interest whatsoever in what you had to say? Although intended for the best, sometimes sharing the good news is not always a positive outcome.After all, people know you remember things.And every time they see you coming with that “have I got a deal for you” look of wide eyed innocence about you… they also know to be very aware with the question in their minds… what is he going to try and sell on now!?More often than not it seems as if you’re the only one oblivious to their burn out of your good news tactics and gracious offers for them to improve their lives and make more money and retire to the Florida Keys sooner than later while improving their health and well being with your new vita-pill-drink!.Both they and you know that you’re really not a bad person. The fact of the matter is that you just want to see everyone as healthy and happy as your latest new venture is promising to make the both of you. You’re just sharing the good news. I mean, after all, you could see and realize the benefits of this amazing product and were immediately sold on it… so everyone you know should jump on this opportunity as sure and as fast as you did, right!You don’t need that kind of pressure. Time to get this monkey off you back!So, as a new business person, you have to write these folks off your list and warm and friendly contacts (because the industry of network marketing labels them that way) and you end up losing your rank and status in the arena of family and friends because that same win at all costs industry says if they cannot or will not support you in whatever your dreams are, then you didn’t need them anyway.So, does that mean the pressure is now off and you as a big shot entrepreneur are free and able to tackle anyone you come in contact with using your new found attitude as fair game for your business? I would certainly hope not. That is a pure case of not sharing the good news!What you really need to remember at this point in your little business rant to save the world is… “don’t try to share your seemingly good fortune” with everyone or everything that moves!Keep in mind that some people will be wide open to change and new ideas, having been prepared by the your giving spirit from times past.But, there are those that you have engaged just as soberly before that may not be so open to yet another invitation to be set free from your definition of their less than stellar lives.When you come across those that are not, relax, don’t push them. When it comes to sharing the good news, you need to realize that it’s just not their time.If and when you sense a resistance or an uncomfortable response, just tactfully, professionally and lovingly change the subject.Demonstrate true sensitivity and concern for this person and be mindful that their time will come..it may be next week, next month or perhaps even tomorrow..or even more so, never. You just need to stay close to your moral and ethical business conventions. There’s a time and a place for everything and everyone.Having said that, I have to also state that I am not putting down or am opposed to the great many men and women who make their livelihoods persuading and selling to the masses in our society. Some of these great selling giants do come with even greater values in sharing the good news.Giving in is not necessarily always a matter of giving up.Sometimes you have to give yourself permissions to leave, to walk away, to not challenge certain conventions. And in doing so, you will gain a healthy respect for the individual as you are encouraged to listen to your inner-self and be a guiding force rather than just another selling force for something that many may not be in the market to buy.A Friend in Business… and Life… Always,-Lon-

Different Methods of Obtaining Cheap Medication Via Pharmacy Reviews

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