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?

What Gardening Equipment You Need to Pursue Your Hobby

Gardening for a greener, healthier and more habitable America is one of the causes promoted by the National Gardening Association. The organization is encouraging everyone to pursue gardening as a job or hobby. You can do it, too, if you know how to start your own garden. However, you need to consider a few things first to determine what type of garden you can create. Some of the things that you need to look into are location, gardening equipment, type of soil, gardening tools, supplies, and more.Some people opt to grow annual and perennial plants in places where these plants are suitable, while others opt to start a vegetable garden that is maintained as an organic harvest. These types of gardens are often found in suburban homes. These are often cultivated with the parent’s desire to add more nutrition into the meals of their kids every day. The vegetable garden is a good way to ensure that you will have fresh harvest that is easily within reach.To make this garden productive, you need basic gardening equipment. The necessary equipment and tools can help you put your gardening plans into fruition.Protective Gardening GearWhile you are outdoors toiling on your garden, you need to wear protective gear. By wearing the right gear, you will be protected from the dirt, germs, mud or other harmful stuff that could come from gardening. However, you might be a bit worried at first thinking about the additional cost of having to buy protective clothing and other necessary gears. You don’t need to worry at all because the equipment that you need are not really expensive. Wearing the right gear is also more cost-effective rather than wearing and damaging your trainers, shoes or flip-flops while gardening. By having on a pair of heavy-duty wellington boots or gardening tools, your shoes will be completely protected from soil, gravel, stones, sturdy roots, falling tools, muddy grounds after heavy rains, and other conditions that could put you in danger.There are several garden shoes to choose from, but the sturdiest brands would be your best choice. You can also wear gardening aprons with pouches and pockets that can hold your hand tools, plant labels, seed packets or garden twines. They can also secure your mobile phone and other important personal times while you are gardening. Gardening gloves can protect your hands from cuts, and you can choose among the lightweight and heavy-duty types.Additional Gardening EquipmentThere are garden equipment kits that you can order online. Some good kits include trowel, transplanter, hedge shear, weeder, narrow trowel, knee pad, edging knife, pitch fork, hose nozzle, water stop, adjustable metal hose nozzle, water tap adaptors, and more. You may also buy a tool seat consisting of a chair and tool kit.Garden AccessoriesFun garden accessories are available to make your garden look even more beautiful and functional. You can choose from automated sprinklers, patio heaters, bird houses, greenhouse vents, basket and trugs, carts and containers, seed tray, rain water butt, sprayers, and others.

How to Get Your Private Party Auto Loans

The problem occurs when the individual planning to buy the car does not have enough cash to make the down payment. That’s where private party auto loans come in. They provide a way out for such individuals who desire to finance their vehicles and don’t have enough resources to make their down payments.What are private party auto loans?It’s not mandatory to get your auto loan from traditional car dealers or banks. It’s possible to negotiate with private parties and finance your commutation needs. One way of doing this is to get your credit facility from a private party who specialize in providing car loans without any down payment. Typically, in order to avail private loans, it’s important to find a vehicle that’s offered for sale by the original owner. At times neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, and colleagues decide to change their car, and put up their old car for sale. They often advertise their sale in local newspapers, magazines, and even advert their vehicle online in forums and portals supporting classified ads. One can get a good deal from such sources.Once the particular model or make is selected, the current owner has to be contacted for the sale price and vehicle specs. Thereafter, through proper price negotiation, it becomes possible to get a decent price for the car. The major advantage in these kinds of person to person auto loan sales is there are no brokers or dealers involved, and so the price of the car does not include the brokerage or commission. The buyer gets a potential discount that way.And the second advantage is you end up communicating with the actual owner, and not the auto dealer, so you end up with first hand information regarding the vehicle’s performance and history, including various aspects such as maintenance, insurance, any previous accident history, etc. The third advantage is you end up paying an affordable price for your car, since used cars cost significantly less. The used auto loans private party monthly loan repayment amount is therefore less, so it’s easier to repay. This actually improves your credit scores and ratings, since FICO scores increase with regular payments.How to apply for private party auto loans?The process is quite simple. The buyer generally searches online for cars offered for sale, and browses the list of vehicles. Thereafter, a few of the models and makes satisfying the buyer’s requirement are short-listed. The buyer has two choices. Either to contact the seller directly and negotiate the sale after checking out the vehicle, or apply online after filling up an application form. The forms are simple in nature and some basic information has to be provided by the applicants.Alternately, the buyer can also specify some specific requirements such as mileage, age of the car, specific model or make, and even the year of manufacturing in rare cases. Some buyers also request for information related to the existing owner to ascertain how well the car has been maintained, how many services it has had, and also some specific data associated with the insurance policy or claims linked with the car.Once the car and the owner has been decided, the second step is to approach the lender. If you’ve applied online, a loan provider will be made available to you so you don’t have to search for one. In case you’ve negotiated directly, and if your credit ratings are low, it’s recommended you search online for bad credit private party auto loans provider and fill up the application form to avail your credit facility.What are eligibility for private party auto loans?One needs to qualify for private party loans. Generally, the norms related to the eligibility remain more or less common amongst the providers, and are narrated as follows:o The applicant should be of 18 years of age or above.
o The minimum income per week should be $418 or $21,736 annually.
o The borrower should have lived for more than six months within the last two residences mentioned in the form.
o The applicant should have worked for more than six months with the last two employers mentioned in the application form.
o The borrower should not have filed for bankruptcy, nor be involved with any ongoing bankruptcy.
o The individual should possess a valid social security number.Many private money lenders advertise their loan products online so sufficient choices are available. Once you submit your application online, the company executive co-ordinates with the potential buyer to get the required documentation and contact details.