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?

10 Businesses You Can Start For $500 Or Less!

Long time statistics have shown that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail in their first year. Lack of planning and financial ruin is one of the most common causes. Starting small is a way to insure minimal risk in new business. The founder of Dell computers was a college dropout on a shoe-string budget who started his business out of his garage. One in three computers sold today is a Dell.The following is a list of just some of the businesses you can start for $500 or less.
Housekeeping – Requirements/ household cleaners, mop, broom, vacuum, towels, bucket, business cards – approximate cost $150. Molly Maids is a multi-million dollar business started with a broom, a mop, and quality and reliable service. I can guarantee you that the CEO of Molly Maids doesn’t clean houses any longer.

Gardening or landscaping – Requirements/ mower, edger, blower, rake, shovel, clippers, business cards – approximate cost $450. Some education won’t hurt you here, but even without it, how much money did you make mowing the neighbors yard when you were young?

Internet sales – Requirements/ computer – approximate cost $500. It’s likely you already have a computer at home so this just might be the cheapest and easiest business to start. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, nearly all retail purchases will be done over the World Wide Web. Getting on the bandwagon now may set you up for a prosperous internet business in the near future. Look into working with “drop ship” companies to avoid up front expense and storage fees.

Mobile food service – Requirements/ business cards – approximate cost $30. With a half hour lunch break, employees at many companies have little time to leave work and order lunch. Providing a morning menu for lunchtime delivery can be helpful to these people and provide a good source of income for you. Your job? Call in the order, pick it up, and deliver it; for a fee of course. Delivering 15 lunches to one company at $3 to $5 profit apiece can add up quick. Or how about a hot dog cart at special events?

Pool service – Requirements/ pool cleaning supplies, start-up chemicals, brush, net, hose, business cards – Approximate cost $400. States with warmer climates have many homes with swimming pools needing weekly care. Service to numerous homes in the same area can net you a small fortune. Business cards on the door or mailbox lets the homeowner know you are available. It may take some time to get a solid clientele, but be patient; established pool service routes can be very valuable if and when you decide to call it quits.

Consulting service – Requirements/ know-how, business cards – Approximate cost $30. What do you know that might be of monetary value to others? Sell your smarts!

Delivery service – Requirements/ the car, scooter, or bicycle you may already have/ business cards – Approximate cost $30. A great business within large city limits. Corporations, small businesses, restaurants, etc. may be in need of delivery services. Whether it is paper documents, payrolls, food, or other items, delivery services can be a steady and profitable business.

Painter – Requirements/ brushes, rollers, edger’s, towels, tarps, business cards – Approximate cost $200. Visit local hardware stores to let them know you are available for work and will purchase paint through their stores. Their referrals may keep you busy for months at a time.

Handyman – Requirements/ basic tools, business cards – Approximate cost $500. Depending on they type of jobs you acquire in this business, a contractors license may eventually be required. Check with your local and state government offices to determine at what point you will need one.

Daycare – Requirements/ toys, educational materials, bedding, a safe and clean home, love – Approximate cost $300. This business requires patience and child care experience. If you care for more than three children at one time, it’s likely you will be required to be licensed. Check with your local and state government offices for restrictions and requirements.
Most of these business start-up ideas will require an additional two items you likely already have; an automobile and a telephone. But otherwise, they are super simple and easy to start new businesses suitable for nearly anyone wanting to become self-employed.The key to having a successful business is to do what you would enjoy doing anyway. Make a list of the things you like to do and follow that with an extended list of ways to make money in a related business. Be creative with your business idea, there are many more options available for you than you probably realize!

Natural Skin Care Help For Your Aging Skin

Are you looking for help for aging skin? If you are beginning to notice wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots on your skin and face, It may be time to get serious about your skin care routine! Here are four natural skin care tips to help you rejuvenate your skin! Before you consider harsh chemical treatments or a face lift, you should know that there is health risks associated with both of these skin treatments.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the public in early 2008 that Botox and Botox Cosmetic (Botulinum toxin Type A) and Myobloc (Botulinum toxin Type B) were in some cases, linked to possible adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death.Some of these adverse reactions appeared to be related to the spread of the toxin to areas distant from the site of injection, and might mimic symptoms of botulism, including difficulty swallowing, weakness and breathing problems. Although these cases could be the result of possible overdosing, the potential risks of Botox treatments certainly pose reason for concern!Plastic surgery or getting a face lift could also pose serious health risks! Potential problems could include adverse reaction to anesthetic, excessive bleeding, permanent numbness or paralysis of facial muscles, week facial muscles or even skin necrosis or death of skin tissue. It can also cause Keloid scarring, (a heavy scarring caused by the overgrowth of granulation tissue at the site of a healed skin injury which can vary from pink to flesh-colored or red to dark brown in color).Before you consider drastic skin care treatments or surgeries, you should know that there are safer natural alternatives for helping your skin to look younger and more beautiful again!Below are four natural skin care tips that can help you address aging skin! 1. Have a good skin care routine.Practicing a good daily skin care routine can go a long way toward preventing skin aging. It is important to cleanse your face twice daily with a gentle plant based skin cleanser. You should also use a skin toner to help it return it to its normal ph balance. Then you should use a plant based skin moisturizer that is free of harsh chemicals or harmful preservatives. You should exfoliate your face at least two times per week. Be sure to use an all natural sun screen to protect your skin from UV damage,2. Choose plant oil based skin care products over petroleum oil based products.Your skin is a living organ that needs oxygen! Skin moisturizers that contain petroleum derivatives, such as petrolatum, mineral oil or propylene glycol, can clog your skins pores and prevent your skin from breathing. This may cause your pores to enlarge to get their needed oxygen, which could lead to skin aging and skin damage such as wrinkles and fine lines.Plant based products allow your skin to breath and will nourish your skin cells with antioxidants, amino acids, and other essential phyto-nutrients. This can help your aging skin to regain its natural healing balance, and also help maintain adequate hydration levels to give your skin a more even, radiant and luminous tone!3. Stop putting harmful chemicals on your skin.Scientists estimate that you can absorb up to 60% of chemicals from any skin care products that you come into contact with, which will send them directly to your bloodstream. In fact, it may take as little as 26 seconds for some substances to move from the skin to every major organ of the body, which is why nicotine and birth control patches are so effective! Skin care products containing harsh chemical ingredients such as Propylene Glycol and Sodium Laurel Sulfate, as well as preservatives like Propylparaben or Methylparaben may cause serious problems not only for your skin, but also for your health. Hormone disruptions, birth defects, organ damage…even skin cancer or breast cancer may result from toxic chemicals in personal care products! Also, be careful to not use sunscreens containing harmful ingredients!4. Live a healthy lifestyle.Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and make sure you are getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids, either through eating fish or taking a fish or krill oil supplement. Be sure you also drink plenty of water each day! Getting enough sleep and reducing stress can also slow skin aging. Don’t smoke! Smoking is very harmful to your skin and will destroy your skins texture and suppleness.The four skin care tips listed above are all natural and easy steps you can take to combat aging skin! They are safe and effective ways that can help your skin look younger and more beautiful again, without risking your health with harsh chemical treatments or dangerous surgeries!