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?

Wearing Golf Clothes

Getting good golf clothing is an important part of playing the game. If you apparel does not fit well or does not properly protect you from the weather, it can create a distraction while playing. If your clothes are uncomfortable, it can also greatly affect your playing time. Listed below are some basic tips to help you find the right clothes for golfing.Dress CodesDifferent golfing clubs have a variety of dress codes. Some may be very loose with their rules, while other have strict requirements about the clothing you can and cannot wear. The majority of clubs require nice pants or waterproof trousers, and sleeved shirts. If the weather is hot, you may be permitted to wear nice shorts and a polo shirt. Avoid wearing T-shirts and other casual types of clothing because it is generally frowned on at most golfing ranges. If you want to be sure about the requirements, you can call the range beforehand.WeatherIf you are golfing at a kid’s range with your children, be sure to bring children’s waterproof trousers and shirts in case it rains. Similarly, adults should also protect themselves from natural elements while playing. During hot weather, you will probably be comfortable wearing a pair of nice shorts and a collared shirt made from ventilated material. Colder days will require more clothing, so consider wearing a pull-over or long sleeve shirt with pants. If you are still cold, put on a jacket as well.The sun can be very enjoyable while playing, but there can be nothing more annoying than sun in your eyes while you are trying to focus on a tee. The sun can cause instant blindness, causing you to miss the swing or your shot. To keep this from happening, consider wearing a hat or sunglasses, or sometimes both.FootwearShoes are an important aspect for any golfer. Whether you are an amateur or intermediate player, it is essential to wear the right set of shoes. It should be comfortable, good quality, and able to handle well on all types of surfaces.You can buy shoes at almost any store, but golfing shoes will need to be bought at a sports shop. Tennis shoes are suitable for most areas, but you can also get specialized golfing shoes that are made for walking on grass and muddy areas. If you are walking for a long time, the shoes need to be comfortable to prevent blisters.

Nutritional Supplements – Are They Truly Necessary?

Find out if nutritional supplements are truly necessary for good health and whyNutritional supplements, vitamins and minerals taken to improve diet and health, are becoming more and more popular in today’s society. Many people, looking for some way to improve health and wellness, have turned to nutritional supplements for help. This trend has created an endless supply of nutritional supplements and brands advertising them in slightly different, supposedly better forms. Is it simply a useless fad? Or do people really need nutritional supplements to improve their health? The fact is that, due to eating habits, food quality, and other environmental factors in our society, nutritional deficiency is a reality that is difficult to avoid. Taking nutritional supplements is necessary to combat nutritional deficiency.Modern eating habits have created a need for Nutritional SupplementsEating habits have changed dramatically over the last century. Low in nutrients but extremely high in convenience, fast food has become a daily part of life for many people. Fresh foods are preferable, but not always easy to obtain or convenient to use. Even the healthiest individuals find it nearly impossible to get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients from dietary sources alone. Very few people actually consume the seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables that they should a day. Nutritional supplements can fill in important gaps in a normal diet. The vitamins and minerals that they contain contribute to overall health and a strong immune system. Keep in mind, however, that nutritional supplements only supplement a diet, they do not replace it.Nutritional Supplements and the decreasing quality of foodAs eating habits have slowly become worse, so has the quality of the food itself. It is nearly impossible for the average person to obtain the proper amounts of vitamin and minerals from modern processed food that is packed full of sugar and fat. Even vegetables and fruits are of a lower standard. In 1992, the United Nations Earth Summit found that vegetables naturally containing vitamins and minerals like copper, potassium, boron, magnesium, and bioflavonoids contain dramatically less than they did fifty years ago. Such diminished levels of vitamins and minerals can be made up for through the use of nutritional supplements. Not doing so can lead to nutritional deficiency and a slew of completely avoidable health problems.Other environmental factors and Nutritional SupplementsUnfortunately, our society and culture produce other factors that can be damaging to health. These include high levels of stress and pollution. Both can weaken the immune system and make people vulnerable to sicknesses that could be combated if the body was stronger. Nutritional supplements help the body’s immune system continue functioning at peak levels of performance and thereby protect itself from the constant bombardment of disease that we all face.Taking nutritional supplements helps the body maintain a healthy, efficient immune system. This, in turn, protects the body from harmful effects and diseases brought on by factors like eating habits, food quality, and our stress filled environment.