The number one reason that businesses fail is due to insufficient capital (they run out of cash). According to Bloomberg 8 out of 10 business owners fail within the first 18 months. Another 50% fail in the first 5 years. Other reasons businesses fail include; lack of experience, bad location, entering over saturated markets, over investment in fixed assets, unexpected growth and poor credit arrangements. Let’s add one more to the list; not knowing where to go to access working capital.
Most businesses owners invest their own personal money to keep the business going. Some will go to friends and families. Some will try the bank. But if you don’t have a lot of assets to pledge, a proven track record, a good credit rating or are not yet profitable, the chances are the bank is going to turn you down. So where do you go to get a loan to take your businesses to the next level?
There are private companies that will provide a loan to a business that has daily cash flow, as long as some basic requirements are met. A business owner does not have to pledge assets or have a great credit rating. There are viable financing alternatives, to receive business funding that are not considered loans. Business funding programs do exist where you are not required to pledge assets, have great credit or a long proven track record. A word of caution, do not expect to get the same rates you would get from a bank. These private lenders are taking on more risk than a bank, so a higher return on their investment is expected. Some of the available business financing options include, a Merchant Cash Advance, a Small Business Loan, Purchase Order Financing, Invoice Factoring and Supply Chain Financing.
Merchant Cash Advance
If your business accepts credit cards and debit cards there is a program called a Merchant Cash Advance that has very high approval rates. A business owner does not have to sign personally or have good credit. A Merchant Cash Advance is not a loan but rather a purchase of your future credit card / debit card receipts. The advancer will buy a future amount of credit card receipts / debit card receipts at a discounted rate. A small portion of a businesses daily sales will be taken by the advancer until the amount is re-paid. Typical payback is 6 to 10 months.
Small Business Loan
There is a small business loan available for business owners. The lender is more concerned about a company’s daily cash flow then about credit ratings and the ability to pledge assets. The business owner does not have to sign personally. This small business loan has very high approval rates, with some basic requirements for funding. The lender will take a small fixed amount of daily sales until the loan is repaid. The term of the loan is one year.
Purchase Order Financing
Has your business been working on landing a large contract? Congratulations you just received that long awaited purchase order. As you admire your new conquest you see some small print with the words Net 30, 45 or 60. Your business may have a cash flow issue. Vendors and payroll may have to be paid before you receive payment from your customer. If your business does not have enough available working capital or access to working capital to wait to get paid before you have pay your vendors and staff then what do you do? If your purchase order is from a reputable company then your business may be able to receive a cash advance against that purchase order. The purchase order itself is a legal agreement to purchase a product or service from your company. A lender will know that the customer will pay as long as you fulfill your end of the contract and advance you enough money to ensure you meet your contractual obligations. A lender will be concerned with the customer’s ability to pay, and your ability to fulfill the contract. They will not be as concerned about a businesses credit rating or the pledging of additional assets.
A company can be profitable and still go out of business due to poor cash flows. What a profound statement. A cash flow gap can be created when a customer pays slower than a company has time to pay its employees and vendors. The company is waiting for customers to pay before it can pay its own expenses. This can be a very serious situation and cause a profitable company to go out of business. Fortunately there is an alternative financing solution called Factoring of Invoices.
Factoring invoices is a business financial transaction where by a business sells its accounts receivable (invoices) to a lender (factoring company) at a discount. For this type of business financing there are three parties involved. One is the company that provides the service or goods to the customer, two is the factoring company that will provide the company with an advance, and three is the end customer that received the goods or services. When the company provides goods or services to the end customer an invoice is created. That invoice is then purchased by a factoring company at a discount. The factoring company will advance the company a large portion of the value of that invoice.
The end customer will then pay the factoring company directly the value of the entire invoice. When the end customer pays the invoice, the factoring company will send the remaining amount of the invoice minus a small fee to the company that factored the invoice. Consider the following scenario: A company completes a service or sells goods to an end customer that typically takes 30 days to pay. Almost immediately after the transaction happens a factoring company will advance the company a large portion of that invoice. The company now has most of its funds available, almost immediately, to pay it’s suppliers, complete payroll or what ever else they would like to do with the funds. Once the end customer pays the invoice the remaining amount is forwarded to the company minus a small fee. Factoring of invoices can help out tremendously with cash flows, especially if a company is in a growth period. Factoring companies are not as concerned about the companies credit rating as they are more concerned about the customers ability to pay.
Reverse Factoring or Supply Chain Financing
This method of business financing is much like invoice factoring. The difference is, traditional factoring is when a supplier chooses to factor the invoices to their customers but with reverse factoring or supply chain factoring, the customer initiates the factoring to help their suppliers to finance their receivables. Reverse Factoring or Supply Chain Financing can be an effective way to improve your cash flows. The benefit to both parties is that the company providing the goods or services can get the outstanding value of their invoices paid very quickly and the ordering company can delay the payment of the invoices, thus improving their cash flow position.