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?

Are E-Commerce Jobs Worth Your Attention?

The uprise of e-commerce industry dates back to the year of 2004 when Amazon.com acquired Indian e-commerce website bazee.com. This acquisition, did attract attention and the potential that this industry has, led to the emergence of several e-commerce platforms, in their own niche categories, with a uniform trend in its market worth, the industry reached USD 2.5 Billion in 2009 to USD 6.3 Billion in 2011 to USD 16 Billion in 2013.The above mentioned figures in Billions of Dollar are a testimony, of its unprecedented growth and the untapped potential this sector holds within itself, which is projected to reach USD 20 Billion in 2015 and USD 23 Billion by 2023.The growth of this sector could be credited to; the developments in technology which made it the easiest mediums to shop, unlimited products with wide range to choose from, the discounts and offers that are available throughout the year, are the factors that have contributed for the growth and development of this sector.The upward growth of the industry did create an ongoing demand for professionals from several domains to take up challenging roles, and steer the industry forward. There is a concoction of professionals from several domains that this industry demands.Engineering and management graduates are the pillars of e-commerce industry, being a technology driven industry, the skills, expertise and creativity of a technical professional is one of the primary constituents of the success of an e-commerce organization.As far as your career goals and aspirations are concerned, e-commerce companies offer experiences and a career path that will accelerate your career growth, leading you to the top of your career ladder.Employee stock options, fat pay checks, flexible working hours and paid holidays, are the added advantages that are showered upon you with e-commerce jobs. Employers in this industry are building a work culture that allows an individual to explore their potential to its fullest, stay skewed from stress and any other hindrances that dampen their productivity.The final verdict, would be that this industry is in its nascent stage taking, and professionals with 4-5 years in this industry are highly valued as their experience and thought processes are in alignment with the business objectives, that is, to solve real-world problems with the application of concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and if you have these skills on your tips, then these jobs and you, both are a perfect cut out for each other.
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The Importance of Good Nutrition at Any Age

Nutrition is a complex and fast developing science. Nutrition is the science that deals with all the various factors of which food is composed and the way in which proper nourishment is brought about. Nutrition is part of every family’s health responsibility. Nutrition is the process by which we take in and use food and supplements for health, growth, and energy.NutritionThe national obsession with healthy eating (or at least talking about healthy eating) is translating into a booming business for the companies that restaurants and food processors turn to for performing nutritional analyses of their products.Nutritional management, in the form of a meal plan designed especially for you, will help you to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, and maintain or lose weight. Nutritional therapists are increasingly playing a prominent role in helping individuals with their wellbeing. Nutritional therapists call on the latest developments in nutritional thinking and technology to achieve this. And optimal nutritional status is a prerequisite for optimal health. Against a poor nutritional background even exercise can be a stressor, depleting minerals, B vitamins and antioxidants that are not being replacedBody & AgeAfter age fifty there are many metabolic and physiological changes which impact on the nutritional needs of an individual. There are a wide range of reasons why older individuals might not be eating the most nutritious diet which is all the more reason why health professionals and care providers need to be constantly aware of the necessity for maintaining an optimal nutritional health status in the elderly. Nutrition advise for older adults should be designed to respond to the changing physiological, psychological, social and economic capabilities of the individual while assuring that the overall nutritional needs are met with the freedom to keep meals and eating an important aspect to the quality of life during the later years.