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?

Tips To Reduce The Cost Of Multi-Age Home Schooling

Multi-Age Home Schooling can be a much more expensive choice for the family than Public Schooling, as there are a lot of expenditures that need to be made.This hasn’t stopped families to home school their children, realizing this way is a much more effective and flexible option. That being said, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways you can reduce costs. Here are a few tips that will help you do just that:You don’t have to buy the textbooks and all the other materials – just the ones you can’t borrow from the library or from local schools where you should be able to lend them or buy them at a cheap price. Other materials you can just download from the internet and print them at your convenience.Visit the online multi-age home based schooling communities and just ask where you can find free or cheap learning resources.Another great way to teach your child at a very low price is to simply go to the zoo, botanic gardens or if you want to teach history you can easily visit museums or historical sites. Culture can be taught by visiting various cultural locations or by going to the theater. Many of these are free, and the others cost very little.Every neighborhood has its home based schooling community. By joining these home based schooling communities, you can learn from other homeschooling parents by sharing experience.The community can ask the local public school for donations of used textbooks, and other useful materials. The home based schooling community can develop a fund together and negotiate with publishers for cheaper prices.You should take these tips into consideration and reduce multi-age home schooling costs so you can use the money for other pleasurable activities for you and your family.

Nutritional Health Supplements – How I Was Wrong About Them

It was my opinion that everybody gets enough nutrients in their diets and that nutritional health supplements were a waste of money. Having played competitive sports for many years, my belief was that women’s or men’s health supplements are only for athletes or body builders. I was wrong! The health benefits of supplements are for everybody and anybody who lead busy, stressful lives. Physically active or inactive, healthy or unhealthy we can all benefit from an herbal nutritional supplement or natural vitamin supplements. I learned this the hard way through personal experience.I had not realized that proper nutrition can be difficult to achieve for many people. Healthy living is difficult when most people do not get enough nutrients in their diet. For example, many cannot get the recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables each day. Forgetting nutritional supplementation is no longer an option if we want total nutrition. Unfortunately, the problem is bigger than I thought when you consider all the factors that come into play;Many fresh foods are no longer meeting their optimal nutritional potential. In many cases they are grown in soil that has been farmed excessively and are picked before their prime so they do not over ripen during transportation to market.
Vitamins and minerals may be lost during storage, preparation and cooking.

The purchasing and eating of less nutritious processed foods is common for many who do not have to shop and prepare meals from ‘scratch’.

During the busy week when we do cook, our meals may not be varied enough to offer a variety of nutrients.

We may not change our diet when we need to with age. As we age we need different nutritional supplementation as we digest and absorb certain vitamins and minerals differently.

Some nutrients are simply hard to obtain. For example, the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) available in Salmon oil capsules.

In general, there is a lack of education on nutritional health supplements, healthy food options and cooking.

In my particular case my wife was more at risk. Although, we did eat healthy meals we were not aware of the health benefits of supplements. Unfortunately, we were also dealing with a lot of stress at the time. Stress plays a large role in what nutrients you are using and absorbing in addition to the fact that the ‘knot-in-her stomach’ was inhibiting her appetite. Many women are more in need of herbal nutritional supplements or natural vitamin supplements simply because they consume fewer calories than men.As a result this lead to higher levels of stress and fatigue. Weak, she was prone to illness and mood swings. Hair loss, poor skin complexion and digestive system problems followed. It was a vicious circle leading to more stress and fatigue. It took a this extreme situation for us to realize the need for supplements for general health. A necessary solution for many to meet their daily nutritional needs is simply nutritional supplements whether its women’s health supplements or multi-vitamins, herbal nutritional supplements or natural vitamin supplements. The benefits are obvious;
Improved energy

Reduced frequency of mood swings

Less prone to fatigue and depression

More resilient to stress and illness.

Better overall health as we feel better mentally and physically.
Based upon my wife’s fatigue and illness, we had waited too long and she was in need of a nutritionist. In addition to joining a gym (which helped her appetite) my wife was recommended to take a few key women’s health supplements;
Salmon oil capsules because of the benefits of the Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. General good health, improves brain function even reduces the symptoms of PMS. It has also been shown to help anger, depression and stress.

A digestive health supplement; as we age and enter different stages of life our nutritional needs also change. Digestive health supplements may be required as our ability to digest certain foods changes with age. Some vitamins and minerals may be consumed very quickly others may not be absorbed into the body as readily. Lactose and gluten (found in wheat products) may be more difficult for our body to process as we age.

Multi-vitamins or a targeted multi-nutritional kit to promote general health with women’s specific needs in mind.
All these nutritional supplements were easy to find and even available on-line which works well with her busy schedule.My wife’s situation was an excellent example of how women are susceptible to the effects of poor nutrition. She has demonstrated the benefits of total nutrition via nutritional supplements and a healthy diet. Today, she is healthy and living a physically active lifestyle. I am grateful that she is such a wonderful role model to our daughters and others who may also be in need of nutritional health supplements and a better, balanced life.For more information on nutritional supplements, general nutrition, physical activity and stress management please visit www.bamboohealthproducts.com