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?

Highly Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

Would you like to learn some highly effective digital marketing strategies? But first of all, what is “digital marketing”? Some people believe it’s a different form of internet marketing, but in truth, it’s actually the same thing. These days people come up with all different kinds of terms to re-describe the same thing. Digital marketing is the same thing – people are just trying to profit off of a different wording of the same topic.I’m sure you’ve probably also heard the terms: “inbound marketing”, “influencer marketing”, “outbound marketing”, and etc. But all of those are the same concepts of internet marketing strategies that have been already tested and proven to work. These people are just now figuring this stuff out. So digital marketing is just internet marketing. And also, some people get it confused with eBook marketing.If you’ve ever heard of someone say “digital download”, that means that a product will be available for you to download immediately after you order. This is called a “digital product”. This is not digital marketing in its full form. Digital marketing is just a familiar term that people interchangeably use to describe tactics for promoting your products on the internet. With that out of the way, would you finally like to learn some highly effective digital marketing strategies?I want to go over a few concepts that will allow you to soar past your competitors and get you the increased traffic, sales, and profits that you are looking for. These tactics are easy to use and implement, and are simple ways that you can improve everything that you’re doing within a short period of time. Let’s take a look at the first strategy that you can use to improve your digital marketing efforts:1) Guest blog postsIt doesn’t matter what industry or niche that you operate in. With guest blog posts, you can stand out and position yourself as the “go to person” in your niche for whatever you do. You will stand out as the authority and the expert that people will instantly think of whenever your line of work comes to mind. This is essential to know, because credibility is everything online, and standing out as the obvious expert is a crucial step in gaining more new sales.So I guess you’re wondering what guest blog posts are huh? It’s okay if you don’t know. A guest blog post is simply a lengthy and informative blog post about something that you’re knowledgeable about. The blog that you submit your guest blog post to should be in your niche, and shouldn’t be a rival competitor of yours. Do you know why this is such a highly effective strategy?Usually high traffic and famous blogs in your niche will have a high readership. This means TONS of free promotion for you and your website – should your information be good – and should the blog owner request that you send more blog posts. If you can get a partnership where the blog owers wants to exclusively collaborate with you because you offer great content, this could be an endless supply of free traffic for you.Plus, you have to think about the syndication that this will get you also on social media. The more blogs you post on, and the awesome job that you do, the more your reputation will increase, and the more you will become an expert on your subject. Soon people will be coming to you, looking for more of your great information that they can use in their lives. Here’s another highly effective digital marketing strategy that you can do:2) Viral eBook marketingViral eBook marketing can do wonders for your website traffic and your business. Imagine writing a free eBook about a topic in your niche, and having it available for download on your website. You can put your website link(s) all over it, and tell the readers that they can offer it for free on their website (as a form of free content), and that they should pass it around to their friends and colleagues.This can be an amazing free traffic tool for you. The more people who download it will have the ability to use it for themselves, offer it for free, and recommend it to others. Soon with enough people downloading your free eBook, it can take off on its own and be a major traffic tool for you without you doing a thing. As long as the content is good and it benefits people, offer it on your website and let it do its thing.You will want to include your homepage link inside of it, your affiliate program link, a link to your blog or articles page, and a link to a page that has your products or services on it. That way while people are reading through your book, they will have the chance to click through to your site multiple times and potentially sign up for one of your offers. This can be a big deal.Not only that, you can submit it to the free eBook directories. eBook directories store your eBook for people to read, download, and use for promotional content on their site. Plus on some eBook directories, they require a direct link – thus giving you a high quality and relevant backlink to your site. This is digital marketing 101, and once you put it into use, you’ll see how well it can work for your business.These are 2 highly effective digital marketing strategies that you can use to improve your traffic, sales and profits right away. There are many more techniques that you can use to boost your sales for your website, but these 2 alone can put you over and above your competitors. The biggest thing to understand is that it takes repetitive efforts, and daily work to make any digital marketing strategy work. You don’t get results and make money if you’re lazy. So keep that in mind. Good luck!

Choosing The Right Commercial Flooring For Your Setting

All commercial environments are unique, with bespoke requirements. It’s important to make the right decision regarding flooring for your setting, to ensure that it’s both practical and aesthetically fitting. It’s always a good idea to meet with commercial flooring experts and providers to get advice on which type of flooring is most suitable for your setting, so you can make an informed decision.Obviously commercial flooring needs to be hard-wearing and durable. Commercial areas will inevitably receive high foot traffic and potentially wheeled traffic too. Beyond this, requirements may vary depending on the type of environment. For example wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms will require specific safety and maintenance qualities, as will retail areas which will need to be anti-slip but also in keeping with interior design. Below are some examples of some different types of commercial flooring.Commercial carpets and carpet tilesThese are ideal for office spaces and educational settings. Commercial carpet and carpet tiles are designed to be extremely hard-wearing. They are available in a multitude of colours, designs and price ranges and provide warmth and cushioning underfoot.Commercial kitchen flooringCommercial kitchen floors need to be tough, have excellent slip resistance, be easy to clean and able to withstand frequent heavy-duty cleaning. Vinyl or rubber safety flooring is ideal for such areas.Commercial vinyl flooringThis kind of flooring is ideal for areas of high footfall where ease of maintenance is important, for example public areas like hospitals and schools. With an array of designs available, this can also be excellent in retail environments too, with attractive looking wood, stone and tile flooring effects available.Commercial rubber flooringRubber flooring has many commercial applications. With anti-slip, shock absorbing and sound absorbing qualities, it’s ideal for gyms, swimming pools, schools, workshops, commercial kitchens and bathrooms. Again, there are all sorts of designs and specifications available.Commercial wood flooringA wide range of wood effect flooring is available for commercial environments, offering the safety, ease of maintenance and anti slip properties of vinyl and safety flooring, combined with the attractive look of wood flooring. This kind of commercial flooring is ideal for front of house areas like receptions and hallways, or in retail, café and leisure settings.So whatever your commercial setting, with so much to choose from there’s a perfect flooring option out there. Make sure you get the best advice on which one is right for you.