Benefits Of Financing Alternatives Vs. Traditional Bank Loans
What Is Working Capital? How To Find Alternatives To Bank Financing
Canadian business owners and financial managers seeking working capital finance by banks or other sources are generally experiencing growth in sales and profits. That’s the good news, which is of course offset by the fact that this type of success requires additional working capital and newer ways to finance your business. Putting working capital to work enhances your firms value when return on capital is higher than your cost of financing!
Liquidity has become the name of the game and ‘ cash is king’ even today never seems like a worn cliché. Past studies by the Conference Board of Canada indicated that the key worries of business owners were working capital cash flow. (Also referenced were ‘ regulatory issues and competition’). The bottom line is: business owners and their financial managers want options
So you have sales and assets… but can those assets generate working capital finance by banks or other alternatives?
The ability to secure funding at critical times is always challenging for entrepreneurs, even in established companies. That one of the biggest reasons that alternative funding has risen to so much prominence. A wide variety of finance solutions is now available to the Canadian business owner – solutions that involve cash flow financing via the monetizing of current assets such as inventory and receivables, monetizing future sales ( merchant advance/short term working capital loans), equipment financing and sale-leasebacks, and traditional cash flow term loans, also known as ‘ mezzanine financing ‘.
Somewhat remarkably many businesses have even turned to online borrowing solutions in Canada. Canadian chartered banks have also participated in the online borrowing industry, although reviews of customer experiences in business journals such as the GLOBE & MAIL and NATIONAL POST have met with some lacklustre customer experience. Although approvals are relatively fast interest rates and borrowing costs and terms of repayment have left many customers wanting better solutions.
In online borrowing models, including peer-to-peer loans significant emphasis is based on owner personal credit history. Alternative funding options are continually changing in the digital space and borrowers are well advised to speak to a business financing consultant in this area. It is safe to say that business owners can’t be expected to call and interview all the different online lenders as it relates to loan info, cost of financing, and loan criteria.
The main appeal of short term working capital loans is the emphasis on fast approval, no requirement for additional collateral, and less emphasis on personal credit scores and net worth.
The bottom line is that businesses who choose to grow and that require external funding want to deal with reputable lenders/financing partners. Unfortunately many Canadian firms can’t meet the criteria under traditional bank lending policies , even though financing needs are critical to their business.
For working capital purposes it’s all about ‘ current assets ‘ which include typically receivables and inventory. As you invest in those two assets to generate sales your working capital needs go up, and your ability to manage and turn over those assets plays a key role in the sourcing of working capital by banks, and non-bank institutions.
You should not be afraid to enter into traditional or alternative working capital solutions if you have properly managed current assets – you are simply monetizing for liquidity, and that’s rarely a bad thing. Business owners know cash goes down when you are expanding sales as you invest in assets and resources.
So are Canadian chartered banks the solutions to your working capital needs. Probably, possibly, maybe is our answer, meaning that if your firm is capable of meeting bank criteria for a revolving line of credit your needs typically can be met. Of more and more concern to our clients is their ability to not be able to generate sufficient financing for the sister of receivables, aka inventory!
That then takes us into an alternative for bank financing, which is the fast growing area of asset based financing, in particular asset based lines of credit. These facilities cost more, but give you total margining of the market value of your receivables, inventory, and , guess what, we’ll throw in equipment and real estate if you want to temporarily margin them for working capital. And remember, your balance sheet is not taking on debt when you enter into either a bank or alternative asset based line of credit, you’re simply monetizing your financials for cash flow.
The reality is that alternative methods of financing are growing more popular – yes they are more expensive, but if your firm generates sufficient margins and return on equity your ability to tap into virtually unlimited working capital can prove to be a very positive experience.
The reality of working capital finance by banks or alternative methods is always the same – you need to determine your asset turnover, there will always be times when you need a bulge in inventory and A/R to fund your growth.
Solutions for alternative working capital cash flow include:
Non bank asset based lines of credit – These facilities help to smooth out what the pro’s call the ‘operating cycle ‘ of your business , assisting those times where cash inflows don’t match outflows based on a/r and inventory turns. As you invest in current asset categories of receivables and inventory you experience a decline in cash reserves. Businesses with seasonality or ‘ bulges’ of sales activity require solid business credit lines. ‘ABL’ ( Asset Based Lending ) lending is true collateralized lending.
The operating cycle may cause businesses to experience shortfalls for a specific period. There are numerous reasons why this can happen, but one underlying reason is that a business may extend credit to its customers to attract more business. The more credit a business extends, the less cash is available during that time. That’s why a line of credit can help these businesses with their cash flow management.
A/R Financing/ factoring (We recommend Confidential Receivable Financing) –
Accounts receivable finance is one of the most highly utilized and successful forms of non bank working capital financing. This type of financing allows you to, in effect , sell your invoices to generate cash flow. Many business people don’t understand this type of funding is not a loan, in effect its a transfer and cash flowing of your asset – A/R!
So pricing is not an interest rate per se, but a discount to the total value of your invoice, typically in the 1-1.5% range. We recommend confidential a/r financing, allowing you to bill and collect your own accounts with no intrusion of any finance firm into your customer relationship.
Sr & ed Tax Credit Bridge Loans
Sale leaseback solutions
Inventory & Purchase Order Financing
Loans for professional practices ( Doctors/Dentists/Lawyer/Accountants, etc ) – These loans may involve financing needs around equipment, marketing, or in some cases acquiring another practice. Expansion for business real estate is also a common need in this area.
Short Term Working Capital Loans ( aka ‘ Merchant Advances ) – As we have discussed to a certain degree these online/peer-to-peer solutions became ultra-popular after the 2008 recession and became a strong competitor to invoice discounting finance. Loans are typically based on a percentage of annual sales, typically between 10-20%. Although readily accessible we consult to clients around the pros and cons of this financing, one issue being higher interest rates.
It is important to understand the financial concept of matching when it comes to working capital finance solutions. These sources of capital should be used for day to day operating needs. Serious mistakes occur when these types of solutions are used for long term need such as investments in equipment, r&d, marketing, etc.
At 7 Park Avenue Financial we find that many new clients are confused around some of the terminology around the ‘ working capital loan ‘. Also noted is that certain loans in this category are secured, others are not.
Is Alternative Financing Right For Your Firm?
Business financing is a challenge, so owners must invest their own time, or work with a trusted advisor to evaluate options. Companies with good sales revenues, profits and clean balance sheets will have more options, but we have demonstrated that commercial lenders providing alternative finance options are plentiful and offer numerous cash flow solutions to your short term needs. If your firm has sales, and or assets you have non bank funding options.
Liquidity, that’s what it’s all about. Speak to a trusted, experienced and credible Canadian business financing advisor in order to ensure your traditional and alternative business financing options are first, clear, and second, available!
7 Park Avenue Financial :
South Sheridan Executive Centre
2910 South Sheridan Way
Direct Line = 416 319 5769
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7 Park Avenue Financial provides value-added financing consultation for small and medium-sized businesses in the areas of cash flow, working capital, and debt financing.
Business financing for Canadian firms, specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing, Equipment Leasing, franchise finance and Cdn. Tax Credit Finance. Founded 2004 – Completed in excess of 100 Million $ of financing for Canadian corporations.
‘ Canadian Business Financing With The Intelligent Use Of Experience ‘
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations. He is an experienced
business financing consultant
Prior to founding 7 Park Avenue Financial in 2004 his employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.
Stan has over 40 years of business and financing experience. He has been recognized as a credit/financial executive for three of the largest technology companies in the world; Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment and Cable & Wireless. Stan has had in-depth, hands-on experience in assessing and evaluating thousands of companies that are seeking financing and expansion. He has been instrumental in helping many companies progress through every phase of financing, mergers & acquisitions, sales and marketing and human resources. Stan has worked with startups and public corporations and has many times established the financial wherewithal of organizations before approving millions of dollars of financing facilities and instruments on behalf of his employers.
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Working Capital Finance Solutions & Bank Alternatives !
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Canadian Business Financing