Small Business Financing Options – Despite the Credit Crunch

There’s no question that the financial crisis and ensuing credit crunch have made it more difficult than ever to secure small business financing and raise capital. This is especially true for fast-growth companies, which tend to consume more resources in order to feed their growth. If they aren’t careful, they can literally grow themselves right out of business.

Amidst all the gloom and doom, however, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: There are still options available for small business financing. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look and how to prepare.

Where to Look

There are three main sources you can turn to for small business financing:

Commercial Banks – These are the first source most owners think of when they think about small business financing. Banks loan money that must be repaid with interest and usually secured by collateral pledged by the business in case it can’t repay the loan.

On the positive side, debt is relatively inexpensive, especially in today’s low-interest-rate environment. Community banks are often a good place to start your search for small business financing today, since they are generally in better financial condition than big banks. If you do visit a big bank, be sure to talk to someone in the area of the bank that focuses on small business financing and lending.

Keep in mind that it takes more diligence and transparency on the part of small businesses in order to maintain a lending relationship in today’s credit environment. Most banks have expanded their reporting and recordkeeping requirements considerably and are looking more closely at collateral to make sure businesses are capable of repaying the amount of money requested.

Venture Capital Companies – Unlike banks, which loan money and are paid interest, venture capital companies are investors who receive shares of ownership in the companies they invest in. This type of small business financing is known as equity financing. Private equity firms and angel investors are specialized types of venture capital companies.

While equity financing does not have to be repaid like a bank loan, it can end up costing much more in the long run. Why? Because each share of ownership you give to a venture capital company in exchange for small business financing is an ownership share with an unknown future value that’s no longer yours. Also, venture capital companies sometimes place restrictive terms and conditions on financing, and they expect a very high rate of return on their investments.

Commercial Finance Companies – These non-traditional money lenders provide a specialized type of small business financing known as asset-based lending (or ABL). There are two primary types of ABL: factoring and accounts receivable (A/R) financing.

With factoring, companies sell their outstanding receivables to the finance company at a discount of usually between 2-5%. So if you sold a $10,000 receivable to a factor, for example, you might receive between $9,500-$9,800. The benefit is that you would receive this cash right away, instead of waiting 30, 60 or 90 days (or longer). Factoring companies also perform credit checks on customers and analyze credit reports to uncover bad risks and set appropriate credit limits.

With A/R financing, you would borrow money from the finance company and use your accounts receivable as collateral. Companies that want to borrow in this way should be able to demonstrate strong financial reporting capabilities and a diverse customer base without a high concentration of sales to any one customer.

How to Prepare

Regardless of which type of small business financing you decide to pursue, your preparation before you approach a potential lender or investor will be critical to your success. Banks, in particular, are taking a much more critical look at small business loan applications than many did in the past. They are requesting more background from potential borrowers in the way of tax returns (both business and personal), financial statements and business plans.

Lenders are focusing on what are sometimes referred to as the five Cs of credit:

o Character: Does the company have a strong reputation in its community and industry?

o Capital: Lenders usually like to see that owners have invested some of their personal money in the business, or that they have some of their own “skin in the game.”

o Capacity: Financial ratios help lenders determine how much debt a company should be able to take on without stressing the finances.

o Collateral: This is a secondary source of repayment in case a borrower defaults on the loan. Most lenders prefer collateral that is relatively easy to convert to cash, especially equipment and real estate.

o Conditions: Conditions in the borrower’s industry and the overall economy in general will play a big factor in a lender’s decisions.

Before you meet with any type of lender or investor, be prepared to explain to them specifically why you believe you need financing or capital, as well as how much capital you need and when and how you will pay it back (if a loan) or what kind of return on investment a venture capital company can expect. Also be prepared to discuss specifically what the money will be used for and what kind of collateral you are prepared to pledge to support the loan, as well as your sources of repayment and what measures you will take to ensure repayment if your finances get tight.

You should also ensure that your financial statements and records are current and that your internal control systems are adequate for handling the level of accounting and bookkeeping lenders and investors expect.

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Functions of Business Finance

Strength and soundness of business depends on the availability of finance and competency with which it is used. The abundance of finance can do wonders and its scarcity can ruin even a well established business. Finance increases the strength and viability of business. It increases the resistance capacity of a business to face losses and economic depression. It is just like a lubricant, the more it is applied to the business, the quickly the business will move. Following headings explain the importance of finance to business:

(1) Initiating Business: Finance is the first and fore most requirement of every business. It is the starting point of every business, industrial project etc. Whether you start a sole proprietary concern, a partnership firm, a company or a charity institution, you need ample amount of finance. It is equally important for profit seeking and non-profit activities. It is equally important for a multinational organization and for a free dispensary.

(2) Purchase of Assets: Finance is needed to purchase all sorts of assets. Even if credit is available some down payment is to be made. Mostly finance is needed at the start of business for the purchase of fixed assets. These fixed assets consume a large amount of initial investment of the entrepreneur, so he may face liquidity difficulty in running day to day affairs of the business.

(3) Initial Losses: No business attains high profit on the first day of commencement. Some losses are normal before the business reaches its full capacity and generate enough revenue to match cost. Finance is necessary so that these initial losses can be sustained and business can be allowed to progress gradually.

(4) Professional Services: Certain business need services of specialized personnel. Such personnel have rich experience in specialized fields and they can provide useful guidance to make business profitable. Nevertheless these services are costly. Finance is always needed so that services of such professional consultants can be hired.

(5) Development: Business is always exposed to change. New innovations and emergence of new technologies replaces old techniques out of market. So in order to remain in the market, it is needed to keep the business well equipped with all emerging tools and techniques. This required finance. New technology is always expensive as it is better than others. So finance is needed to purchase new equipment and keep the business running.

(6) Information Technology: Information technology has now changed the geography of the business battle field. The home markets have now extended virtually to other comers of the world. The whole world can be your customer or competitor. To face such a fierce competition, IT is needed. Skills and competency in IT can perform miracles. But finance is again the decisive factor. It is very much needed to incorporate expensive IT products in the business.

(7) Media War: The advertisement and promotion have now become a vital elements for the success of business. The way a businessman approaches a customer and convinces him to purchase his product has become more important than the quality of product. With advertisement on International media, a businessman can reach the minds of millions of people around the globe. However, advertisement is a luxury which every business can’t afford. Huge finance is required to meet advertisement expenses.

(8) Resource Management: Finance is very essential for efficient resource management. Resources here include capital and human resources. Maintenance of plant and equipment and training of employees all need finance. Establishment of new industrial units, expansion of plant capacity, hiring of well learned skilful laborers – all
these factors can lead to huge revenue but at the first place they need finance to start with.

(9) Stock Investments: These investments are those which are made to hold ample stock of raw materials in hand. Bulk purchase of raw materials is profitable in a sense that purchase discount can be attained and there is no danger of production halts. So companies most often hold huge amount of stocks and raw materials. But such an investment can be made only if a company has sufficient capital or finance to carry out its daily operation easily besides holding huge stock.

(10) Combating Risks: Everything is exposed to one or more risks. A business is also exposed to variety of risks. These risks include natural hazards, burden of any huge liability, loss of market or brand name etc. Finance is needed to make business powerful, so that it can sustain occasional losses and liabilities.

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7 Critical Business Financing Mistakes

Avoiding the top 7 business financing mistakes is a key component in business survival.

If you start committing these business financing mistakes too often, you will greatly reduce any chance you have for longer term business success.

The key is to understand the causes and significance of each so that you’re in a position to make better decisions.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (1) – No Monthly Bookkeeping.

Regardless of the size of your business, inaccurate record keeping creates all sorts of issues relating to cash flow, planning, and business decision making.

While everything has a cost, bookkeeping services are dirt cheap compared to most other costs a business will incur.

And once a bookkeeping process gets established, the cost usually goes down or becomes more cost effective as there is no wasted effort in recording all the business activity.

By itself, this one mistake tends to lead to all the others in one way or another and should be avoided at all costs.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (2) – No Projected Cash Flow.

No meaningful bookkeeping creates a lack of knowing where you’ve been. No projected cash flow creates a lack of knowing where you’re going.

Without keeping score, businesses tend to stray further and further away from their targets and wait for a crisis that forces a change in monthly spending habits.

Even if you have a projected cash flow, it needs to be realistic.

A certain level of conservatism needs to be present, or it will become meaningless in very short order.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (3) – Inadequate Working Capital

No amount of record keeping will help you if you don’t have enough working capital to properly operate the business.

That’s why its important to accurately create a cash flow forecast before you even start up, acquire, or expand a business.

Too often the working capital component is completely ignored with the primary focus going towards capital asset investments.

When this happens, the cash flow crunch is usually felt quickly as there is insufficient funds to properly manage through the normal sales cycle.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (4) – Poor Payment Management.

Unless you have meaningful working capital, forecasting, and bookkeeping in place, you’re likely going to have cash management problems.

The result is the need to stretch out and defer payments that have come due.

This can be the very edge of the slippery slope.

I mean, if you don’t find out what’s causing the cash flow problem in the first place, stretching out payments may only help you dig a deeper hole.

The primary targets are government remittances, trade payables, and credit card payments.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (5) – Poor Credit Management

There can be severe credit consequences to deferring payments for both short periods of time and indefinite periods of time.

First, late payments of credit cards are probably the most common ways in which both businesses and individuals destroy their credit.

Second, NSF checks are also recorded through business credit reports and are another form of black mark.

Third, if you put off a payment too long, a creditor could file a judgement against you further damaging your credit.

Fourth, when you apply for future credit, being behind with government payments can result in an automatic turndown by many lenders.

It gets worse.

Each time you apply for credit, credit inquiries are listed on your credit report.

This can cause two additional problems.

First, multiple inquiries can reduce you overall credit rating or score.

Second, lenders tend to be less willing to grant credit to a business that has a multitude of inquiries on its credit report.

If you do get into situations where you’re short cash for a finite period of time, make sure you proactively discuss the situation with your creditors and negotiate repayment arrangements that you can both live with and that won’t jeopardize your credit.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (6) – No Recorded Profitability

For startups, the most important thing you can do from a financing point of view is get profitable as fast as possible.

Most lenders must see at least one year of profitable financial statements before they will consider lending funds based on the strength of the business.

Before short term profitability is demonstrated, business financing is based primary on personal credit and net worth.

For existing businesses, historical results need to show profitability to acquire additional capital.

The measurement of this ability to repay is based on the net income recorded for the business by a third party accredited accountant.

In many cases, businesses work with their accountants to reduce business tax as much as possible but also destroy or restrict their ability to borrow in the process when the business net income is insufficient to service any additional debt.

>>> Business Financing Mistakes (7) – No Financing Strategy

A proper financing strategy creates 1) the financing required to support the present and future cash flows of the business, 2) the debt repayment schedule that the cash flow can service, and 3) the contingency funding necessary to address unplanned or unique business needs.

This sounds good in principle, but does not tend to be well practiced.

Why?

Because financing is largely an unplanned and after the fact event.

It seems once everything else is figured out, then a business will try to locate financing.

There are many reasons for this including: entrepreneurs are more marketing oriented, people believe financing is easy to secure when they need it, the short term impact of putting off financial issues are not as immediate as other things, and so on.

Regardless of the reason, the lack of a workable financing strategy is indeed a mistake.

However, a meaningful financing strategy is not likely to exist if one or more of the other 6 mistakes are present.

This reinforces the point that all mistakes listed are intertwined and when more than one is made, the effect of the negative result can become compounded.

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Business Insurance For Small Companies

Insurance policy is one of the most important parts of a business. Business description details included varies from one insurer to the other. There are plenty of reasons why business insurance services can be beneficial for the company. An online business insurance provider offers a comparison data. Below are stated the reasons why you must consider services from business insurance companies that will compare with other insurance providers in the area and offer real value with the company you choose.

Comparison Data Offered by Business Insurance Service:

When it comes to comparing the different types of insurance, you will need to find a company that does comparison data. They work as an independent insurance broker and help you connect with some of the better deals in market. If you are aiming at the best insurance policy, you need to have a comparative analysis that service providers offer.

Independent Brokers are not Associated with Any Company:
Part of the benefit while you go to an independent broker lies in the fact that they are not attached to any particular company. Individual brokers offer services based on your needs. They won’t force you with any particular company because they are associated with them. A broker can compare the different available companies and point to the right direction on the basis of what is right for your organization.

Business Insurance is a Must for all Companies:

Protecting your assets as well as businesses is vitally essential these days. Getting business insurance is one of the first things that should be in your mind while you are opening a company. Businesses today have realized importance of getting insurance. The insurances can protect people and employees that are working with you.

Online Business Insurance Companies Offer you Help Online:

Business insurance provider with an online website helps you get online quotes. You can sign up free and begin with free consultations online. This is one of the best ways to get started and look for the different insurance options available for you. You need not pay any money to use the insurance broker, they assist you to sign up for insurance as they are paid commission form the insurance companies.

Business insurance is not only about covering the ideas and creativity. It is about covering financial assets and employees, as discussed above that can get toppled by calamities. For example, you would want to have commercial insurance, if you have cars and are using them for making deliveries. You may end up losing a lot of property, if the automobile meets with an accident or incurs any sorts of damages. You can go bankrupt as the creditors and bills start piling up.

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How To Save Money On Car Insurance For Young Drivers? Read To Know

The cost of car insurance policy is determined by many factors typically examined by insurance companies online such as driver’s age, the location where he mostly drives a car on, the make and model of car, driver’s driving experience, etc. Insurance companies take into considerations these factors to figure out if driver will be a high risk. Usually, young drivers are considered risky as they are less likely to have good driving experience and skills. This is why it is challenging to qualify for cheap car insurance for young drivers. But, the interesting thing is that today many online insurance companies specialize in offering various discounts which you can earn to reduce your insurance cost or simply get cheap car insurance for young drivers. Before applying for insurance policy, it is advisable to get some knowledge about the same.

If you install security or safety devices in your car, you are less likely to get injured or your vehicle is less likely to get easily stolen or damaged. Many online insurance companies offer discounts for the same. Moreover, if you want to save money, you should think of joining a recognized driving course. This will improve your driving experience as well as skills and also could get you one more discount. One more way to get best affordable auto insurance is to drive less. If you drive less, the possibilities of accidents or similar circumstances leading to insurance claims will get reduced. Some insurance providers also offer discounts to students who score good grades. Besides, your driving location also affects insurance cost. Even make and model of car will affect what you will pay for insurance policy. Some vehicles are expensive to be insured while other cars are not too expensive.

Thus there are many aspects which you should work on to save money. But, most importantly, you need to locate insurance company which offers the most affordable auto insurance rate and also multiple discounts. One of the easiest ways to locate best insurance company in your local area which is willing to provide affordable car insurance with many discounts is to take free professional assistance of a reputable online car insurance service. These services which are closely connected with a huge online network of insurance providers that offer cheapest car insurance quotes will help you to get easy and quick access to best insurer.

The risk factor associated with you will affect your insurance cost significantly. So, it could be advisable to see if you can reduce the risk taken by insurance company by following some expert guidelines and improve your eligibility for affordable auto insurance rate. Get assisted by experienced car finance specialist to know what these guidelines are and how to get cheap car insurance for young drivers.

Log on to FreeCarInsuranceQuote.ca to get more information on young driver affordable car insurance in Canada. It offers various discount on premiums to lower down your monthly payments and helps you to save money. The interest rates are also so minimal compare to market rates. Visit us soon.

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Factors That Affect Life Insurance Coverage

Factors That Affect Life Insurance Coverage
Life insurance policy is the best way to overcome from unexpected risk factor in the future and it will protect you financially. Even a slightly lower premium can lead to major savings for the future.
The premium rate on life insurance policy mainly depends on a variety of factors. But for many people insurance concept is difficult to understand and it leads to many misconceptions. To avoid such misconceptions and confusions there are few factors that needs to be considered while opting for the life insurance policy and to determine the premium rates.
Here are the most common factors that affect life insurance coverage in determining the premium rates and risk coverage.
Age of the Policy Holder
It is the number one factor that needs to be considered in the life insurance coverage. If you are younger, then chances are more to pay premium rates for years and rates will be lesser. That’s why it is always recommended to buy insurance policy at young age. It doesn’t mean that you have to buy insurance policy in your college life, it is better to buy when you’re financially stable.
Gender of the Client
Gender is another significant factor need to be considered when evaluating the average life expectancy. In fact on average women are likely to live longer than men so women pay slightly less premium rates for longer years.
Medical Test
This factor is important in the underwriting process. Medical test mainly include height, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and other key metrics. So purchase life insurance policy before searching for coverage to ensure competitive rates. Few insurance companies do offer policy without any medical test, but they cost higher premium rates.
Genetic History of the Family
The insurance advisor generally asks about the genetic history of the family and details about the family members those susceptible to genetic disease like diabetes, heart problems, etc. If this is the case then you have to pay the higher premium rates as you carry the genetic diseases.
Profession Plays an Important Role
If your profession is risky or challenging then chances are more to pay the higher premium rates. If your job is considered has a risky profession then you may be denied to get all benefits from your insurance policy. For instance: many insurance companies charge more if your occupation is relatively dangerous such as mining, drivers, steel engineers and many more.
Driving Record
This factor seems to be surprising, but many insurance companies keep track of policy holder driving record during the underwriting process. They will access for the department of motor vehicles records to find out any issues that you’ve run afoul of the traffic rules. So if you maintain clear records in the motor vehicle department then you will be benefitted by more favorable price.
The above mentioned factors will significantly affect on life insurance coverage and insurer should minimize the premium rates by minimizing the risk factors. However, it is always advisable to compare different company policies before buying the life insurance policy.

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