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?

EzGro Garden Product Review

If you’re new to gardening and are looking for an easy way to grow organic food, I have the perfect solution for you. In this article I will give you a real-life EzGro Garden review. This was the first hydroponic system my family ever used. We were complete novices when we purchased the EzGro garden. I have to admit, this system was what started our gardening journey. After several years of enjoying strawberry harvests we were hooked! If you’re ready to learn more about the EzGro garden, read on for some great information.What is the EzGro Garden?The EzGro Garden is a simple, low-maintenance hydroponic system. EzGro Gardens are very efficient systems that require minimal space and are very low maintenance. It might surprise you to know that hydroponic systems actually use less water than soil based gardens. It’s true though.EzGro offers two different types of systems: the outdoor hanging garden and the patio garden. If you’re ready to start growing healthy, organic food right on your patio you should consider an EzGro Garden. If we can do it, you can too!EzGro Patio GardenI don’t want to leave anything out in this EzGro garden review, so let me begin by telling you about the EzGro Patio Garden. The patio garden is a compact vertical garden designed to be used on your patio or deck. It stands 4 feet tall and can grow anywhere from 20-80 plants. When you purchase the garden patio kit you will get everything you need to start growing right away. All you need to buy are seeds! Once you fill the reservoir and set the timer, this system practically runs itself. It’s fully automated. All you need to do is check the reservoir tank every 10-14 days. You simply fill the reservoir with water and add nutrients, that’s it!The cool thing about the EzGro Patio Garden is that it can be used indoors as well. So you can avoid the harsh weather in the winter if you have a sunroom or sunny window with plenty of natural light. Once you purchase the EzGro garden you will be hooked for life, just like my family. This is a lifetime system. All you’ll need to purchase in years to come are additional nutrients and seeds for growing. How great is that?Included:* 5 Quad Pots, to grow 20 to 80 plants
* 5 gallon Reservoir Base & cover
* Irrigation Pump, tubing & timer
* Diffusion Cup
* Measuring Stick
* EzGro Nutrients, 3 part mix makes approx. 50gal
* EzGro Organic growing Medium
* Directions for useEzGro Hanging GardenThere EzGro Hanging Garden is a smaller option that can be hung from a tree, balcony, patio or anywhere you would hang a planter. The system holds 12 to 48 full sized plants, and comes complete with everything you need. If you want to grow strawberries, you may want to consider purchasing the hanging strawberry garden. It includes 25 strawberry plants. So you literally need nothing to start growing right away.Included:* 3 Quad Pots, to grow from 12 to 48 plants
* Diffusion Cup
* Chain Assembly
* EzGro Nutrients, 3 part mix makes approx. 50gal
* EzGro Organic growing Medium
* DirectionsI promise you will be impressed with the quality of these products. They make growing hydroponic veggies, fruit and herbs simple. It’s so EZ (easy) you will be impressed, and the guests who visit your home will love to see your lovely garden. These systems are not only a great investment, but they are a great focal point. A growing garden is a beautiful thing. Why not get your EzGro garden today? Impress your friends and family, impress yourself. Go ahead, what are you waiting for?

Fashion Trend Alert – Keeping Up With the Latest Styles

Styles change faster than the weather, making it really challenging for the average fashion diva to know which fashion trend to follow. Are the skirts long or short this season? Are we wearing the jeans with a bootcut, or are we going for the pencil style? And what about the tops to pair with the bottoms? It’s enough to drive the fashion conscious mad, but fortunately, there is a solution to this fashion trend dilemma. Whether you like to get your fashion news online or in print, there are plenty of resources to alert you to the latest and greatest so you can look “in” whenever you head out.Magazines Print magazines may seem a little passé in an electronic world, but these publications are still one of the best ways to find out which fashion trend is in and which are most definitely out. Pick up one or two at your supermarket check out the next time you are grocery shopping or browse the newsstand for some glossy selections. Many of the magazines that were popular a decade ago are still in “Vogue”, so you are sure to see some familiar titles out there.The Internet If you spend most of your day staring at a computer screen, there is no reason why you can’t do it wearing the latest fashion trend. There are plenty of fabulous websites that will keep you up to date on what the fashion latest trends look like. Once you find the styles you love, you can even grab your credit card and point and click your way to a fashion spree online! To ensure that you really are looking at a latest fashion trend online, check the website for a current date for the posting.The Television Maybe you don’t want to look like a desperate housewife, but you can certainly learn “What not to Wear” from your own television set. There are plenty of great fashion reviews on the tube that will give you the latest news on the newest fashion trend, including ideas for accessorizing and where to go in all the latest fashions. Hair and makeup trends will also be reflected on this international medium.Keeping up with the latest and greatest fashion trend might seem like more time than you have, but there are plenty of places that you can go to quickly and easily get all of the fashion news you need. Whether you prefer to curl up in front of the television or computer or with a favorite magazine, learning about fashion trends is as easy as an evening at home.