Financing Business – Why Clients Are Giving Vendors the Cash Squeeze

People go into business to make money. Up to now, capitalism, private ownership and the free market economy was applauded and encouraged in the United States. Now that a recession has hit the United States, capitalism is being blamed. It’s not an argument I want to get into. But I maintain that capital and lack thereof, is a real world problem and concern than capitalism.

Less business

So you’re a business doing business in the B2B space, which means you’re doing business with other businesses. For those who are winning and retaining contracts and business, congratulations. Businesses are not spending. Fewer requests for proposals on the street. Shorter contracts. Fewer contracts. Bottom line, a leaner bottom line for your business.

Fewer loans

Our economic recession in the United States was precipitated by dramatic declines and defaults in the financial industry. Banks are going out of business. Those still in business are tightening their criteria for business loans. Businesses still need a way to finance their operations. Small business owners especially are prone to having business and personal credit scores that are not so good. Some banks are requiring credit scores of 750 to consider a loan, even ones guaranteed by the federal government via the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). So if you’re a small business turning to a traditional banking / lending institution for money in the form of a line of credit or a loan, you’re probably finding the situation challenging.

Price squeeze

In today’s economy, the focus needs to be on preserving capital. It’s a victory if you can manage to sustain your revenue levels at a time when many are seeing a decline. There’s a video about the squeeze that often takes place between you, the small business and your customer, the big business. The big business may be tempted to push for price discounts, which reduces your profits and cash flow. Wal-Mart is positioned as the low price leader. They are notorious for their vendor strong arm tactics. Check out the CIO magazine video at [http://advice.cio.com/thomas_wailgum/the_vendor_client_relationship_captured_on_video_1]

Some of your customers may get a bright ideas about saving money by depressing prices. This could have disastrous side effects. An example I’m familiar with is the prior State of Georgia staffing arrangement. They had something like 150 approved vendors – That’s an administrative nightmare to start with. Then from the vendor perspective, when there was a need, each approved supplier could only submit 2 people. This means there tended to be 300 candidates for any one opening. So the staffing firms had to bid down on price. The suppliers were dis-incented to submit people because of all the competition. It was more lucrative to spend their time and attention elsewhere.

Low price usually means low quality in the placement world. So for the state, that’s what they got. In general squeezing suppliers for lower prices results in lower quality and few options and services. Although CIO Magazine deals with information technology issues, it should not be assumed that the price squeeze only applies to IT vendor client relations. Most businesses are hurting, so they are willing to pass on the pain to whoever they can.

Cash Flow Squeeze

Your business needs cash flow to survive and grow. So how to get the needed cash flow and working capital? You may turn to your customer to work out terms. But there’s another squeeze going on. The big companies are also experiencing declines in revenue. So they are motivated to preserve cash and cash flow. So what’s a cash preservation strategy? Delay vendor payments. The poor small business is doubly squeezed. Difficulty getting money from their bank and difficulty getting money from their big company customer.

Lawsuit Financing Business – A Scam Or A Good Home-Based Business?

Lawsuit financing may be the rage in some “cash flow” circles, and may seem confusing.

But it is really very simple: Plaintiffs in lawsuits need cash to pay their bills. They expect to win their lawsuit, but they need cash to tide them over in the meantime.

If you are in this business, you provide cash to these plaintiffs. If they win their lawsuit, their lawyers turn over to you whatever cash you advanced the plaintiffs, plus a profit. If they lose their lawsuit, then you get zip.

There are numerous cash flow businesses including factoring, mortgage brokerage and equipment leasing. Lawsuit financing is another cash flow business, and a lot of the usual suspects who do one business will do this one too.

But there are differences.

The lawsuit financing business requires you to learn how to evaluate winning lawsuits. If you are investing your own money, you better be sure that you know what you are doing. You have to judge the liability. You have to know what the damages are. You have to know what the other side is likely to do in court. And you have to know how much your case will eventually win.

Also, the skill-set to do factoring or leasing is different. Lawsuit financing requires you to build trust amongst personal injury lawyers. You have to speak their language. You have to convince them that you are knowledgeable and in the business for the long haul.

There are investors who will back you if you are in this business, but they want to have confidence in you. All in all, it is a business best learned from someone already doing it, who has done it for a lot of years, and who can teach you the ropes.

That said, I expect this little known business will be exploding in the next few years. There are 16 million or so civil actions filed in state courts alone each year. And of those, maybe two million will wend their way through court.

Behind every lawsuit is a plaintiff. And behind every plaintiff is often a stream of pressing bills and crushing living expenses. These people may have physical injuries to deal with. Meanwhile, the landlord wants the rent and kids need a ride to school.

Can A Franchise Finance Business Loan Be Creative? Here’s How Canadian Franchise Finance Works!

Is it actually possible to get ‘ creative ‘ when considering a franchise finance business loan for you new Canadian role as an entrepreneur in franchise financing? There are some tried and trusted rules we use in the franchise lending area, but a little creativity has never hurt anyone we believe!

If you haven’t considered how to finance your new business in the franchise industry then we feel it’s probably a little too late in some ways, as your ability to finance your business properly we think has a lot to do with the ultimate growth and success of your business. There are very focused lending sources for the franchise area of financing in Canada – the trick of course is to know what they are and more importantly how you can navigate the ‘ maze ‘ successfully.

The reality is that if you have some industry experience in your new business and a proper finance plan you have a much better chance of financing your business properly.

So, who can you turn to in terms of creativity and resources for franchise financing? Clients are amazed when we tell them the most creative partner in franchise financing in Canada is none other than the Canadian government!How could that possibly be? Simply because a program guaranteed by the government and administered by the banks could not be any more creative than this.

The program is the ‘BIL’ loan program, and it provides you with financing up to 350k for your new business. Are the terms onerous? Hardly! The essence of the program is a 5-7 year term loan, with great rates, limited personal guarantees, and some other elements of flexibility. If that isn’t creative then we don’t know what is!

Naturally all the creativity in a business loan of that type for your franchise finance scenario should not be reliant on just one lender – the other lender is someone you know very well. Yourself. That’s simply because when you look at the total financing of a franchise in Canada the two components are simply debt (the funds you have borrowed) and the equity, or money you have put in yourself. These equity funds, i.e. your commitment to the business, typical come from savings, the proverbial ‘ friends and family ‘ support, and investments or collateral that you have available.

Getting back to our key subject of creativity, our above noted BIL loan program only covers certain aspects of a franchise finance scenario. You can augment that loan with flexible equipment financing that has low down payments and extended amortization terms, as well as, in some cases, a working capital term loan.

We never forget to remind clients that the franchise financing plan is a two stage process, acquiring the business, and making sure they have some capital and funding to operate and grow their new business.

In summary, you can be creative when you are looking for info on how Canadian franchise finance works. You need knowledge on what funding sources are available that are specialized to the franchise industry, and assistance in executing a proper financial plan. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you in maximizing that creativity!

Financing Business Opportunities With Fewer Restrictions

Opportunities in business can be exciting but frustrating if you don’t have the cash required to take advantage of them. On one hand, this opportunity could be too hard to pass up because of the potential growth possibility, but, it can also mean accepting the often onerous terms of the lender to acquire the cash needed.

Owners can choose from small loans, factoring or a new twist on receivables financing. The least restrictive to the business owner is the receivable financing solution. It offers an online auction marketplace designed specifically as an outlet for small to mid-sized businesses to accelerate positive cash flow while maintaining complete control of the transaction.

This online receivables marketplace allows businesses to sell their commercial accounts receivable through auction. Financing opportunities in this manner is similar to factoring but the transaction is entirely different.

The auction platform gives greater control to the seller of the receivables. On the contrary, factoring allows the factor to set the terms, including advance amount and fee. In addition, the arrangement can often carry with it an all-asset lien, which requires that all of the invoices from a particular customer be included and that your customer be notified that your receivables have been sold.

Factoring can come at a high cost with many restrictions. With factoring, not only do you lose control of pricing, but by notifying your customers, you can potentially place the relationship with your customer at risk. Seller determine which invoices to sell, the minimum advance amount and the maximum discount fee they will pay.

Also, their customer is not notified, meaning the Seller retains the relationship. Once the accounts receivable are posted to auction and the auction goes live, buyers-a global network of accredited institutional investors-bid to purchase these invoices in real-time, ensuring a competitive cost of capital.

Loans can also be quite restrictive and time-consuming for small to mid-sized businesses-and that is if they can get approved. This loan process can often take weeks and months of gathering information, filling out applications, interviewing with the loan officer and then waiting for his answer just to find out if your company has been approved.

By the time the money is made available, the price of the specialty equipment or added resources you needed has gone up, the prospective employee has found another job or the larger office space has been snapped up by another business or worse, the competition.

Another limitation of financing business opportunities with a traditional loan is that the bank sets all of the terms- the rate, payment amount and penalty, and what collateral is required. Restrictive covenants are often part of the loan terms as well.

These clauses allow the bank to dictate the actions of the business in order to satisfy the loan requirements. It protects the lender by enforcing financial compliance of the business. If anything significant changes in the financial health from the time the loan is issued, the bank can call in the loan-worse force you in default which could lead to bankruptcy-because the covenant has been broken.

By using the online auction marketplace for trading receivables, the seller gains quick and flexible access to working capital without these restrictions and without taking on additional debt. Another attractive aspect of this alternative working capital solution is that the seller can potentially receive funds in as little as 24 hours.

CIT Group – Retail Financing Business Failure May Mean an Un-Merry Christmas

One of CIT Group’s specialties is providing financing for apparel and furniture manufacturers and other suppliers with a long wait from procurement of supplies to manufacturing to delivery to retailers until invoice payment by retailers. Cash flow and working capital keeps the supply chain flowing. There is much anxiety on the part of retailers about an interruption in the supply chain that would come about as a result of an interruption in cash flow along the value chain. To the suppliers and manufacturers, their very business survival is at risk. The concern for many is how they can continue to meet payroll.

The big year end retail season is fast approaching. The apparel and retail industry is generally one season ahead of the actual calendar season. But months earlier, they are already planning and strategizing on how to best navigate the Christmas holiday. That’s when the majority of retail sales revenue is generated. Now is the time. And the supply chain and value chain needs to be functioning. Business cash and cash flow is crucial.

What is Factoring?

Receivables are business assets, assets which businesses can use to get cash and working capital. With factoring or accounts receivable financing, the business owner sells customer invoices in exchange for cash advance in as little as 24 hours. This is a big improvement over the 60 to 90 days that retail industry suppliers must wait to get paid. Everyone in the supply chain has already had to have sufficient cash flow and working capital to carry them through until their invoices are generated. Then it could be another 60 to 90 days until there is an inflow of money to fuel continued operations.

With accounts receivable financing or factoring the business gets qualified for cash advances by its customers. Factoring companies purchase business receivables in exchange for providing immediate cash to the business owner. As part of the factoring transaction, the factor or funder or funding source has to the right to receive the A/R invoice payment directly from the customer. After the customer pays the funder, the funding source then deducts the discount fee and remits the balance of the A/R money to the business owner.

The Good News

The cash flow industry is in the business of providing cash advances against future assets and cash flows. Invoice or Receivable Factoring is the original and probably the largest cash flow product. While banks are tightening their money and lending criteria, there is still plenty of money in the cash flow industry. Alternate ways of financing business must be considered as the US Government money dries up and the national deficit and debt continues to rise. Not sure that the fiscally fit factoring companies could absorb $42 billion worth of factoring business. Hopefully that theory won’t be tested. CIT Group, Inc is being rescued by private financing.

Entrepreneurs Find Personal Loans Can Help Finance Business Startup Expenses

Being short-term loans that assist your immediate cash needs, personal loans can help finance business startup expenses. Typically personal loans are a single payout loan with a high rate of interest. The borrower usually returns the loan with interest in one go rather than paying monthly installment. In general, personal loans are not recommended due to their high interest rates. A borrower may find it difficult to repay the whole debt in a single shot, however, with business startup’s the case is indeed different! Let us see how different finance options can save the day for business startup’s.

Typical Business Start-up Expenses

Once you have decided to start a business you will most likely have a solid business plan that will detail your initial financial requirements. Typical business start-up expenses can be broadly divided into overheads and variable expenses. One thing that remains constant with almost every new business, is that you need some money to purchase inventory, lease a building, start an advertising program and work towards your first sale. Personal loans are extremely useful in financing those overhead expenses that usually occur at the beginning as a one-time cost. Variable expenses are those that continuously occur in the process of conducting a business and are generally tied to sales projections.

For instance, in case of a software business start-up, the administrative costs, licensing costs, initial infrastructure setup cost would constitute overhead costs. On the other hand client visits, traveling for demonstrations etc. would constitute variable costs that will keep occurring every time there’s a potential client and may not be predictable. Also, irrespective of sales, overhead costs will still remain to keep your setup active!

Before you borrow any money, it is vital to have a repayment plan as well as projected business plan, to understand how your cash flow will operate. Once you segregate your expenditure into fixed overhead costs and variable expenses, you need to sort out the expenses that will be one-time events. A business loan or credit line can help with these one-time costs provided your business is able to afford it once projected sales begin to be realized! You need to anticipate all possible scenarios and ensure enough cash flow over the period of few months before you take a personal loan.

Types of Personal Loans

The beauty of this financing, is that it often can be obtained with or without security collateral. A secured personal loan involves borrowing against an asset such as your property. If you default on your repayment, the lender can claim your asset! On the other hand, unsecured financing, does not need collateral, however, the lender generally protects his loan from possible default by charging you a high rate of interest. In the event of a default, the lender may resort to legal channels to recover the amount.

If you are confident of repayment, it is best to go for a secured personal loan wherein you can negotiate a low annual percentage rate (APR) while pledging your property or car or any other asset.

If your business startup requires funding that cannot be met by a single personal loan, you may even borrow more than one loan. The more you expose yourself to the debt scenario, the more financial risk you’re exposing yourself and your business to. It is important to conduct thorough research and prepare for contingencies. It is always best to dig into your own savings or borrow from close relatives if they’re willing and able however, for those that need instant cash and a huge amount at that, a personal loan could be a lifesaver. In fact, if you successfully repay your personal loan within the stipulated time, you could even get a good credit score which in turn will be better for the future of your business!

Financing Business Expansion for Your Small Company

How you finance the expansion of your business is important. Borrowing and understanding the consequences of borrowing for your financing is extremely important. If you are going to borrow the money to finance the expansion of your business, you need to make sure that you are not going to get yourself into a cash crunch situation. This is where you are going to have a lot of money coming in from new business completed and invoiced but not have enough current cash flow. When you borrow you will be financing new equipment, locations, signage, or perhaps a new work truck on a credit line, lease or loan payments. The initial payments are going to be due before you get your increased income from the expansion in. This can be a major critical problem and we do not want this to happen to you.

When you finance your business location or expansion, you need to make sure that if you will be borrowing and will have to pay that money back with interest charged on the various loan programs. This is going to cut into your cash flow. You could also charge the equipment on a credit card, which is about the same rate as an equipment business lease. Maybe even a little less believe it or not.

The easiest way to get financing for expanding your business is to go down to your bank and get a loan. But you are not going to be able to get a loan if you have been hiding all the cash from your business, not making any deposits. That is something to think about. So many small entrepreneurs start out on the wrong foot hiding or skimming cash, then when they need to expand they have no proof of income or sales and cannot get qualified for a loan.

Now you may be in a position with your business where you can just pay outright for an additional units, equipment, locations or outlets, if this is the case hats off to you’re my friend you are truly in a good position. This is a great position to be in but remember that if you put the money out in cash, you no longer have use of that money for other business needs. But it is a nice position to be in to be able to pay up front as your business grows. Remember though, some business investment assets are easily financed while for the purchase of others it is often easier to pay cash or just write a check.

Pkay then you are all set and have determined that the business needs to expand to take advantage of increased sales opportunity in your market place. So, Where to Get Financing? When financing your business expansion, there are many important factors that can make your task a total nightmare (the loan from hell) or extremely easy and a relative piece of cake. The smartest way to finance your business isn’t the easiest. The easy way is to pay for it your self out of savings or use a credit card. Unfortunately if you take money out of savings that was there in case of emergency or for a down payment for your house or something equally important, this may put you in jeopardy later if you need that money.

The SBA would be a nice way to go but it takes a long time for them to approve a loan. If you own a home they want you to put it in the loan as collateral in case you don’t pay your loan back. By the time they give you the money your investment opportunity is often lost. That big account you got that would nearly pay for all the new equipment has to be started ASAP. If you finance through the SBA 7(A) program, they will not let the loan term extend beyond the term of your franchise, if you are a franchised outlet. You may also be required to pay that loan off before you get any others

In summary, when doing business with the SBA you will: Pay more as a down payment; Spend more time in the approval phase; Need more collateral; Face shorter repayment terms; Be very aggravated by the whole process.

Approval of Credit for simple business bank loan takes time. If you are trying to get credit from your bank or from an SBA loan or something like that, it takes time. Be prepared to wait anywhere from several days to several weeks for approval. You need to factor this in if you are thinking you want to have a new location or more equipment for your current operations. If you need to expand look at your bottom line, can you afford it? Will your cash flow be able to handle the new debt if you are delayed for any reason from local building regulations, an inopportune lawsuit, competitive changes in the market, downward sector rotation in your industry. Think long and hard about these issues and if you decide to go for it, check all your options, interest rates, pay back periods and do what is best in the short term and the long run.