Financing your business is a challenge and there might be times when you’re in need of money to take the next big step or to enable you to make it through a quiet patch. Securing funding is never easy and this is truer than ever in these challenging economic times, so it’s always a good idea to look at a few financing alternatives that you could use to inject cash into your family business...
Just remember that every financial decision has repercussions and that these suggestions (and their consequences) should always be carefully considered with the help of an independent business expert, before you decide to take them on.
Lending standards have become stricter over the years but many banks are still in the business of giving business loans, especially to their well-established clients. Make sure you approach them with a clear plan and fill in the application forms in as much detail as possible. To increase your chances of success, secure a face-to-face meeting with your banker.
Sometimes, you will be able to ‘sell’ your debtors book to the bank. The bank will give your organisation the money for the debtors upfront and then collect the debt for a fee. It’s an expensive way of raising cash and should be avoided if possible.
Offering interested investors a part of your business can mean a welcome injection of cash. Your organisation can also issue new shares to raise finance. This may result in the dilution of existing shareholders’ shareholding but it is an effective way of raising finance. Private equity houses that provide venture capital through strategic investments are also an option.
Unlike ordinary shareholders, preference shareholders have a first claim on profits and the proceeds from the sale of a company’s assets if the company enters bankruptcy. This means that preference shareholders enjoy a significant advantage over ordinary shareholders in that ordinary shareholders cannot get a dividend payment until the preference shareholders have been paid in full.
Even so, preference shareholders are not guaranteed to receive a dividend every time, certainly not when the company doesn’t have the financial means to pay – in which case, preference shares act like shares but, in reality, are more like debt.
An angel investor usually provides start-up capital for new ventures or small businesses in exchange for ownership equity. They can provide a once-off injection of cash or on-going support to carry the business through difficult times.
Angel investors give more favourable terms than other lenders, as they are usually investing in the person rather than the viability of the venture. They might even be family or friends – just be cautious of the pitfalls of mixing business and pleasure, and make sure that you have a solid business agreement in place.
Factoring is a finance method where a company sells its receivables at a discount to get cash up-front. It’s often used by companies with poor credit or by businesses such as clothing manufacturers, which have to fill orders long before payment is made. This is an expensive way to raise funds. Companies selling receivables generally pay a fee that’s a percentage of the total amount.
That said, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. This exchange allows companies to offer their receivables to dozens of factoring companies at once, along with banks and finance companies. These lenders will bid on the invoices which can be sold in a bundle or one at a time.
If your expansion or start-up plans include equipment or vehicles, consider leasing instead of buying so that you can keep cash flow in your business. Even start-up businesses have the ability to lease equipment instead of buying it outright and you may be able to get a lease more easily than a bank loan. If you already own your equipment, you could sell it to a financier, receive the cash, and then lease it back from the financier over a specified term.