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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.

Commercial Loans And Small Business Financing – What To Avoid

It is always advisable to have a detailed understanding of what can go wrong with commercial loans and working capital financing. The five factors described can have negative and long-lasting financial results for small business loans and commercial real estate loans. Business owners should be prepared for these real possibilities.

Most commercial borrowers do not want to experience a worst case for commercial real estate loans and small business loans. When present simultaneously, there are five particular factors which will usually result in a serious outcome that is nevertheless avoidable. Understanding each of the issues should enable borrowers to avoid a potentially devastating working capital financing outcome.

Here are the issues which we believe will usually result in a worst case scenario for commercial loans if all five are present: (1) Dealing with an inexperienced commercial finance advisor; (2) Using a lender which historically has an unacceptable track record for successfully completing commercial loans; (3) Obtaining business financing that includes a recall option for the lender; (4) Inappropriate and non-competitive business loan terms; and (5) Short-term financing in which a borrower is not also offered the opportunity to lengthen to a longer-term period.

Our primary advice is to totally avoid circumstances where all five factors exist at the same time. A secondary recommendation is to also seek alternative financing for commercial loans when either of the first two elements are present. There are likely to be many working capital management scenarios where it will be impractical to avoid all of the issues described in the preceding paragraph.

It is important for business owners to secure commercial financing which is not impacted by the worst case conditions. Business owners will subject themselves to inappropriate business financing terms for a very long time if they do not take appropriate action before they finalize commercial loans. There are two points which should be emphasized.

Our first point is that business loans are probably more complicated than realized by most commercial borrowers. There are a number of additional serious commercial funding obstacles beyond those noted in this brief article. Because of this, it is important for commercial borrowers not to narrowly focus on the factors included in the worst case scenario discussed here and simply avoid these specific issues.

A balanced analysis of both the worst case aspects and other critical business finance terms is essential for comprehensive working capital financing. The importance of this overall perspective is why we emphasized the critical nature of avoiding both inexperienced brokers and lenders.

Second, the worst case scenario for business loans described above is totally avoidable. But to avoid an obstacle, it is critical that you have a working understanding of what you are avoiding, what it looks like and any special techniques required to evade it. For example, if you are driving a car, it is common sense that you will not intentionally drive your vehicle over sharp pointed objects that are likely to puncture your tires.

With commercial loans and commercial real estate loans, the combination of the five factors noted previously in this article will typically produce an impact for small business funding that is equivalent to much worse than simply puncturing a tire. Unfortunately, without proper advice and knowledge, most business owners will not be prepared to recognize the appropriate warning signs for avoiding business financing hazards.

In this article we focused on problems with small business financing that will almost always have long-lasting and immediate negative results for business owners. Commercial borrowers should not overlook the multitude of other serious problems with commercial loans beyond those described. As with the circumstances noted above, most of the other potential difficulties with business loans can also be avoided.

Benefits of the Referral Process With a Unique Small Business Financing Program

This unique small business financing program offers many benefits, and not just to small business owners. This program allows referrals, and this can help you make a nice sum simply for referring small business owners to the program. The referral program is a situation where everyone involved wins, and there are no losers. This program requires no credit checks, tax returns, or any of the other documentation that is usually required. It is one of the best available small business financing options, and the referral program means that you can earn extra money simply by telling other small business owners about this fantastic program.

Referrals are paid for by the lender to help identify other small business owners who could benefit from this program. Many small business owners have networks of other small business owners, who may belong to the same trade groups or associations. In addition, many of us know people who own a small business and could really use financing right now to help in these tough economic conditions. The referral process is very easy, and takes almost no time at all. Anyone you refer will put your name as the referral source on the paperwork, and when your referral qualifies for the financing then you are paid a referral fee. You get money simply for helping an acquaintance or friend get the money they need for their small business. This financing program is risk free, because the processing fee is completely refundable if you are not one hundred percent satisfied with the amount of financing offered.

The referral program offered by this financing opportunity means you can help out any small business owner you know or meet, and benefit from it. The extra income you can make from referrals can really come in handy, especially with the slow economy and financial crisis that is raging. The best part is that this small business financing program sells itself, because of all the benefits offered and the fact that there are no disadvantages. You do not not to push to sell the benefits of this financing program, once small business owners realize the enormous potential and the ease and convenience offered. Financing is critical for any small business to grow and expand, and the financial crisis has made getting this financing extremely difficult from banks and other traditional lenders.

This new and unique small business financing program is a lifeline to small business who need financing but do not meet the perfect credit and documentation requirements that are needed in the current climate. The referral program means that you can get the small business financing you need plus earn some for telling people about the program you use. Unlike all the other financing options, this program is very flexible, and requires a small amount of documentation. Bad credit is okay and can still get approval. This program has helped many small businesses get back on their feet by providing the financing needed. The fact that you can earn money for telling people about this fabulous financing program is just another benefit, for a program that has many.

Understanding Small Business Finance

If you are an entrepreneur, then you know that there is always a need for small business finance to keep things going. Being able to get the money that is needed for your business means that you need to make several financial and non-financial considerations.

Firstly, before you search for funding for your business, it is important to know what type of financing required. Would the business need debt financing (a loan for running your business) or equity financing (money that is taken from savings or investors)?

Small business finance through debt financing means taking loans from credit unions, banks and other traditional financial institutions. Among the loans that are available are short-term loans which must be repaid, with interest, within a specific period of time. Such loans may be termed as demand loans as the lender can call in the loan for repayment any time. Small business finance longer debt loans are normally used for financing assets like renovations or investments in equipment.

There are many businesses that make use of lines of credit as a source of small business finance. They make arrangements with lending institutions for a set amount of available credit that they can draw upon when need arises. Lines of credit allows businesses to use the cash when they need it and they only need to pay back the amount that has been used and interest is paid on the outstanding balance of the line of credit. Numerous lending institutions offer credit cards as a means of small business financing. These cards are used by establishments to finance their operating expenses. But, credit cards can be expensive because of the interest rates. The cards are ideal for use if the balance is paid in full monthly.

Small business finance through equity is normally used in a limited manner. Informal source of equity funding includes friends and family; while the formal sources include venture capitalists. Venture capitalists generally have a considerable pool of resources that allow them to finance ventures and participate in some of the more crucial decisions in the business. However, these capitalists conduct studies before making the decision to provide funding.

There is also some equity small business finance that are received from people who are called as “angel investors”. These are normally people who have deep pockets and are willing to provide funding.

Different types of small business finance helps to increase the chance of the business to become successful.

Small Business Finance – The Next Big Banking Problem?

For the past year, most banks and lenders have been subject to both disastrous operating results and negative publicity. Actual commercial lending activity reported by banks conflicts with the usual attempt by politicians and bankers to portray banks as normal and healthy. Most bank financial results have been disappointing after working hard to solve massive residential loan problems. It is reasonable to ask if commercial banking has more potential disasters about to emerge based on what has been seen and reported so far.

Based on a number of business financing statistics, commercial lending to small businesses is already on life support. In many cases, without government bailouts many commercial banks would have already failed. As bad as that perspective might sound, this report will provide an even more negative outlook for the future of small business finance programs. Unfortunately for banks and lenders, it does appear that business loans will be the next big problem.

During the past year or so, several banking problems have received significant publicity. The largely avoidable difficulties were primarily tied to increasing home foreclosures which in turn caused various investments tied to home loans to decrease in value. Such investments lost value so rapidly that they became known as toxic assets. When banks stopped making many loans (including small business financing), the federal government provided bailout funding to many banks to enable them to keep operating. While most observers would argue that the bailouts were made with the implicit understanding that bank lending would resume in some normal fashion, the banks seem to be hoarding these taxpayer-provided funds for a rainy day. By almost any objective standard, commercial lending activities have all but abandoned small business finance needs.

Small business financing appears to already look like the next big problem based on commercial finance statistics recently released by many banks. The general decline in commercial real estate values during the past several years is a major factor in this conclusion. Because many large commercial real estate owners could not make their commercial mortgage loan payments or refinance business debt, this has resulted in some significant bankruptcies. The resulting bank losses are clearly having an impact now on commercial lending to small business owners even though these difficulties were primarily happening with large real estate owners and did not usually involve small businesses.

Bank losses on large commercial real estate loans have caused many banks to reduce or stop their small business financing activities, and this has clear similarities to the earlier situation of residential mortgage loan toxic assets causing banks to stop normal lending because of capital shortages. The bank losses from large commercial property investors are producing a ripple effect that has caused small business financing to effectively disappear until further notice. While small business owners did not cause this problem, they are suffering the immediate consequences when banks are unable or unwilling to provide normal levels of commercial financing to them. This bad situation is made even worse when we learn that many banks are hoarding cash and approving fewer commercial loans to allow them to quickly pay bailout funds back to the federal government. The primary logic for this approach is that it will allow banks to resume excessive bonuses and compensation to their executives.

Unfortunately one problem will lead to another, as is common with complex circumstances. The failure to obtain normal business financing will most likely lead to an increasing number of commercial loan defaults by small businesses. Prudent business owners should begin to take action now in a timely manner to avoid such negative consequences. The most serious small business finance problems can be anticipated and avoided with appropriate action.

Even if they do nothing else, business owners should have a straightforward conversation with a small business finance expert to assess how exposed their business might be to the brewing commercial banking problems. If recent events are any indication, the banks themselves will not be very forthcoming about problems with their commercial lending practices. For many small businesses, the most objective business financing expert is not likely to be their current banker. To increase the chances that they receive sufficient small business loans in the face of ongoing lending problems, a healthy amount of skepticism and caution will be helpful for business owners.

Using Multiple Sources of Small Business Financing

One misconception about starting a small business is that the only way to receive small business financing is through a bank. Though the bank is a viable option, it is not the only option. Looking towards multiple sources of financing can get your small business the financing it needs. Alternative sources of financing can be used instead of, or in addition to a bank loan. Using multiple sources of financing can help a new or veteran business owner maximize his/her business’ working capital.

Listed below are a variety of small business financing sources, that small business owners can utilize when building, expanding and maintaining their businesses.

Small Business Administration

The small business administration was created to help small businesses get on their feet and remain on their feet. Their mission is “…to maintain and strengthen the Nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters.” So why not look to the SBA for assistance?

The most common SBA loan program is the basic 7(a) loan program. This program is specifically designed for small business owners who may not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. Other loan programs offered by the SBA include the 504 Program, which provides growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings, Micro-Loans that provide very small loan amounts for startup small businesses, with a maximum loan amount of $35,000. Disaster Recovery Loans, which can assist in the recovery of your business if it is involved in a disaster, and Special Purpose Loans, that can be used for any special purposes within your business.

Grants

Just like there are scholarships available for just about anything, if you do enough searching, you could find the small business grant that works for you and get free money to finance your business. Though the federal government does not offer grants to small business owners, there are numerous other grants available for small business owners. You can look to your own state to find free funding your small business. Every state has a state development agency, and many of these agencies offer small business grants, and/or information on where to find them.

Small Business Cash Advances

Though a small business cash advance is not plausible for startup businesses, it can be used after your business has been up and running for a period of time. A business cash advance can offer fast and easy-to-obtain money for your small business’ financial needs. With few requirements, even business owners with average or fairly below average credit scores can qualify to receive a business cash advance.

Financial Intermediaries

A financial intermediary is a person who specializes in finding funds for business owners. Once you’ve done all you can to find money for your business, try hiring a financial intermediary to find the funds that you may have overlooked.

You can decide to use the expertise of a financial intermediary in order to give yourself the time to work on other aspects of your business, or you can use them in combination with your own expertise; as the saying goes, two heads are better than one.

Financial intermediaries can also be used to help in the start up of your business, offering help with the writing of business plans, proposals, etc.

How To Deal With Your Small Business Finance Needs

One of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks for any business owner is to finance even a small business. While it is considered an essential part of running and expanding a business, it should be done properly and carefully so that it won’t hinder the establishment of the business as a whole. Small business finance is basically the connection between cash, value, and risk. Maintaining the balance of these three factors will ensure the good financial health of your business.

The first step that a business owner needs to take is to come up with a business plan as well as a loan system which comes with a well structured strategic plan. Doing this will certainly result to concrete and sound finances. It is of necessity that prior to your financing a business, you figure out what exactly your needs are in terms of small business finance.

In trying to determine your business’ financing requirements, keep in mind that you have to have a positive mindset. As the owner of the business, you should be confident enough in your own business that you will be willing to invest as much as 10% of your small business finance needs from your own pocket. The other 30% of the financing can be from venture capital or other private investors.

In terms of the private equity aspect of your business, you would want it to be around 30 to 40 percent equity share in your company for a period of at least three years and a maximum of five years. But of course, this will still be dependent on the value of your small business along with the risk involved. Maintaining this equity component in your company will assure you majority ownership of the business. As a result, you will be able to leverage the other 60 percent of your small business finance needs.

It will also be easier to satisfy the remaining financing needs of your growing business. You may opt to get the rest from a long-term debt, inventory finance, short-term working capital, and equipment finance. Remember also that as long as you have a steady cash position in the business, many financial institutions will be more than willing to lend you money. In this respect also, it is recommended that you get an expert commercial loan broker who will do the selection of your financing options. This is also a crucial stage as you would want to find the most appropriate financing offer to meet all your small business finance requirements.

These are just some of the important considerations that need to be taken when financing a small business. There are, however, so many business owners who do not pay enough attention to these things unless their business is in crisis. As a business owner, what you should keep in mind always is how you can grow and expand. Therefore, have a small business finance plan as early as possible so that you can make sure that every financial aspect of your business is in good condition.

Small Business Finance Bad Dredit – Make Efforts For Low Cost Funds

While you make search for small business finance with a bad credit tag, one aspect that should be at the upper most on your mind is the costs. Any such loan that drains away larger portion of your finances towards the monthly outgoings will result in stress on your trade.

If you have a history of late payments, defaults, arrears or CCJs, then the loan approval will be harder to get. You should save money for making greater down payment, which gives a sense of security to the lender and the approval comes with ease.

One way to ensure a less burden some finance for your trade is to approach the lenders with an excellent or good credit rating. Make sure that your FICO rating is above 600 or in the vicinity of it. Get copies of your credit report to make it fully free of any misrepresentation of the facts about the payments you made in the past. In case of the rating being lower, then make timely payments for few months for improving it, before applying for the loan.

Ensure that you have made a convincing plan of repaying the finance. You would be using the loan for variety of purposes like buying the raw material; equipment, machinery etc. hence, keep a good amount of money in your bank for few months at least. This will give the impression that you can repay the loan installments, without depending on our business.

You can choose to borrow small business finance in secured or unsecured options. Greater funds can be accessed under the secured loan against your residential or commercial property. Lower interest rate is the main advantage of the loan. you can repay the loan in 5 to 30 years. The unsecured loan has no risks for the business people, as it comes without collateral. However, only smaller amount will be approved for 5 to 15 years, at higher interest rate.

First, apply for the rate quotes, so that you can have access to select small business loans bad credit, which are of lower rate and few additional charges. Repay the loan on time for escaping any debt accumulation.

Small Business Financing – The Money For Small Businesses is Out There

There are so many sources of small business financing you can access everywhere. Entrepreneurs certainly can capitalize their businesses from these small business financing opportunities that will be elaborated one by one in this article.

Business financing is often to be found on certain sources of organizations such as government, banks, investors and venture capitalist. It is imperative to take note on what the lenders need when you propose loan to them. Lenders will want to know about your business history to see whether your business has executed the business beneficially or not. They will also review track record of your company management. Poor demonstrated proposals, incompetent collateral, inadequate cash flow and deficiency of management are the general causes of numerous small business failures and these will become negative considerations for them. What you need to bring to them are the opposite ones and also a proven positive credit history that will support you to get a loan.

Now let us discuss the four primary sources of small business financing.

Government Sources (Small Business Administration or SBA)

These sources are common loan guarantee programs that will cut down the risk for lenders. SBA is supported by business experts who will provide consultation to business owners before they submit their proposals to the lenders.

a. The 7(a) loan guarantee program: This program offers repayment guarantees ranging from 75-85ir% depending on the size of the loan. Typically, this program assists small business which lack of adequate collateral.

b. The SBA Low Doc loan program: The approval time of this program will be around two or three days after the Small Business Administration receive the applications. There is just one form to be filled in for these loans.

c. The SBA Express loan program: This program addresses loans up to $250,000. The interest rate of this program perhaps higher than the other SBA programs, but this program can be categorized as loan guarantee programs with quick procedure.

d. Micro Loans: The loans are brought in by non profit community based organizations for totals up to $35,000.

Common or Traditional Lenders

These lenders are primary sources of loans to small businesses. They are credit unions, banks and finance institutions. Many of these companies have professionally experienced addressing the business loans and hold a small business section.

Venture Capitalists

With a high profit potency, these sources are ordinarily business firms that are awaiting investment chances in businesses or companies.

Individual Investors

These are usually personal investors who have lower amounts to invest than venture capitalists with investments chain from $100,000 to $1 Million and they are searching beneficial opportunities in a broad diversity of businesses.

From above mentioned sources, we know that small business financing are available out there. Therefore it is time to prepare your proposal to approach the institution that match to your needs as well as your qualifications.