Small Business Finance

Raising capital is a basic need for all businesses. It is not always easy. Small business financial planning is crucial. Lack of funding is often the reason many businesses never get off the ground and the reason most business fail. It is not easy to find a small business start up loan. There are several sources for a small business loan and you should consider all options.

Personal Savings: Most often start-up funds come from ones own savings.

Friends/Relatives: Many people approach friends and relatives with their business ideas in hopes of gaining investors. Some choose this option over the bank because often the loan is repaid without interest of at a very low interest rate.

Banks: The most common source for capital is a bank. You must prove to the lender that your business is viable and well thought-out. If you are unprepared the lender will consider you a high risk and deny your small business start-up loan. You should know exactly how much you need. Explain why you need it and how you will repay it. You’ll want to convince the lender that you are a good credit risk.

Venture Capital: You will gain the funding you need from a venture capital firm in exchange for equity or part ownership. Your business plan must demonstrate your ability to make the business work. You can learn about the venture capital industry and find regional organizations at the National Venture Capital Association.

You must accurately estimate your business costs for up to the first year. First, identify all expenses required for start-up. Some are one time fees and others will be ongoing fees like utilities and inventory. Next, determine which are essential versus optional. You should only include those that are necessary for start-up. Those essential expenses can then be divided into two categories. You’ll encounter these terms over and over again, they are Fixed Costs and Variable Costs. Fixed costs include insurance, utilities, rent and administrative expenses. Variable costs are things like inventory and shipping expenses. Know your fixed and variable costs well.

Use a worksheet to list all your costs and help you estimate your total need for start-up. That’s good small business financial planning. Find more tips at

Small Business Finance Options – Invoice Factoring 101

Invoice factoring is a useful but often misunderstood element of small business finance. So in this article, I’ll explain what factoring is and how it can help certain business owners sustain their growth.

By way of definition, factoring is a process through which small business owners can convert accounts receivable (invoices) into much-needed working capital. Basically, there are three primary parties involved in the process:

  1. The Invoicing Company – This could be any company with accounts receivable in the form of invoices. Additionally, the company’s owner wants to convert those invoices into much-needed working capital. For this example, let’s refer to this business as “Acme Corp.”
  2. The End Customers – These are the customers who have been invoiced by Acme Corp and are thus part of Acme’s accounts receivable system.
  3. The Factoring Company – This is the financing company that specializes in providing working capital through such services as invoice factoring. This is where Acme Corp will go to try and convert their invoices into working capital, a.k.a. cash flow.

Now let’s assume that next month will bring some major equipment purchases for Acme Corp. They need two new vehicles for their business, along with some other equipment. The only problem is, a lot of their capital is tied up in the form of invoices. This represents future revenue, but it doesn’t help Acme Corp here in the present, and it won’t help them make those equipment purchases next month. In other words, those invoices are not considered working capital.

In this common scenario, a small business factoring company could step in to help Acme Corp transform their accounts receivable into working capital (which could be used to make those equipment purchases next month).

So Acme’s owner (Bob Smith) would work with a factoring company to transfer some or all of his invoices to the company. The factoring company would then advance Bob a portion of the invoice total, typically around 80 percent. Bob has just converted 80 percent of his accounts receivable into capital that he can use to cover those equipment purchases.

The end customers (the people who owed Bob those invoices) would now make payments to the factoring company, instead of sending them to Acme Corp.

This approach to financing is not for every business. Like any other financial strategy, there are many considerations that must be taken into account. But the point of this article is not to say whether or not factoring is right for your business, but merely to make you aware of this unique approach to small business finance.

Small Business Financing Methods

Small business financing comes in a number of different forms. Typically, when an entrepreneur wants to start a new business then they approach their local bank as it relates to receiving a loan in order to launch their operations. However, obtaining a loan from a bank comes with a number of risks. As we have discussed before, you are almost certainly going to need to provide a personal guarantee as it relates to receiving the capital that you need for your new business venture.

Second, you may need to provide your home, car, and retirement accounts as collateral as it relates to your loan. As such, the risks related to this type of financing are extremely high as it relates to your personal financial situation. We strongly recommend that you speak with your certified public accountant as well as your financial adviser before you undertake a large debt obligation in order to launch or expand a new business venture. We are going to continue to touch on the subject of the risks relating to small business financing as we write about this subject.

Of course, and as we have mentioned before, you can always seek the assistance of a private investor as it relates to financing your business operations. However, there are significant risks involved when you are working with private funding sources due to the fact that they can take control of your business very quickly. As such, we recommend that you speak to your lawyer before you begin the process of raising capital from a private investor. This is not only due the risks that you business may face as you seek this type of funding, but also because you are going to need to comply with a number of securities laws as you obtain capital from private sources. Additionally, your legal counsel will be able to provide you with a tremendous amount of guidance as it relates to negotiating a proper deal with an angel investor or outside funding source.

Finally, all types of small business financing comes at a cost. Whether you are going to have to pay a significant amount of capital for a loan or sell your business to a third party there are issues that you are going to need to confront as it relates to your cash flow. One of the other things that we constantly recommend is that you develop an appropriate profit and loss statement and cash flow analysis that you can use to determine the cost of capital as it relates to your business venture.