Business Capital Solutions In Canada: Accessing Proper Cash Flow & Commercial Financing

Business capital requirements in Canada often boil down to some basic truths the business owner/financial mgr/entrepreneur needs to address when it comes to financing for businesses.

One of those truths? Knowing the true state of their financial condition and what financing they do and don’t qualify for when it comes to meeting commercial lending requirements in Canadian business.

Business Loans In Canada

Whether you are smaller or start-up firm looking for information on how to get a business loan or a larger established firm looking for growth financing or acquisition opportunities we’re highlighting 3 mistakes that commercial loan seekers like your company need to avoid making when addressing, sourcing and negotiating your cash flow / working capital and commercial financing needs.

1. Understand the true condition of your company finances – These are almost always successful addressed when you spend time on your financials and understand how your financial statements reflect your access to commercial loans & business credit in general

2. Ensure you have a plan in place for sales growth and financial needs as it relates to commercial financing

3. Understand that actual hard facts about cash flow which is, of course, the lifeblood of your company

Can you honestly answer or feel positive about all those 3 points. If so, pass Go and collect $ 100.00!

A good way to address your company’s finance plans is to ensure you understand growth finance solutions, as well as how to manage in a downturn – i.e. not growing, losing money, etc; It’s never fun to fund yourself in an economic or industry downturn such as the COVID pandemic of 2020!

When we talk to clients of new or established businesses it seems they are almost always talking about sales, so the ability to understand and focus on the differences in their profits and cash fluctuations is key.

How do cash flow and sales plans and projections affect the type of financing you require? For one thing sales growth usually starts out by consuming your cash, not generating it. A poor finance plan will drag your business down and addressing financing simply gets tougher and tougher.

Three basics always emerge when it comes to your search for the right business capital and financing.

1. The amount of financing you need

2. The type of financing (debt/cash flow/asset monetization) The business loan interest rate will be dramatically affected by whether you choose traditional or alternative financing solutions. Private business loans in Canada come from non regulated commercial finance companies most often known as ‘ alternative lenders ‘. These lenders are typically highly specialized in one ‘ niche ‘ of business financing and may be Canadian firms or branches of U.S. banks and non-bank lenders

3. How the financing is structured to be manageable with your day to day operations

What Finance Company In Canada Can Meet Your Borrowing Needs & Why Is Capital Important In Business

Let’s identify and break down key financings your firm should know about and understand if they are applicable and achievable to your business. They include:

A/R Financing / Factoring / Confidential Receivable Finance

Inventory finance / floor planning / retail inventory

Working Capital term loans

Unsecured cash flow loans

Merchant working capital loans/advances – these loans are geared toward short term cash needs and are typically one year in duration. Loan amounts are typically 15-20% of your annual sales revenues.

Royalty finance

Asset based non bank business lines of credit

Tax credit financing (SR&ED bridge loans)

Equipment Leasing / Sale leasebacks – Equipment financing in Canada is used by almost 80% of all companies looking to acquire new, and used, assets.

Govt Guaranteed Small Business Loan program – Government Loans in Canada are sometimes referred to as ‘ SBL’, aka Note: BDC Finance solutions are available from this Canadian non-bricks and morter crown corporation. A small business loan via the government-guaranteed loan program comes with true flexibility around term loan duration, market rates, no pre payment penalties, and of course the low personal guarantee that is required by borrowers. These two ‘ government ‘ loan solutions are often perfect for financing a new business.

If you’re focused on not making mistakes in your business finance needs and want to capitalize on the solutions your competitors are probably already using seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your cash flow and commercial financing needs.

Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.

His employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) In 2004 Stan founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL – He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.

Ecommerce Evolution

The highly competitive ecommerce arena has begun to see an evolution in the paradigm of packages prices and shopping cart platforms. Many ecommerce management software providers are successfully bundling their ecommerce software with storefront templates, shopping carts, and complete marketing services making it easy for the inspired entrepreneur to start an online retail business.While the internet itself always provided a revitalized, virtually unlimited opportunity for making money, there still existed – as with most pursuits – numerous challenges and a somewhat slippery learning curve. Foremost among the obstacles for excited proprietors and transitioning companies, was adapting an existing local retail business to the web: stores without stores, displays without bulky shelving comprised solely of pixels, customers service departments replaced by phone agents, and the unending yearning to create significant brand awareness in a market that had no regional boundaries.However, the advantage of the internet was the profusion of readily available information, and the game began to change slowly, and then rapidly, in a historically unrivaled communication of knowledge in the form of everything internet, from html tutorials to shopping cart solutions, all for the taking for those willing to eager to learn – and to pay. And, so the future and ecommerce were born, fast and unrelenting. The merchants of small town life often seen sweeping the steps of their shops each morning, tidying their stores for the days traffic, spent more time in front of their computers, changing the graphic on their banner ads, as the first, obvious element of online business was recognized. Though online retailers would still require consistently reputable customer service departments and quality products to sustain repeat buying and avoid dangerous complaints from newly sprung online review sites, proprietors foremost need was for a presentable online location – a good website – and ten thousand web design companies responded on cue in a Starbucks-sustaining din, accented by the sound of fingers-flying across Dell keyboards and the exuberance of freshman classes filling the seats of newly-created college web classes.A good web design, a user friendly shopping cart, the right niche products, and successful SEO and cost-per-click marketing quickly arose as ingredients of a winning web formula that companies had to struggle to discover, understand, and master. And, inevitably, as the necessary components of online business become more clearly defined, the opportunity to make money servicing those trying to make money selling was handsomely seized by ecommerce programmers, web developers, and web marketers.It is somewhat dizzying and mathematically staggering, looking back now in 2010, to remember just how fast the internet rose since its dawn, first cresting the technological mountains. Now those musing starting an online business over their cappuccino the morning after graduation can sign up with a monstrous drop-shipping conglomerate offering thousands of products, carefully select a design company promising exceptional custom work for a few hundred bucks, hire an inexpensive SEO firm promising first page results, and barrel head long into an unknown, optimism-laden online business future.Unfortunately, like falling stars on an August night, the sight of once-bright entrepreneurs burning out from their web dreams has become a regular statistical vision, and the reality considered by this article. Namely, how viable is creating an online business? And specifically, have ecommerce companies succeeded in delivering the services that give you a better chance of succeeding than failing?Sure, we’re way past the early ’90′s when everybody was jumping on the internet as it sailed away from it’s brick-and-mortar harbor, but ecommerce still has no end in sight and is, perhaps, more appealing possibility than ever for Americans analyzing the future of their financial well-being in a lengthening recession.Online adaption has taken place though, and while early internet pioneers faced a more uncertain journey – having less affordable options available for web services – modern web mavericks will face a different primary problem: themselves. There’s just too many people doing the same thing and the competition can be fiscally suffocating. It’s in the choices made during that critical growing stage that will play the largest role in being able to jump to the next milestone without drowning out. Like everything, to succeed online will, without question, require some investment, but spending little enough to put all the pieces in place – a dependable hosting solution, an appealing, dependable site, successful CPC and SEO marketing strategies, efficient ecommerce management tools, etc. – and getting a large enough return in the form of purchasing consumer traffic while make or break a new generation of potential web tycoons.Enter the aggressive arena of ecommerce and you’ll find numerous ecommerce software providers and web development companies standing by the gate ready to equip you for the battle for a nominal fee, themselves engaging in a tense contest to earn your money as you pass by. But choose wisely, young maverick, because paying too much for the wrong service could leave you strapped when you get the marketing gauntlet and have no padding left. There are specialized web designers, shopping cart providers, SEO gurus, custom programmers, and hosting giants all dangling their goods before you with appealing phrases like “scalable”, “custom”, and “#1″, vying for your selection. Other companies promise to do it all for peanuts, and while tempting, leave you with a nagging anxiety that may be getting less than you paid for, which is very little. Then there is an aisle of ecommerce giants that are well adorned, and seem stronger and more experienced, holding a long list of previous champions they’ve supplied, and they would likely be an excellent choice except that the young business warrior would suffer a debilitating loss just paying for the goods, before ever seeing their brand’s flag waiving in the arena.Though some may come to the ecommerce table with a sizeable sum and a wealth of business management experience, I am most interested in the plight of those who do not. For those weary occupational travelers, business confidence may fall sharply as hard earned start-up capital diminishes, and success will be carefully garnered by monitoring spending.For sake of those e-commerce combatants, we’re most interested in the growing breed of ecommerce providers who offer complete services – hosting, design, shopping cart, store management tools, analytics, seo marketing, ssl certificates – basically everything you need – at an affordable price. These vendors bring a ray of hope to the prospect of starting an online business, and can certainly bring forth operational proof of other companies they’ve assisted numbering in the tens of thousands. Which begs the question, with so many advanced yet simplified tools available and so many companies already enjoying success, how easy is it really? Does anyone with a desire, some cash, and a willingness to succeed really have a shot at the modern American dream – making a viable income working from home as an internet retail proprietor? A home-brewed latte, some checkered pajames, and a picture window for office adornments are the stuff of dreams for many office-scorched blue collar Americans.So, just how well do total ecommerce providers succeed at helping you succeed?There are numerous good ecommerce players out there – Volusion, BigCommerce, Shopify, and 3DCart are a few notables – that can provide your store with a site, hosting, ecommerce platform system, shopping cart, customer support, etc., however, they can vary significantly in quality, ease-of-use, and price – all factors that can affect the reality of online success.The question is, in a rush of e-commerce competition, have packages become like so many package products, appearing to include everything you need but lacking in fundamental quality. Children’s fishing sets are available at discount retailers that provide a pole, reel, lures, weight, bobbers, and an assortment of neon-colored tackle for under $15, but many Dad has faced crying toddlers after arriving at the vacation destination to discover that the reel jambs and the lures don’t work. When it comes to your ecommerce provider, you don’t want to be a victim of that old adage, getting only what you paid for. After all with competition and technology increases, can’t we demand that the functional value of our purchases exceed their cost, or at least exceed another product of the some price.Some ecommerce companies offer relatively cheap shopping carts and management tools, but their site templates are crudely commercial – replicas with differing color schemes – and obtaining a custom design is an additional service costing hundreds or thousands more. Once you enter into a deep-digging, nuts and bolts comparison you’ll discover the variety in price, quality, service, usability, is great even among competitors. Ultimately, selecting the right company will depend upon your particular business, target market, product catalog, knowledge level, experience and budget, with the latter likely holding more weight than all others.One of my favorite new ecommerce comapnies this year is AWDCommerce, (http://www.awdcommerce.com) an emerging Montana based e commerce software developer and a subsidiary of American Web Design, for their quality, cost, and small-town style customer support. They offer over 500 customized storefront designs for numerous industries of very high quality for a professional site, robust ecommerce management tools, exceptional small-town style customer service, shopping cart, unlimited products, support, and hosting for $39.99/mo. What I liked most is AWDCommerce combination of price, quality, and support – they provide everything, with friendly small town support to back it up, for under $40 a month. The storefront designs offered a superb quality against comparable templates – providing entrepreneurs with a truly, professional appearance – plus they offer agent-assisted assimilation and customization of logos and graphics, making the site formation easy for the unsavvy. Rather than offering “scalable” plans labeled like Olympic medals, they allow up to 10,000 products so you have room to grow without seeing a higher monthly bill. AWDCommerce developed ecommerce platform didn’t look as nice as some, but was very easy to use and offered a strong array of professional management features. The company also offers custom programming for any required app development and organic SEO and cost-per-click marketing services to help spread your brand wings.I wouldn’t be surprised to see AWDCommerce show significant growth in the e-commerce market this year, and are a good example of a smart, all-inclusive provider for proprietors with limited pockets seeking to get the most bang for their buck.There are many good companies out there able to provide a website, hosting, shopping cart, web-based management tools, analytics, and marketing and I would assert that, more than ever before, they do indeed make it possible for proprietor’s with the right niche product and work ethic to successfully launch an online business with as little as a few hundred bucks. One things remains certain though: choosing carefully in the selection of web services will have a measurable impact on your business once you enter the arena and find yourself before the cheering crowd, with internet royalty like Google and Yahoo watching your emergence with a robotic efficiency.So be encouraged. The merchant games have always been tough, and though the intensity may have make a daunting plateau, there may have never been as much help available or potential gain as now.As a previous cash-strapped, green-footed web proprietor myself, I wish all a happy deployment and good showing in the games.

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?