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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, for small and mid-sized company owners, this type of receivables financing means freedom. Instead of relying on and being beholden to other lending entities, you can now dictate the terms and unlock the cash held in accounts receivable quicker, with little risk and few restrictions.
If your car insurance is due for renewal and you are considering buying another policy then this article will provide you with important facts that you should know about. Car insurance policies are getting increasingly expensive and you should do all that you can to reduce your costs. How much you have to pay for your car insurance is dictated by a variety of factors as they apply to you and your vehicle.
In this article we will examine coverage limits, your age, gender and marital status, your location and insuring other household members. All of these factors will have a great influence on how much you will have to pay for your policy.
Coverage limits are generally dictated by the price that you are willing to pay for your insurance. A higher level of coverage will generally result in higher premiums. The best way to find a good value policy is to comparison shop. Nowadays it is generally accepted that the best way to do this is by using a car insurance comparison website.
Your age, gender and marital status will have a great effect on the auto insurance rates that you are offered. Insurers rate drivers using a variety of criteria, if you are a young single male driver you will usually have to pay higher rates. If you are a middle-aged female married driver then your rates will be lower. Insurers calculate the best car insurance rates for you by comparing levels of risk. Those groups which are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident have to pay correspondingly higher rates.
Location plays an important part in deciding how much your premiums will cost. Drivers who live in an urban environment will usually pay more than those from a rural area. This is because drivers who live in cities and heavily populated areas are more likely to be involved in an accident, or to have their car stolen or vandalized. Insurers generally offer better rates if you’re able to demonstrate that you keep your vehicle in a garage at night. You may also be able to improve the security arrangements of your automobile by fitting an alarm, immobilizer and steering wheel lock.
Insuring other household members will have an influence on the cost of your policy and the best car insurance rates that you offered. If you have teenage family members living with you and they are added to your policy, then your costs will increase. This may still work out cheaper than if your teenage driver were to have a separate policy in their own name.
In conclusion, there are a variety of different factors which can affect your ability to be offered the best insurance rates. Some of these are coverage limits, how old you are, whether you are male or female and whether you are married or single. Your rates will also be affected by the area where you live and whether other household members are included in your policy.