Business Finance

So you want to start up a new business? You’ve done your research into the existing businesses and checked out your competition whilst gaining some hands on experience along the way. You’re armed with your business plan, outlining your every move from your objectives, strategies, and target market to your financial forecast. There’s just one little hurdle left to leap over, the decision and arrangement of business finance.

More and more businesses and new ventures are failing to get anywhere past the starting line. There are two main reasons why most businesses fail; poor management plans and inadequate business capital, which is why raising money is important in the early stages of a business.

So why is this need for finance so important? As a new business you will need not only a place for your business to be housed in but also all of the necessary equipment that will be needed to make sure your business is running to its fullest. This start up capital will be used to pay for:

o The renting/buying of a premises/office space, which will require payment of three months in advance.

o Any machinery or office equipment

o Business services such as insurance

o The purchase of stock

o Wages and salaries

o Any financial cover you may need while waiting for customers to use your business

In order to gain the correct business finance and to make sure that people will be willing to invest in your business it is essential to have a well structured and developed business plan. It should state how your business will be different from the competition, why people will use your business and how you will supply your customers with what they require. Research has been conducted that has found companies with a structured business plan stating their overall goals and how they plan to move their business towards them make a considerably higher profit than those that don’t.

Most avenues that you chose to go down in order to secure business finance won’t come near your business without this business plan. So what are your options when it comes to business finance? There are many options open to you but that doesn’t mean that all of them are right for you.

One of the first places that people go to for business finance is there bank. Although banks are still the most common form of business finance it doesn’t automatically mean they are the best. All banks vary in terms of what they can offer start-up businesses, so it is important to talk to a number of them before making a decision. Banks will also expect you to put some of your own money into the business; as a new business venture you may not be able to afford this.

Another form of business finance is asset financing. This is a line of credit that is secured by assets such as real estate. So as a new business venture you can use these assets as collateral to obtain capital. However if payments aren’t made your assets may be seized.

An ever popular choice of Business Finance for a new business venture is a business angel. Business Angels are called this because they often save struggling firms with both finance and advice when no one else will. Angel investors understand the needs of a new business through there own experience and are able to advice and aid the companies in many ways. Business angels are successful entrepreneurs or executives. With their skill, luck, careful planning and good management; they have turned many businesses into profitable ones.

Finally there are venture capitalists who are private investors for financing new or growing businesses and even struggling established businesses. Even though they are high risk investments they can offer the potential for above average returns and/or a percentage of ownership of the company

Business Finance Consulting and Planning Tools

Various strategies for cost control will be helpful for most small businesses trying to cope with reduced sales volume. Business planning and consulting are likely to be among the most effective alternatives to help small business owners deal with recent distressed financial conditions.

The need for new business planning tools is rarely a high priority for a company that is not experiencing one or more substantial problems. However even for the most healthy business, contingency plans are advisable. The value of contingency planning for business financing is sharply illustrated by recent examples of banks suddenly eliminating commercial loan programs with little or no advance notice. The level of chaos that currently prevails throughout commercial banking unfortunately means that changes can continue to occur with little warning.

Business consulting will often not be thoroughly considered by small businesses because of the potential cost. As with any any other corporate service, costs cannot be ignored. This is particularly true in the current economic environment because very few businesses have substantial discretionary funds to cover new business expenses. Nevertheless it will sometimes be necessary to spend some money in order to either make money or reduce costs.

The growing need for business consulting and management tools is supported by the disturbing number of changes which have occurred throughout the business world recently. To adequately address many of the complicated changes impacting small business loans and working capital financing, most business owners will not have enough technical skills or information. Many banks have imposed significant fee increases for their commercial finance services, and finding effective (and less costly) alternative business funding services will prove difficult for even the most skilled borrower. While there are some viable business finance options to replace traditional bank financing, these alternatives can seem confusing simply because they are new and different approaches.

Whenever there are complex problems, there are rarely simple solutions. The current difficulties for small business owners are a growing challenge. Similar circumstances have not been seen during the past fifty or more years for most businesses. As a result, even a highly experienced business owner is likely to be missing enough direct experience to make it through the maze of current changes and problems without at least some outside help.

It is likely that the most effective (and realistic) business planning tools will actually be a combination of several approaches undertaken with a coordinated effort. As noted above, complicated problems will usually require complex solutions. This will often translate to a series of business management and planning maneuvers that can take a number of months or even several years to complete. Small business owners should generally avoid any business consulting expert that portrays the problem-solving process as quick and easy

Small Business Finance Success Improves With Realistic Options

The goal of being realistic when seeking new commercial loans and working capital financing will help commercial borrowers avoid a number of commercial finance problems. With proper preparation business owners should be in a better position to obtain new financing despite the difficult challenges impacting most working capital loans and small business financing. Nevertheless it should be anticipated that terms of financing will be different from prior commercial financing. Because of recent commercial lending difficulties, business owners actively assessing the most effective options for their small business finance decisions are likely to find the smoothest path to business loan success.

In view of volatile conditions which have recently impacted credit markets, this will not be a simple task. A very common example of the problem is illustrated by how much misinformation and confusion there has been about business financing and working capital availability. Getting more accurate information about what is realistically possible can be one of the most difficult challenges for commercial borrowers.

When seeking to identify realistic choices in a confusing working capital management climate, a number of harsh realities must be confronted by all small business owners. For most current commercial financing decisions by business owners, there are several major factors to anticipate. In the first example, additional small business loan collateral is being requested by most commercial lenders. Second, many regional and local banks have discontinued lending for business financing and working capital. In a third example, businesses which are not currently profitable or not current in their debt payments will have extensive difficulties. Fourth, business construction funding currently is very limited in most areas. In a fifth example, lenders are eliminating unsecured business lines of credit for most small business owners.

Despite the new business financing limitations just noted, there are practical working capital options for small business owners to consider. An increasingly effective commercial financing option in the midst of an uncertain economy is a merchant cash advance program based on credit card processing activity. Even though this commercial funding option has been available for a few years, it has not been used by most small businesses. For most businesses which accept credit cards, merchant cash advances should be evaluated as an important tool for improving business cash flow. Small business owners wanting to pursue this financing option should consult a business financing expert who is knowledgeable about this working capital management approach as well as other small business loans.

Even though working capital loans are not as widely available as they were just a few months ago, this kind of small business financing is still in fact obtainable. Since some of the largest providers have stopped making these business loans, the main change for business borrowers is the likelihood that they will be dealing with a different commercial lender. Small business owners will benefit from finding an experienced and candid business financing expert to assist in evaluating realistic options because the most effective working capital financing providers are not aggressively marketing this capability.

As stressed above, when making commercial financing decisions it is becoming increasingly important for business owners to first determine their effective business finance funding options. Because of recent volatility in financial markets, this task is likely to be much more difficult than most commercial borrowers realize. It is advisable to explore commercial finance options that might be necessary if economic conditions change even further even for business owners who are satisfied with their current working capital financing arrangements. The use of Plan B contingency financing is an important tool to assist commercial borrowers in this process

Business Finance Misinformation and Confusion

Confusion about commercial loans and working capital financing seems to be increasing despite efforts by the federal government and commercial lenders to suggest that there is ample business loan funding. As a result, the actual availability of business financing for commercial finance programs such as commercial mortgages and business cash advances is unclear to most business owners.

It seems apparent that there have been many reports suggesting that normal commercial finance channels are either frozen or extremely sluggish. In reality there are probably more opportunities for commercial loan needs than suggested by such reports. However, increasing uncertainties in financial and credit markets have produced conflicting and misleading information about the availability of commercial financing. For most business owners, it is probably not clear if business finance funding is realistically available to them or not.

In spite of some admittedly bad news, there continue to be to reliable funding sources for commercial real estate loans, working capital loans and especially for business cash advances. At the same time, the current negative economic conditions will prove to be difficult for most businesses. Commercial borrowers should expect that extra efforts will be required to successfully arrange commercial financing. An especially harsh reality for business financing is that many banks have discontinued all or most of their business lending activities, often with very little advance notice.

One common example of commercial finance misinformation distorting what is actually feasible is that some kinds of commercial financing have been more disrupted than others by recent events. Commercial borrowers might be unnecessarily confused by reports that do not refer to all commercial loan situations but rather primarily apply to a very specialized form of business financing. For example, by most accounts commercial construction loans are in short supply currently. Such specialized business loans are not as easily available as they were just a few months ago, and a more accurate accounting would reflect that the number of commercial lenders currently active in construction financing has shrunk dramatically. At the same time, most commercial real estate loans without new construction have not been as severely impacted as funding requests which do involve construction financing.

Several publications have reported that most new business financing requests are on hold or have simply been rejected due to recent financial market uncertainties, and this is another example of how business finance funding reports might confuse small business owners. While the sources for this information might have been honestly told by one or more lending institutions that they are in fact deferring new commercial loan funding, this does not mean that is the case for the entire country. If the discussion involved automobile sales, it would be comparable to concluding that nobody is selling cars anywhere after learning that several major dealers and two manufacturers announced that they were going out of business due to lack of adequate sales. Just because one or more banks fail or stop making business loans, it does not mean that there are not commercial loans available from other sources.

Commercial borrowers would be wise to maintain a cautious perspective in determining how to refinance or obtain small business loans simply because the banking industry has been involved in financial disruptions of an epic proportion. Many banks are sounding and acting like they have been through the equivalent of a train wreck. In such a natural disaster, it might not be prudent for business owners to seek the advice of banks which effectively caused the train to derail in the first place.

Despite reports about limited availability of business financing, some commercial lending activities such as business cash advance programs are actually as active as they have ever been. In the current commercial funding crisis, small business owners should seek a commercial loans expert for a realistic assessment and candid discussion about working capital loans and business finance programs

Business Finance Alternative – The Merchant Cash Advance

Business finance, as many a business owner knows, can be tricky to secure with a stringent application process.

Due to the economic climate, the banks are much more reluctant to lend and tend to be much stricter when assessing applications for business finance. Even if you do get accepted for the business loan, there are usually strict monthly repayments and early repayment charges if you wanted to repay the balance early.

Bank business loans aren’t the only form of finance available however. There is a business finance alternative that is quickly growing in popularity. It is known as a merchant cash advance and is available from many lenders who have a strong online presence.

Many of these lenders have built up a strong reputation for providing a flexible business finance alternative.

What makes the merchant cash advance so flexible is the fact that there are no fixed monthly repayments. The balance is repaid from an agreed percentage of your customer’s future credit and debit card transactions.

If your business processes more than £3500 per month in card transactions then there is a good chance you will qualify as acceptance rates are exceptionally high.

This flexible repayment method means that if your business picks up and you start to process more card transactions then the advance will be repaid quicker than anticipated and likewise if your business is experiencing a slack period then you don’t have a fixed monthly payment, like with a business loan, that may hurt your cash-flow.

Some online merchant cash advance lenders have 24 hour online tracking systems meaning you can see exactly where your advance is up to any time day or night.

I was reading about one small business who used a cash advance, and they wanted to extend their range of stock and needed about £15000. They had sourced a real bargain on a batch of great products that they knew they could turnover quickly but didn’t have the funds to purchase.

They used the cash advance as a business finance alternative as their bank declined them for the loan. Apparently everything went to plan and the stock did indeed sell quickly which meant that they repaid the cash advance much quicker than anticipated.

The application process for a merchant cash advance also tends to be much simpler than a bank loan and the money is usually available within two weeks.

So if your business needs finance then don’t just look at the banks. Consider all business finance alternatives including the merchant cash advance