Banks and traditional lenders don’t make a lot of money from small businesses and are hesitant to take a chance on them. They typically require that small companies jump through a number of hoops to apply for funding, then reject 80% of the applications. Traditional lenders want to be absolutely certain that they’ll recoup their loan principal and interest, so they may ask for personal credit checks, a comprehensive business plan, your company’s financial records, and even collateral before they’ll even consider lending to you.
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Ideally, your small business financial plan will contain key statements and projections or forecasts that help inform the actions of the business. These include:
Using accounting software can help make your financial planning and record-keeping more effective and less time consuming. When you need to apply for funding, you can reduce the legwork of having to recreate all of these statements for your application. In fact, with FundThrough, you don’t need to submit any of these statements at all, as our app simply integrates with your invoicing software.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. It’s the measure of how much money is flowing into your business versus the amount flowing out over any given period and without it, your company can’t meet its financial obligations. You can learn more in The Ultimate Cash Flow Guide.
If you’re wondering, “Is cash flow forecasting part of a business plan?” the answer is YES! Negative cash flow is the number one reason businesses fail; if there’s one place you’re going to focus your energies, this is it. Cash flow statements are a critical tool as you grow your business, to show you exactly where you stand at any given point. Cash flow forecasting will help you foresee any potential gaps before they happen, so you can proactively put cash flow tools to work.
Your cash debt ratio is the measure of net cash from operating activities versus your average current liabilities. This tells you whether your operations can support payment of your current liabilities. The cash debt coverage ratio formula is:
Current cash debt coverage ratio = Net cash from operating activities / Average current liabilities
If you don’t have all of those things, it can be challenging to impossible to get approved for a business loan. Many owners turn to private lenders, investors, or VC firms next, but this can mean giving up equity in your company or having to agree to high interest rates and unfavorable loan terms.
That’s why so many entrepreneurs and small businesses are choosing to use more creative sources of funding that allow them to bootstrap their own business. One way you can do this is by making better use of your accounts receivable through invoice factoring. Here’s how it works.
Secured financing means the borrower has used an asset of some sort as collateral. This can be a risky strategy. Imagine using a large piece of business equipment as collateral, then losing a major contract that caused you to default on your loan. Your ability to do business at all could be limited or even eliminated. Sometimes banks ask small business owners to use personal property such as a home or retirement savings as collateral as well. The risks involved are too great for many owners to stomach, which is why more are turning to innovative new alternative financing solutions like invoice factoring, which advances funds you’ve already earned rather than creating new debt.
A capital injection is an investment in your business that gives you operating capital. A loan is just one method of injecting capital in your business; other methods include owner investments, VC funding, and invoice factoring.
Traditional lenders like banks want to see an established credit record before they’ll even consider lending funds to a business. The best way to establish credit is to carry at least two revolving credit products (such as a credit card and line of credit), and to not only use them regularly, but pay down the balance each month, as well. While you establish your company’s credit, you can use a cash flow tool like invoice factoring to speed up your accounts receivable and free up funds to grow your business.
It’s critical! You can’t just set-it-and-forget-it with your small business finances. Run important financial reports including your balance sheet and cash flow statement regularly and use a cash flow forecasting tool to get ahead of any potential gaps in cash flow. Considering that negative cash flow is the #1 killer of small businesses, cash flow forecasting and management are the most important aspects of your financial management activities.
Well, you’re in the right place and already have a head start! Invoice factoring is one of the best ways to improve your cash flow while limiting risk, as you don’t need to take on new debt to fund your business using this tool. Invoice factoring advances revenue you’ve already earned, so you don’t have to wait 30 or 60 days (or more) to collect on your invoices. You can learn more about how it works here.
Finding funding without bringing on investors or giving up equity typically requires that you make creative use of your company’s assets. What assets, you ask? You’re right, most small businesses don’t have much in the way of assets – especially not anything they can afford to lose by using it as collateral. That’s why invoice factoring has become the go-to funding tool for all kinds of businesses, from contractors to manufacturers to retailers and more.
Invoice factoring puts the power of your accounts receivable to work for you by advancing your invoices. You retain full ownership and control and because FundThrough operates in the background, your clients never know you’re using an invoice factor. Check it out.
Working capital refers to the resources available for you to use in your day-to-day business operations and includes cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and securities.
The formula for calculating working capital is:
Current assets – current liabilities = working capital
Working capital is critical to the success of your business. Without working capital, you cannot operate, as it provides the free cash flow required to purchase inventory, pay employees and contractors, lease your space, and more.
Working capital is used every day that your business is in operation. It’s used to stock your shelves, pay your team, and otherwise operate your business. Working capital may also be used by lenders and investors as a measure of the liquidity, efficiency, and the financial health of your business.
Working capital can come from your operating, financing, or investing activities. You can learn more about each of these sources in The Ultimate Cash Flow Guide.
Cash flow measures the funds flowing in and out of your business over a specific period of time, while working capital is the sum equal to your current assets minus your current liabilities.
Without working capital, you do not have the cash flow to pay your company’s short-term expenses. Keeping your cash flow positive is the key to ensuring you always have enough working capital to operate your business and meet your obligations to creditors, employees, and clients.
As a business owner or manager, you can calculate working capital using the figures provided to you on your company’s balance sheet.
Your cash flow statement shows the amount of cash flowing in and out of your business from operating, financing, and investing activities over a specific period of time. It’s a critical financial document, but you won’t find working capital here. To learn more about your cash flow statement, keep reading here.
Working capital is one of the easiest calculations to work out from your balance sheet. Simply subtract your current liabilities from current assets. As a rule of thumb, experts like to see that a company has enough working capital to pay all of its expenses for one year.
Your working capital ratio, or current ratio, shows how your current assets stack up against your current liabilities. A ratio of 1.0 indicates that you may be facing imminent financial difficulties, while a ratio of 2.0 demonstrates greater short-term liquidity and is an indicator of better financial health. The working capital ratio formula is:
Current assets ÷ current liabilities = working capital ratio
Working capital management is closely linked with cash flow management. Together, these disciplines help to ensure that you always have enough liquidity and cash flow to meet your financial obligations and grow your business. Read Cash Flow Management Basics to learn more.
Small and medium-sized businesses tend not to have large reserves of liquid assets. In fact, too much working capital isn’t necessarily a good thing (more on that below). Taking a proactive approach to managing your working capital helps ensure that you are making informed financial decisions for your business.
As a rule of thumb, you should have enough working capital to pay all of your bills for one year.
Positive working capital means you have more current assets than liabilities, and can cover your financial obligations over the next 12 months.
Negative working capital means you have more current liabilities than assets. For example, a construction contractor may find themselves in a position of negative working capital when beginning a new project, due to the large outlay of cash required for purchasing materials and contracting vendors. It’s critical to limit periods of negative working capital as much as possible.
Absolutely. If you hang on to a large amount of positive working capital (greater than one year’s worth of liabilities), investors and lenders might actually see this as a drawback. Those funds could be better spent investing in the growth or improvement of your business.
You can increase your working capital through operations, financing, or investing activities by filing and collecting invoices, reducing expenses, increasing sales revenue, reducing inventory volume, and more. Learn more in How to Increase Your Working Capital and Liquidity.
Working capital provides the cash you need to operate, so staying on top of it is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business. Collect payments as quickly as possible to keep cash flow positive. Avoid using working capital to finance fixed assets like equipment; deploy short or long-term financing here, instead. Don’t be afraid to borrow to invest in your business, and make sure you’re maximizing the value of your accounts receivable by using a tool like invoice factoring to convert working capital to free cash flow as needed.
Cash flow is the measurement of net cash and cash equivalents flowing in and out of your business over a specific period of time. Cash flow tells management, investors, and others whether your company is able to pay its current liabilities. It’s an important determinant of your company’s financial health.
Invoice factoring is an effective, inexpensive method of improving liquidity by speeding up your invoice collection cycle and putting money you’ve already earned to work for you sooner. It allows you to purchase inventory, buy equipment, make payroll, and otherwise fund critical business operations even while extending attractive credit terms to your clients. Here’s how invoice factoring works.
How’s your rich uncle doing? If (like most entrepreneurs) relying on a benevolent benefactor isn’t an option for you, you’ll need to proactively plan to keep your working capital and cash flow positive to avoid financial crises. You can learn more about cash flow management here. Then, view our pricing to see how inexpensive it is to put this innovative financial management strategy to work for your business.
Your assets are things of value that your company owns, such as cash, inventory, buildings, equipment, and investments.
You should never use as collateral that which you cannot afford to be without. If you have poor or no personal credit, some lenders may require that you use your personal or company assets as collateral. However, you will want to investigate alternative sources of funding to ensure you’ve considered all of your options.
In the worst case scenario, you could lose your asset(s) – whether it’s your home, an investment, or other property – if you default on the loan. Further, as long as that loan is in place, your ability to borrow against that asset for any other purpose is severely limited or even eliminated.
If you’re having trouble financing your small business, you’re not alone. In fact, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration has cited industry estimates that 80 percent of small business loan applications are rejected by banks. Traditional lenders typically want to see a financial track record that simply doesn’t exist for small businesses.
Cash flow is critical to small businesses, and the lack thereof is the number one reason companies fail. It’s imperative that you stay cash flow positive and put the revenue you’re earning to work for you immediately. Rather than waiting 30 or 60 days or more for clients to pay, you can use a tool like invoice factoring to advance the funds when you need them.
Absolutely! There are plenty of lenders out there who are willing to take a chance on small businesses with low or no credit, in exchange for high interest fees. Even when some of the businesses they’ve funded fail, they charge more than enough of the others to make up for it. Of course, paying unfavourable interest rates isn’t going to help you grow your business. Instead, look for alternative financing opportunities like invoice funding, which give you quicker access to revenue you’ve already earned. Read more about how invoice funding works here.
Yes, and in some cases this might be a financially wise option for you. If you had borrowed at unfavourable rates in the past, a new loan might be an option for refinancing that debt at a lower rate. However, if your business debt is the result of money owing to contractors, employees, or suppliers due to negative cash flow, you need to address the source of that cash flow issue to solve the problem.
Debt financing is a method of raising funds to operate your business by creating new debt. Companies sell bonds, bills, or notes to a lender, who is then owed the principal plus interest.
Yes. There’s a common misconception that all debt is bad, but in reality, using debt to grow your business can be a smart strategy – when done properly. Ideally, you’ll want to arrive at the most favorable terms and interest rate possible and avoid giving up ownership, control of your business, and/or losing assets in a default situation.
Innovative alternative financing options like invoice factoring can help generate the free cash flow needed to hire talent, expand your inventory, launch a new product line, or take on a new contract. In using the power of revenue you’ve already earned to drive positive cash flow, you can avoid putting your possessions or equipment up as collateral, taking on high interest loans, or selling ownership shares in your company. Here’s how invoice factoring works.
Some of the pros of debt financing are:
A few of the cons of debt financing are:
That depends on your unique circumstances. If you want to compare the overall cost of debt financing to an alternative funding solution like invoice factoring, you can:
Debt factoring is a term less commonly used to describe invoice factoring. Some people call it this because by selling your invoices to a third-party, you are essentially selling the debt owed to you.
Asset factoring is a term less commonly used to describe invoice factoring. Some people call it this because the debt owed to you by others in your accounts receivables is classified as an asset.
Accounting software can help reduce errors, redundancy, and time spent doing manual accounting. It can make your finances run more efficiently and smoothly and also help you make smarter business decisions by giving you timely, more convenient, and regular access to critical financial reports like your cash flow statement.
There are plenty of alternatives, and you will absolutely want to consider them given the loss of ownership and control that can come with angel, investor, and VC funding. See our Alternative Financing resource for more.
Definitely! Using only your own assets and sweat equity to build your business is called “bootstrapping.” Although it’s certainly more challenging, bootstrapping your business means that whatever profits you generate later belong to you alone, as you have no other investors to pay off or loans to pay back. Employing smart financial tools like invoice factoring can help you put all of your own revenue to work for you as needed, rather than turning to external sources when you need cash flow.
You can create a free FundThrough account online in just minutes and get approved within a few days for an initial invoice funding limit. As you create and send new invoices, you’ll have the option of advancing the funds directly to your bank account, typically within one business day. This method of improving your cash flow using revenue you’ve already earned allows you to fund new inventory, payroll, expanded contracts, and more, all without creating new debt.
Invoice factoring with FundThrough gives you fast access to money you’ve already earned, so you can generate working capital without taking on new debt.
It takes just minutes to complete your FundThrough application online – there’s no personal credit check, business plan submission, or pitching required. Your application is reviewed within 1 business day. Once you’ve received your approved funding limit, money is deposited in your account each time you see a need for emergency funding and decide to factor an invoice.
Invoice factoring is a great short term financing option for seasonal businesses. When you have a short window of time in which to do business each year, you can’t afford to wait 30, 60, or 90 days to get paid so you can put those funds to work. FundThrough allows you to get paid right away and pay back the factored amount over 12 weeks, so you can free up cash flow to buy supplies, pay your team, and otherwise run your business.
A small cash injection has numerous business benefits. It improves cash flow so you can purchase inventory and supplies, pay and hire talent, invest in new equipment, take on new contracts, and more.
Invoice factoring is a business financing solution used to bridge gaps in cash flow, raise funds for investing in new equipment, take on new business, hire talent, and otherwise grow your business. Rather than waiting for your invoiced clients to pay, you receive an advance on those funds and can put the money to work immediately.
With invoice discounting, your invoices are used as collateral for a loan. Invoice discounting companies typically advance only 80% of the value of your invoice(s). You pay an interest rate above prime, plus a monthly fee to maintain the loan for as long as it takes you to pay it back.
With FundThrough’s invoice factoring service, you are not accumulating new debt. Our fee structure is simple, with a single 0.5% fee and no interest charges. The repayment schedule spans 12 weeks, and you have the option of reducing the fee with early repayment.
FundThrough’s technology has revolutionized the application process for businesses, in that you don’t have to jump through the hoops you’ve probably become used to in dealing with banks and traditional lenders. You aren’t required to undergo a credit check or pitch us your business idea.
Instead, our software integrates seamlessly with your invoicing or bookkeeping software. Your FundThrough application is evaluated based on the volume and amount of your outstanding invoices, and the strength of the businesses you’re dealing with.
Absolutely. We understand that brand new businesses are the ones that need financing most and find it the most difficult to obtain! That’s why we offer funding that gives you access to revenue you’ve already earned, enabling you to put it to work right away at building your business.
Definitely. Invoice factoring solves the most dangerous issue small businesses face: gaps in cash flow. Without free cash flow, you cannot pay your suppliers, employees, contractors, rent, or other financial obligations. Invoice factoring gives you access to emergency funds as needed, and can also be used as a proactive business planning tool to help you grow your business.
You bet. In this age, why would you waste your time standing in line or begging for loans at the bank? Your FundThrough application takes just minutes to complete online, and there are no personal credit checks or other hoops to jump through.
Online invoice factoring frees up valuable revenue and time, so you can focus on doing what you do best: growing your business. Online invoice factoring is quick and painless with FundThrough; it only takes a few minutes to apply and once your funding limit is approved, you typically receive the cash in your bank account within one day of a funding request.
It takes about 3 minutes to complete your online FundThrough application and connect your account with your invoicing and banking software. It then takes 24-72 for our awesome humans to evaluate your account and set your funding limit. Each time your business needs a cash injection, you simply request that we fund an invoice for you. Those funds are deposited into your bank account within one business day.
Yes! Technology enables us to integrate with your invoicing and banking software while protecting your sensitive data, which takes the legwork out of having to fill out applications, make presentations, and otherwise spend your time and energy chasing financing. Our expert team of real humans evaluates your account to determine your funding limit, and the rest takes place online.
Absolutely. Your data security is our top priority, so we use bank-grade encryption on all of your data, whether resting or in transit. We do ongoing security scans to ensure we are protected above industry standards against all known threats and use
world class infrastructure to ensure your data is physically safe. We collect and store only the information we need to operate the service for you, and we’ll never share your data with third parties without your permission.
We recommend that you start with our Ultimate Cash Flow Guide, which connects you with a wealth of critical information and resources on cash flow. Failing to manage cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail, so this is a great place to begin laying the foundation that will help you plan for success.
A capital loan provides funds to help your company with its immediate, day-to-day operating expenses. These are typically short-term arrangements designed to provide working capital, with a short repayment period and no impact on owner equity (i.e., you are not required to take on an investor or otherwise sacrifice a portion of ownership of your business).
They can be. Working capital loans can help companies bridge gaps in cash flow, expand inventory, or purchase new equipment. In general, you want to make sure that the activities you’re financing with the loan can produce more than enough revenue to pay it back. This is where an alternative finance tool like FundThrough can reduce the risk of borrowing, as invoice factoring gives you that immediate access to funds without creating new debt. Here’s how it works.
Equipment financing can work in a number of different ways. Companies most commonly use loans to purchase new equipment and pay back the funds borrowed over a period of several months to years. However, since over 80% of small business loan applications to banks are rejected, business owners often have to turn to financial products or investors with less favorable terms and interest rates for help. They may be required to use personal assets as collateral, find a co-signer, or come up with a large down payment.
Speeding up your accounts receivable cycle with invoice factoring is an innovative way to improve cash flow and use funds you’ve already earned to finance equipment.
Banks and credit unions, angel investors, VC firms, and other private entities can all provide capital loans to small businesses.
A commercial loan is a debt obligation offered by a bank or other lender to help a company pay for major capital expenses or operating costs.
They can be, but the creation of new long-term debt should not be an owner’s first choice for financing. Commercial loans allow you to spread the cost of a large, expensive piece of equipment, for example, over several years of business operations. However, you will pay interest over the term of the loan.
Commercial loan terms often range from 5 to 20 years in duration. The amortization period is typically longer than the term, so while your commercial loan term may be 10 years, amortization could be 30.
Commercial loans are typically obtained from banks and other financial institutions. Unfortunately for small businesses, about 80% of their applications to banks are rejected, as SMBs simply lack the business history, credit record, and assets banks demand.
In the U.S., small business owners with a feasible business plan, relevant management expertise, and other requisite qualifications can apply for the 504 Loan Program offered by the SBA. It’s designed to provide funding for growth, new equipment, new facilities, and more. This type of loan cannot be used for working capital, and you can see the (rather lengthy) list of requirements here.
The Government of Canada has a similar offering called the Canada Small Business Financing Program, which you can learn about here.
Small businesses should investigate all of their alternative financing options when seeking funding.
Business loan rates often fluctuate with the prime rate. Individual rates will vary depending on your credit history, assets used as collateral, business financial history, loan terms and more.
It’s a great question, and one that small business owners often worry about. Are you going to have to use your retirement savings or even your home as collateral to get funding for your business? Those are things many people simply aren’t willing to risk. That’s why innovative cash flow tools like FundThrough’s invoice factoring are so attractive to small business owners. Advancing funds you’ve already invoiced enables you to put money you’ve already earned to work faster, speeding up your accounts receivable cycle and injecting positive cash flow into your operations. See how it works here.
Alternative business funding includes non-traditional methods of generating working and investment capital for your business.
If you’ve been rejected by the big banks, you’re not alone. It’s critical that you soldier on to raise operating capital, though; a U.S. Bank study found that 82% of business failures are due to issues with cash flow. Where can you turn for help?
Some of the alternatives to bank loans for small businesses include higher interest private lenders, angel investors and venture capitalists, SBA loans (longer term loans guaranteed by the U.S. government), grants, lines of credit, merchant cash advances, and invoice funding.
When it comes to funding your small business, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:
Consider the potential impact of creating new debt or giving up some ownership or control of your business. There’s even greater risk in putting your personal assets up as collateral. Alternative finance companies are giving small businesses more and better funding options by using technology to find efficiencies. With FundThrough’s invoice funding app, for example, you can raise capital using revenue you’ve already earned.
There are a few key differences between traditional and alternative business funding:
If you’re operating an established business with stable, steady cash flow and have great credit, you might consider a bank loan. The odds aren’t in your favour, considering that over 80% of small business loan requests are turned down by banks. Only half of applicants will receive anything at all, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and it may not be near what you need to keep your business afloat.
For short term funding, invoice factoring can’t be beat. It enables you to put cash you’ve already earned to work for your business right away, rather than waiting weeks or months to get paid. Invoice factoring also negates the need for taking on new debt, paying high interest or finance fees, or giving up an ownership stake in your business.
Absolutely, but make sure you understand all associated fees, terms and conditions, and interest. Traditionally, companies that offered invoice factoring would purchase your invoice, advance you about 80%, and go collect from your clients. There are a lot of companies out there today that operate more like payday lenders, advancing your funds but charging extremely high interest rates.
Use a reputable invoice factor like FundThrough to have invoiced funds advanced to you. You pay one simple fee: 0.5% on the amount funded, with no additional service fees or interest charges. Repayment takes place over 12 weeks, and you can reduce the fee with early repayment. Calculate the total cost of invoice funding here for free.
To calculate the cost of a bank loan, you’ll need to know the amount being borrowed, the length (term) of the loan, and the interest rate. A simple online calculator like this one offered by Bankrate.com allows you to plug in your figures and see how much a bank loan will cost.
For more complex business loans, try this online calculator that allows you to choose different interest types, additional fees, repayment schedules, etc. As you can see, business loans can get complicated–if you qualify!
Yes! Invoice funding is a smart, proactive alternative to bank loans that can help improve your cash flow and prevent cash flow gaps, finance new equipment or inventory, hire new talent and more. You don’t need to jump through the hoops of traditional lenders or worry about high interest charges and hidden fees, either. Learn more about how invoice factoring works here.
Use the calculators listed above to compare your financing options. You should also factor the following into your funding decision:
Learn more about how FundThrough works and why business owners chose invoice factoring to finance their businesses here.
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