Thanks for dropping in for some hopefully great business info and on occasion some hopefully not too sarcastic comments on the state of Business Financing in Canada and what we are doing about it !

In 2004 I founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL. At that time I had spent all my working life, at that time - Over 30 years in Commercial credit and lending and Canadian business financing. I believe the commercial lending landscape has drastically changed in Canada. I believe a void exists for business owners and finance managers for companies, large and small who want service, creativity, and alternatives.

Every day we strive to consistently deliver business financing that you feel meets the needs of your business. If you believe as we do that financing solutions and alternatives exist for your firm we want to talk to you. Our purpose is simple: we want to deliver the best business finance solutions for your company.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is Financing Inventory and Financing Purchase Orders Actually Possible In Canada ? Yes You Can!

It's not a myth or urban legend. Financing inventory and financing purchase orders in Canada is actually possible and in most circumstances the cost of this financing is significantly offset by your firms ability to increase sales, generate additional profits, and lower competitive pressure .The bottom line is of course more larger orders and contracts, in some cases from clients you were not able to satisfy in the past based on our financial strength or other challenges.

Let's step back a bit and define some of our key metrics. In its simple form the financing of inventory is simply your ability to finance, or rather, ' margin' inventory on an ongoing basis. The inventory is of course simply the collateral. Clients talking to us about seeking specialized inventory financing are often in the position of having inventory form a large part of their current assets, in conjunction with accounts receivable of course.

So in a perfect world you go to your Canadian chartered bank and ask they to finance you inventory and free up cash flow. It’s that simple right? We can hear you already in the background, and we'll be the first to admit it’s not a perfect world. Even seasoned Canadian business owners and financial managers realize the inventory is not high on the list of bank financing in Canada, especially if you are a small or medium sized firm that does not have the bench strength to satisfy typical bank criteria which focus around everything EXCEPT inventory, i.e. ratios, covenants, external collateral, personal guarantees, etc.

For inventory financing to make sense you should realize that your inventory has to be marketable, it can’t be old, stale and slow moving. You also have to be in a position to demonstrate that your inventory turns regularly, and that you have sufficient gross margin to carry the financing costs associated with financing inventory and financing purchase orders. P.o. Financing is of course the ' kid sister ' to inventory finance, and such a facility contemplates direct payment to your suppliers by the p.o. financier , allowing you to of course satisfy supplier payment amounts and terms, while at the same time fulfilling client orders and contracts .

So if the bank is not your best bet how actually are these two asset categories financed? The reality is they are financed by specialized firms, and in the case of inventory pure play financing we encourage clients to bundle their inventory financing with a full asset based lending line of credit via a non bank private finance firm. This type of facility margins both inventory and A/R to maximum leverage, giving you in essence unlimited working capital to grow.

To qualify for financing inventory and financing purchase orders you should generally have solid management and industry experience, good accounting and reporting around your inventory, as well as the aforementioned marketable product that can be resold by the financier if a problem arises.

Speak to a trusted credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor on ensuring your understand the benefits and qualifications for this valuable financing tool and strategy.

Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

How To Finance Your Film tax credits in Canada - Cash Flow your Incentive Grant Today

Many producers, directors and owners of Canadian projects in film, television and digital animation are not aware of their potential capability to finance film tax credits and monetize those tax incentives into real cash flow, working capital, while enhancing return on equity for their projects.

Let’s examine how these credits work, who they are available to, and why Canadians and foreign owners of projects should consider the monetization of these valuable non repayable film tax incentives. Although we traditionally talk to clients around ' film ' you should never forget that both television and animation in Canada is eligible for these same incentives.

In essence you are simply taking advantage of the Canadian federal and provincial governments desire to in effect ' subsidize’ the cost of your productions. If they're offering, why aren’t you taking?!

In essence its basically about geography and content -as the two levels of Canadian government are focused on attracting employment and foreign capital to Canada - it is their belief ( and why would we even question it ) that these productions advertise Canada, bring capital spending to Canada and, probably most importantly, stimulate employment - thereby generating tax revenue . But enough of our economics lecture - let’s get down to real world basics on film tax incentives and film tax credit financing in Canada.

Owners of productions are eligible for pure non repayable grants under approximately 6 different programs based on the four genres of film, tv, animation, and the sometimes forgotten ' music’ industry .

The grants, as we mentioned are non repayable, and very generous, often approximating 30 - 40% of your production budgets in various categories. We tell clients it is essential to tie yourself to a solid entertainment accountant who focus and expertise will allow you to craft a budget that maximizes the most eligibility of your expenses. Certain categories of expenses are known as ' qualifying ‘and the include labor and actual non labour expenses. The government issues guidelines on these budgets and what qualified - you can spend 1 , 5 or ten hours looking through government literature, or, alternatively, do as we recommend, speak to a trusted, credible and experiences film tax financing consultant who can guide you through the whole process of film tax credit financing in Canada .

Film tax incentive financing can be accomplished when you have received your final approval and certificates - for example, if you are shooting or filming in Ontario you would file under what is known as the OPSTC -- The Ontario Production Services Tax Credit.

So you have filed your claim, and completed your production. Next item on the agenda - waiting! Care not to wait - then finance you claim, which essentially is the financing and discounting of your claim with the claim as the key collateral. Want an even more supercharged solution - finance your claim while you are in production and receive cash flow and working capital to enhance the overall financing plan.

Film tax credit financing in Canada - its available, its generous, use it, and, if you need to, finance your claims!


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Friday, October 29, 2010

How The Right Franchise Financing Will Successfully Solve Your Franchise Cost Challenge !

You have selected, or are selecting a Canadian franchise. You're down to those two last seemingly minor questions - how much does the franchise cost, and what franchise financing is available! Pardon our questions, but those are hardly minor points.

Franchise opportunities in Canada seem unlimited these days as the industry continues to grow and grow. A huge portion of the Canadian economy is services by franchisors and their franchisees in Canada.

There is no one method that serves all you’re financing needs for your new proposed business. However several tried and true methods of financing are utilized successfully everyday in Canada; let’s explore some of those methods and hopefully provide you with tips, strategies and tactics to successfully complete you business acquisition. In most cases you will be buying, or building a franchise with your franchisor partner, in some instances you are negotiating with an existing franchisee to purchase their business. Both of these scenarios are financed differently.

In the case of purchasing an existing franchise a more formulaic approach is available to you. The basic process involves negotiating a fair price around the business, validating the financial statements of the owner, and, more often than not, obtaining an appraisal of any of the hard assets and leaseholds of the business. The appraisal value is a key point in your overall financing strategy. We also caution business clients to take some time to ' normalize' the financial statements of the existing business. This is what even sophisticated financial analysts do when they are looking at a merger or acquisition type scenario. The process simply involves taking a look at all the costs and expenses and eliminating those that might not be relevant as you move the new business forward.

Quick example on the above: Previous owner is taking 80,000.00 out in salary; you feel you can continue with a 50k salary - that obviously allows you to put 30k of profit and cash flow back into your business assumptions. You might well want to utilize the services of a trusted, credible and experienced financial advisor who can assist you in this area if you are a non- financial type!

The most common method of financing a franchise in Canada, existing or new, is a BIL .Great says our clients, now what is that?! It’s the technical name for the Canadian governments Small Business Financing program, and it provides up to 350k in financing for your business. Sounds great, right?

The challenge our clients face is typically understanding the criteria of the program , how it works, what information and back up is required to process a financing, and what other types of financing might compliment this proven and popular strategy. (We have found equipment financing or leasing to be a great add on complement to the government loan strategy)

Franchise financing around the franchise cost should not be viewed as coming from your franchisor, they are in the business of building their empire, not financing yours! That is a common misconception among clients.

However, in the case of purchasing an existing franchise you may well want to negotiate at least a nominal (or greater if you can!) vendor take back to compliment the overall financing. It’s a great strategy that motivates you and the current franchisee to work together to continue the success of the business.

Our final point and tip around franchise cost is clearly to assess what your own investment will be in the business. Typically franchise lenders are looking to get a very reasonable owner equity or down payment on the transaction, which is of course relative to the size of the business you are buying or starting.

Speak to a trusted Canadian business financing advisor to ensure you have a clear strategy and a solid plan to finance your entrepreneurial vision.


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Thursday, October 28, 2010

3 Ways To Supercharge Access To Business Lines of Credit And Asset Loans

Canadian business financing has a new success story when it comes to business lines of credit and asset loans. Although it’s clearly been around for awhile we run into tens of clients who haven’t even heard of the solution, but boy do they know they have a business financing problem! The ' supercharger' we are referring to is an ABL; an asset based business line of credit.

Let's make sure you understand the basics first - and it’s actually quite simple. An ABL facility is a revolving line of credit, which, surprise, surprise, is typically offered by an institution other than a bank! That’s what really surprises some of our clients. These business lines of credit, or asset, or asset loans are credit facilities that support your receivables and inventory, just as they would if your firm qualified or had access to a Canadian chartered bank facility.

Can we add a little more ' supercharging' to the mix - yes we can. The Abl facility can actually include equipment and real estate which can be bundled into the facility if your firm has those assets for additional leverage. So what is happening is that you as a Canadian business owner or financial manager are using your ' asset rich' status and monetizing that into temporary working capital and cash flow. That’s a good thing.

So who in Canada is already ' supercharging' their credit facilities outside of the bank environment? Literally thousands of companies, including some of the largest corporations in Canada. We would point out though that the general lower end of this type of facility typically is 250k, but after that the sky is the limit with respect to transaction size. There is a common perception out there that this type of financing is for companies that are experiencing financial challenges - and to be fair , because the program is asset based these business lines of credit and asset loans are available to firms who are doing well, and those not doing well or experiencing dire challenges . That accessibility for corporations and industries of all types is what is fueling the asset based line of credit facility growth in Canada.

It's never a perfect world, so we advise clients to expect a higher cost of funds than that of a Canadian bank facility - but at what cost would you pay more for a facility that margined all your assets, including fixed assets and real estate. When proper value is agreed upon with your firm and the asset based lender you can actually margin and utilize cash flow on your unencumbered equipment and equity in real estate.

In summary, first, you can supercharge your working capital and cash flow via an ABL facility, which is a direct alternative to any method you are utilizing today. Secondly, your liquidity could literally double if you are in a position to monetize some of your equipment and or real estate, without taking on any additional debt! And, thirdly the facility does not exclude any type of firm from applying, so you can take advantage of Canada's newest form of financing today! , thereby accelerating your growth and profits.
Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alternatives and Tips On Working Capital Finance By Banks

Canadian business owners and financial managers seeking working capital finance by banks or other sources are generally experiencing growth in sales and profits. That’s the good news, which is of course offset by the fact that this type of success requires additional working capital.

Liquidity has become the name of the game and ' cash is king' even today never seems like a worn cliché. A recent study by the Conference Board of Canada indicated that the key worries of business owners were working capital cash flow. (Also referenced were ' regulatory issues and competition')

So you have assets... but can those assets generate workign capital finance by banks or other alternate sources.

For working capital purposes it’s all about ' current assets ' which include typically receivables and inventory. As you invest in those two assets to generate sales your working capital needs go up, and your ability to manage and turn over those assets plays a key role in the sourcing of working capital by banks, and non bank institutions.

You should not be afraid to enter into traditional or alternative working capital solutions if you have properly managed current assets - you are simply monetizing for liquidity, and that’s rarely a bad thing.

So are Canadian chartered banks the solutions to your working capital needs. Probably, possibly, maybe is our answer, meaning that if your firm is capable of meeting bank criteria for a revolving line of credit your needs typically can be met. Of more and more concern to our clients is their ability to not be able to generate sufficient financing for the sister of receivables, aka inventory.

That then takes us into an alternative for bank financing, which is the fast growing area of asset based financing, in particular asset based lines of credit. These facilities cost more, but give you total margining of the market value of your receivables, inventory, and , guess what, we'll throw in equipment and real estate if you want to temporarily margin them for working capital. And remember, your balance sheet is not taking on debt when you enter into either a bank or alternative asset based line of credit, you're simply monetizing your financials for cash flow.

The reality is that alternative methods of financing are growing more popular - yes they are more expensive, but if your firm generates sufficient margins and return on equity your ability to tap into virtually unlimited working capital can prove to be a very positive experience.

The reality of working capital finance by banks or alternative methods is always the same - you need to determine your asset turnover, there will always be times when you need a bulge in inventory and A/R to fund your growth.

Liquidity, that’s what it’s all about. Speak to a trusted, experienced and credible Canadian business financing advisor in order to ensure your traditional and alternative business financing options are first, clear, and second, available!

Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take Back Productivity With Equipment Financing Leasing in Canada

Yours customers have heard the news - you have invested in new assets to better serve their needs and demonstrate your firms long term commitment to their business. That’s a clear, however intangible, benefit of equipment financing leasing in Canada.

The ability to increase production or streamline your business processes is often served by asset acquisition - acquiring those assets via a lease financing option is clearly the smart thing to do .

Competition is heating up everywhere, locally, nationally, and of course globally. That’s why your ability to invest in new assets such as production equipment, computer technology, business equipment, etc will put you at the top of the pile when it comes to today’s highly competitive environment.

Investing is always a long term strategy, so it is necessary to finance long term assets with a finance strategy such as equipment financing leasing - you are matching the long term benefits you will achieve through the assets with a same long term financing strategy. Your accountant calls that ' matching means to your needs ' - Intuitively to you as a business owner it’s simply cash flow 101!

It clearly does not make sense to any Canadian business owner or financial manager to pay cash and deplete cash flow and working capital resources and then to only receive the benefits of that cash outlay over a longer period of time.

Many of the production assets that we see clients acquire come from either the U.S, Europe, and in some cases even Asia. The 2010 strong Canadian dollar lends itself to strong buying power based on the currency and the willingness of the foreign suppliers to make sales.

When we thing of shop floor and production equipment we think of long term assets that will have a very useful economic life - in many cases they will even hold a residual value many years ago . But then... theres computer and technology. Those assets cost a lot, depreciate quickly, and as they become more and more productive that is offset by the need to constantly upgrade - think servers, pc's, laptops. Etc. Once again, equipment financing leasing to the rescue! Your ability to upgrade, replace, or extend current leasing of technologies is enhanced by a lease financing option. And think of those cash flow advantages. We pity the poor Chief Information Officer at medium sized and larger firms that constantly must wrestle with capital expenditures in such large and constant amounts.

We all here about ' crunching the numbers ' - in leasing, with the aid of a financial calculator you can very quickly identify budgeted amounts and cash outflows. There are only 5 simple parts of an equipment lease calculation- the term of the lease, the interest rate, the value of the equipment, the end purchase option, and of course the payment . Knowing any 4 of those allows you to quickly calculate the final remaining piece of the puzzle in your budgeting scenarios.

One of the greatest financiers of all time, J P Getty is often quoted as saying - ' if it appreciates buy it, if it depreciates, lease it '. That’s the strategy you probably should adopt on every asset acquisition, and utilizing the variety of equipment financing leasing options is the common way to approach that lease versus buy decision.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor that will help you achieve and overcome your obstacles to competitive innovation.

Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Monday, October 25, 2010

How To Decide if Financing Receivables Is a Solution for Your Working Capital Funding

We call it the R R factor. And we are not talking about rest and recuperation! The R R factor will give you a sense it its time to consider whether a newer, more popular method of financing receivables is your working capital funding solution .

We're going to provide you with a quick but easy and powerful tool to determine if your cash flow challenges need to be addressed in a more positive fashion. It's the receivables to revenue ration - hence the term R R . First, take you year end balance of A/R, which is of course your uncollected sales revenue at that point in time. Then determine how many weeks of sales that represents. Calculate this ratio historically and you have a method of determining whether your cash flow and working capital requirements are changing.

So how does business address the challenge of working capital funding when it’s as challenging as ever to borrow. Many companies are assessing factoring, or financing receivables. It’s a simple process that is only made complex and difficult when you don’t understand the pricing, how it works on a daily basis, or the important need to align yourself with a partner that offers and matches your business financing needs.

The process is actually quite simple --- On a daily, weekly, or monthly basis - it’s your choice, you sell your receivables. So what happens next? Simply that the day you generate that sale you have the same day cash for those receivables. Therefore the Canadian business owner and financial manager have created a true ATM machine out of the investment the company has in accounts receivable. Readers will also begin to immediately appreciate that they have just stumbled upon the ultimate cash flow solution, because every time they sale they have instant cash. So whats the catch?

We believe there are 2 catches, and when the business owner understands and addresses them the receivable financing solution becomes much more clear and common sense.

The first ' catch ' is the cost. The typical Canadian cost of financing a receivable is 1.5- 2% / month. The firms offering the service do not call that an interest rate, they call it a discount fee. You sold something, for cash, i.e. you’re receivable, and it was discounted by 1 or 2% for that privilege. Is that expensive. Absolutely ... maybe! That is because most business owners don’t pick up on the fact that they are in effect carrying those receivables already, which is a cost that is often not intuitively calculated by the business owner. Secondly, the term ' opportunity cost ' comes in to play, because the reality is that if your firm can generate a good return on investment you can use the cash flow from your receivable financing to generate higher profits .

So why isn’t factoring or receivable financing the choice of every Canadian business for working capital funding? The reality is, and this is a surprise to many, that the largest firms in Canada utilize this financing. They simply have a stronger ability, due to their financial strength, to determine how the facility works on a daily basis, the best type of facility we recommend to customers is one in which your firm is able to bill and collect its own receivables, which is not offered by 99% of firms in the Canadian marketplace. Search out that 1% solution is what we tell our clients - at that point you will have a competitive financing vehicle for working capital and virtually unlimited cash flow growth.

Speak to a trusted and credible business financing advisor who can assist you to put together a solid working capital funding solution.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Myth Of Inventory Finance Companies

Your company carries it. You need to finance it. We're of course talking about inventory. Discussions with clients reveal a lot of misconceptions around inventory financing in Canada. Let's try and resolve some of those myths around the financing of your inventory, who the players are , who they are not ( that’s the most common myth ) and we'll also try and provide some straight forward direction on next steps in your inventory financing challenge .

The overall quality of your inventory management will play a large part in your ability to finance your products, which are a part of the current assets component of your balance sheet. You cannot overlook the importance that an inventory lender will place on your ability to report and count your products. The reality is that most firms are either carrying a ' continuous' or ' 'periodic' system of inventory control.

So here is solid tip # 1 - be aware that inventory lenders prefer a continuous type of inventory accounting, for all the obvious reasons. Essentially you are counting and monitoring inventory (with the use of software of course!) at all times. That’s a good thing when it comes to a lenders valuation on an ongoing basis and their ability to lend.

You're company is growing. Unfortunately so is your inventory! And that places a huge drain on your cash flow. The working capital cycle dictates that cash turns into inventory which turns into receivables and then we start all over... that lag can be anywhere from 60 - 120 days, sometimes longer . Never underestimate the problem that higher sales will bring to your inventory financing needs.

Clients typically are looking for inventory financing because the level of investment that you have in product and receivables drains your cash flow. As sales volumes increase your cash flow decreases based on your overall collection period of A/R and of course those inventory turns.

Your sales staff of course never wants to be in a position to tell a customer you don’t have the product they have worked so hard to sell.

Does your company have an inventory financing strategy? The majority of firms we talk to in Canada, certainly in the small and medium business sector do not have access to the inventory financing they need. Do true inventory financing companies exist in Canada? We feel that the answer is generally ' no ‘, they do not. However if your firm would consider an asset based lending scenario that in effect takes the place of inventory finance companies in Canada .

Under an asset based lending strategy your inventory is margined for what its worth, by experts who categorically know what its worth. You will enhance your ability to finance your product if you have the controls, reporting, and inventory accounting system in places that makes the inventory and asset based lender ' comfortable ‘.

Speak to a trusted, credible, and experienced business financing advisor with regards to inventory financing companies and asset based lenders who will give your product the financing it deserves!
Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Future Is Now ! Financing Your Film Tax Credit Incentives In Canada Today

As a producer, director or owner of a project for Canadian film, televison or the increasing popular area of digital animation you already know the score. Costs are up and the ability to finance your projects to full completion is as challenging as ever. Financing your film tax credit incentives under the 5 or 6 different tax credits that are available may be the solution to your problem!

We continually meet with clients who are in the same conundrum, which is namely that they are in search of that final ' gap ' that will fully complete their financing. Equity investments have been committed, some sort of debt has been arranged for a part of the project, and pre sales and distribution is being finalized. Maybe, just maybe creative financing of the tax credits available to you in Canada (these are non repayable grants of very generous dollars) will be your final piece of the puzzle.

We don’t necessarily believe that film tax credit incentives could claim they are the total solution to the entertainment industries problems, but at a time when we are just seeming to come out of the global 2008 implosion that hit every industry including yours the reality is that the Canadian tax credits are the freshest breath of air in probably the entire industry. (Many U.S. and international tax credit schemes for film are under attack).

Jeff Steele, a U.S. pundit and expert on film and film financing recently said that part of the problem is that production owners use the tax credit and the financing thereof for the cash flow to start the next project, while the current one is not yet completed - we'll leave that one for you to decide re right and wrong way to do things. We do agree with him though that the planets align in a very challenging way when you consider the global credit crunch, the only minor participation of banks in the industry, as well as the general perception of people that many players enter the financing of productions based solely around the perceived' sexiness' of the industry . Anyway...!

Not considering a film tax credit incentive financing is clearly not helping the cash flowing of your project. Tax credits in all ten Canadian provinces can be financed on a ' when completed' basis, although more and more entrepreneurs, particularly independent producers utilize accrual financing ‘, which creates a ‘cash flow as you go ' scenario, providing instant working capital to your project.

The proper financing of your production , utilizing a tax credit finance strategy should no doubt enhance your overall R O E, namely return on equity - and we can assure you those equity and mezzanine investors will feel a lot better knowing that film tax incentive finance props up your project just nicely .

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced advisor in film tax credit finance and get on the cash flow bandwagon, which we believe is where you want to be!
Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

How To Decide If Sred Financing For Your CRA SRED Is Right For Your Firm

We won’t bore you with the 4 Billion details. We are of course talking about the CRA Sred program and the billions ( around 3-4 Billion dollars annually ! ) of sred grant funds that are of course non repayable and distributed to Canadian privately owned firms on a yearly basis .

If you know the program and you know what we are talking about as a Canadian business owner or financial manager then you're ahead of the game already. The real basics are of course that the program is technically called the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program - aka SR&ED, providing those billions of dollars we talked about back to firms such as yours in the form of non-repayable grants to literally all sectors of Canadian business.

So we are focusing on your decision as a claimant to wait for your refund on your expenditures, or consider the option of financing the claim to accelerate your working capital and cash flow. We're all familiar with the cliché that size isn’t important - but in the case of your CRA Sred claim it plays a bit of a role in the overall ability to finance your claim.

We have to backtrack a bit and first of all answer one of our clients typical first questions, which is simply - is a sred financing achievable and who actually finances these claims. In Canada we are aware of one of the chartered banks that finances sred claims, we have a strong opinion that the overall financing of your claim with a bank is subject to many other bank criteria. We think you know what we are getting at, so the reality is that sred claims are financed 99% of the time by the private sector via boutique firms. Therefore we encourage readers to seek the services of a trusted and credible and experienced sred financing expert who can guide them thru the process.

So once you have found your sred partner firm in this area we again circle back to size. In general Canadian claims in excess of 250k tend to be financed more efficiently and economically for both the lender and yourself. Claims are financed as a general rule at 70% of the LTV relationship, referring of course to loan to value. So on a 250 claim you would net 70% of your combined federal and provincial claim.

You would consider financing your sr&Ed under the following conditions - as a first time or previous filer you have confidence your claim was prepared by an experienced party. You also should be in need of the cash flow (who isn’t) as sred rates are typically higher than traditional financing rates. Timing is everything and typically a sred financing can be achieved in 2-3 weeks, with the usual due diligence around your claim, the collateralizing of the claim, and any related paperwork and applications.

If your company can put the cash flow to use to retire term debt or payables, increase sales, or, dare we say, to start the R&D re investment process all over you are a strong candidate to finance your sr&Ed.
Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Friday, October 22, 2010

We Stand Corrected - Re the CYBF

We recently published two articles which referenced 15 Sources of Financing in Canadian Business Magazine . One of these sources of financing was pointed to the CYBF – The Canadian Youth Business Foundation .

To my great pleasure ( because it actually proves someone reads my ‘stuff’ ) ! I was contacted by the CEO of the Foundation .

My article glossed over the CYBF and potentially did not allow the reader to understand one or two key elements , namely that the foundation is not government related or funded ( other than its relationship with BDC ) and that ‘ youth’ as defined by the foundations is actually up to 35 years of age . So that means of course that 25 years ago I was technically still a youth which is encouraging for myself .

Anyone looking for info on the organization should check out their website of course . Please check out ours also though!

http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com !

Stan Prokop


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details

Reality Check ! Financing your Restaurant Business via a Franchise Business Loan is Possible

Congratulations! We think. So you actually really do want to open or purchase a restaurant? We always admire clients who have decided on this business decision given the amount or risk and work that is often involved. Our comments and info on financing your restaurant business pertain specifically to a franchise business loan, but to be honest being think they are 100% applicable to financing any non franchise restaurant.

First the key good news, there are a number of options available to finance a restaurant. Although it's a non financial reason, the reality is that you will be more successful in your financing if you can demonstrate previous experience in owning, managing, or working in the industry - that’s only common sense. The type of passion and your enthusiasm about your business usually transcends into one of the key positives in your lender or lenders assessing your application.

You will noticed we used the term lender or lenders... that is because in the current economic environment of 2010, where we have just come through a global recession that affected every industry it has been necessary in many cases to cobble together your financing through a number of sources .

The next question always comes very quickly from our clients - What are those sources, who is financing restaurants. Well the goods news is that the government is! What do we mean by that? Simply that one of the most popular programs out there is the federal government BIL/CSBF program which finances the majority of franchise restaurants in Canada. Who knew! The program is very attractive, and in our opinion quite frankly is the best program for financing a restaurant, franchise or non franchise, in Canada. Basic terms of the program are a lending cap of $ 350,000.00 and rates and terms in the 5-6% range currently with 5 to 7 year amortizations.

What most prospective restaurant entrepreneurs don’t realize is that the government sponsors and guarantees the program, but your friendly banker runs it. In our experience many bankers are ill equipped to process this loan, so the golden jewel in restaurant financing in Canada , in our humble opinion, is the ability to source a business financing advisor who can successfully, ( and quickly ) get you approved . Naturally as with any business financing there are some basic criteria that need to be met, but it you have got the fundamentals you are well on your way to financing your restaurant business.

The fundamentals we referred to include a responsible down payment by yourself - we call this your owner equity. You know the next question our clients ask already - 'how much down? The reality is that it depends, but we can say safely that your down payment should be commensurate with your financing loan total amount request.

Many restaurants in Canada are financed by the seller, i.e. the franchisor, or the current franchisee who is selling. What do we mean by that? Simply that if a creative structure is required the franchisor or the current owner can offer to hold a vendor take back, allowing you to replay that amount later at some agreed upon interest rate. This simply minimizes the amount you have to borrow and qualify for.

Other methods of financing your restaurant include lease equipment financing for all or a portion of the hard assets. This type of financing is easier to get approved, as it primarily focuses on the hard assets being financing. Again, this also has the ability to lower the amount you need to finance from bank perspective.

Restaurant owners love the ' bottom line' which hopefully is profit. Our bottom line in our information is simply that franchise business loans and financing your restaurant business are achievable, and you do have options. Search out an expert and get ready to open those doors to your customers after you have successfully completing the financing of your restaurant venture.

Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details :

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Straight Talk On Why Asset Based Lines Of Credit Are Alternatives To Debt Financing

Canadian business owners and financial managers continue to hear about newer forms of business financing in Canada, particularly asset based finance, and even more particularly an asset based line of credit facility.

Clients always ask us the same thing, is this a form of debt financing, and exactly what is the difference between this and a Canadian chartered bank facility . Let’s examine those questions more closely.

In general asset based finance is a broad term which in fact could refer to a number of things, We have the same problem with other terms such as working capital and cash flow, they seem to be 'catch all 'phrases for a number of types of business financing, and to make things more complicated they infer different things to different people.

So let’s be clear, using asset based lines of credit jargon we are talking about a business line of credit that a Canadian chartered bank offers, and comparing it to the new kid in town, as asset based line of credit via an independent commercial finance company.

When you firm originates an asset based credit facility you are in effect using the liquidity in your current assets ( typically those are receivables and inventory ) and in some cases pulling some liquidity out of fixed assets such as equipment and real estate . Yes, you can access cash flow on a revolving basis out of your equipment and land if in fact they are unencumbered.

We still probably have most business owners confused a bit, because they are asking themselves right now that this seems exactly what my bank does (or that you would like them to do).

So here’s the difference, asset based lenders are high specialized, they, unlike many bankers who are generalists are high focused on the actual true underlying value of your assets on an ongoing basis. By ongoing we mean daily, weekly, monthly, not long term. In the old days ( and boy do we wish the old days were here in business financing ) you met with your banker quarterly or yearly, reviewed your financials , re set the credit line, and off you went to grow, prosper and succeed.

However business banking has changed in Canada and it has become more challenging to access the cash flow and working capital you need on a daily basis. Banks are regulated by provincial and federal governments around their capital bases, what they can lend on, and are subject to concentration issues. By that we mean that a bank could not choose to lend all its capital to one industry such as autos, etc.

So the key differentiator in asset based lines of credit is simply that you are working with a company that is most often not regulated, and is staffed by specialist who has a strong handle on your asset base. That's where the good news kicks in, because you can access sometimes up to 50 -100% more in revolving credit facilities because the advances against receivables, inventory (yes inventory!) and other assets are maximized to the hilt. In essence you are working with an asset based finance lender that can provide you with maximum cash flow and work with you to give you strong insights into asset turnover and help you through special situations. And remember, this is not debt financing via term loans or additional debt on your balance sheet, you are simply monetizing your liquid assets to the maximum .

So there’s the main difference , and if this type of financing for your business seems to make sense speak to a trusted , credible and experienced business financing advisor to guide you through the next evolution in Canadian business financing .


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Mom Didn’t Teach You About Working Capital Business Financing

If you're like most of us Mom never really gave us a lot of advice on working capital! That's why for such an important business financing subject we recently wrote on an older article in Canadian Business magazine that covered a total of 15 - yes that’s 15 ways) to finance your business . Perhaps these were the secrets of the Holy Grail that Mom never taught us, we thought?

The reality was that we had some strong comments and additional information on those 15 items, and we commented on 7 of them in the last article. Let's cover off those final items and hopefully get some real value on what Mom never told us about these things!

Under the category of ' government programs' the article talked about various federal and provincial programs or initiatives for business financing. Mentioned was the Community Futures program as well as the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. These are very narrow and segmented programs, in the case of the Youth Foundation, guess what, you have to be a youth, which hardly suits most business owner’s .Community Futures programs have tended to be rural in nature, have ad minimal funding allocated to them, and seem to have focused primarily on start ups that might generate employment.

Secondly, Mezzanine debt was referenced. This is of course essentially an unsecured cash f low loan provided by private finance firms. In many cases it focuses solely on cash flow as the repayment vehicle. The bad news on mezzanine debt is that it typically is available for transactions in excess of 5 Million dollars, which certainly doesn’t work for most small and medium business owner’s .For the record mezzanine financing rates are in the low to mid teens.

Private equity was out third source of capital. Typically these funds are provided by niche Canadian and U.S. private firms who focus on equity and convertible financing instruments that force the business owner to give up partial ownership .This isn't necessarily a bad thing if you get the working capital and business financing that you need, but you should absolutely be prepared to give up some ownership on these transactions, which are often quite substantial and take several months, if not longer, to complete.

Hey, let’s go public and have access to unlimited sources of capital. That’s the typical pitch made to Canadian corporations who consider this type of financing. The reality is that a true IPO listing on the TSX or Venture exchange in Canada requires a significant capitalization and track record. Ownership becomes diluted, and companies are forced into very strong levels of reporting and disclosure. Many of our clients have ' gone public' via reverse take overs of shell companies that had a listing, we have never seen this work satisfactorily, at least from a viewpoint of giving them unlimited working capital.

The Canadian Business article focused on the federal SRED program. Finally! A good one! An absolutely great program that provides billions of Dollars of capital for any firm in Canada that qualifies for research spending and adheres to the program guidelines. Sred claims can also be financed, similar to a receivable, as soon as they are filed, that supercharges the program even more from a working capital perspective.

VC money is often bandied about and sought by many corporations. Venture capital in Canada is struggling in the 2010 environment, any fundings seem to be going to firms that have been previously funded, and are getting additional capital (to stay alive?). Any Venture capital firm expects a high rate of return relative to the risk they are taking in financing your firm on an equity basis - in fact traditionally , as the article stated, the venture capitalists are looking for a 5 times return . Unfortunately for many Canadian business owners these types of fundings go to the sexier industry segments such as biotechnology, high tech, etc.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully we haven’t sounded too negative, but the general trend clearly are that the ‘ 15 ‘ options outlined in the original C B article clearly need to be grounded in a bit more reality for the average Canadian business owner and financial manager seeking capital . Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced business financing advisor who can provide you with an up to date realistic alternative on business funding.

Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What You Must Know About A Lease Vs Buy Business Finance Decision For An Equipment Lease

Business owners and financial managers in business finance are always faced with the same decision in acquiring an equipment lease, namely should we buy or lease. Technically this is referred to in the finance books as the infamous ' lease vs. buy 'decision.

Let's examine some of the key points and facts you need to consider in that decision. Naturally the good news is that an equipment lease can be used to acquire almost any type of equipment or asset - that includes equipment, machinery, buildings, etc. More often than not it pays to seek a business financing advisor who is well versed in the benefits and nuances of equipment finance.

Working capital and cash flow tend to be the main drivers of the lease vs. buy decision when we talk to clients. It goes without saying that most Canadian leasing companies probably have a lower cost of capital then your firm based on their borrowing capacity and the way they are funded. Therefore that lower cost of capital becomes a positive advantage in the lease vs. buy decision.

In many cases the lease vs. buy decision will be very close and the actual non financial benefits of an equipment lease will drive your final decision. For example, although you might be in a position to construct a favorable buy versus leasing model you might not want to use business lines of credit to access the cash needed to acquire the asset.

Also one of the key tenets of finance is that you should use long term funds to fund long term assets - that just makes common sense. Simply speaking you don’t want to purchase an asset as opposed to l easing it and find out you might not be able to make payroll on Friday because your line of credit is maxed out!

As we said, some of the pure mechanical decisions around the lease vs. buy tool (there are numerous on line calculators which are references as lease vs. purchase analysis tool) can often be over ridden in your analysis by non financial considerations. For example, let’s say you clearly don’t want to keep the asset at the end of the term of its useful economic life. That’s where an equipment lease makes total sense, as it gives you the ability to return, extend, or even purchase the asset if in fact you end up deciding to purchase and keep it if your circumstances change.

Business owners might want to consider talking to their accountant or a business financing advisor on larger capital asset acquisitions. Some of the inputs required in the lease versus buy model include items such as the actual interest rate the lease company is charging you, your tax rate, the projected increase in profit via use of the asset, the depreciation expense you can take on the asset and your overall cost of capital which is calculated by analyzing your debt and equity in the business. Whew!! That’s some fancy accounting and it can best be left to your accountant or advisor on larger asset financing acquisitions. However the good news is that a simple computer spreadsheet handles all this for us nicely!

In summary the leasing versus buy tool in business finance can be a great asset in your financing decisions for new assets. Adopt Warren Buffets key approach, which is simply to determine if the asset financing opportunity delivers a solid return on equity for your business.

Yes our tool we outlined is important, but at the end of the day use business common sense to analyze the equipment lease opportunity and blend it into your overall business financing strategy .


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Has Your Company Overlooked the business financing of receivables or Factoring as a Working Capital strategy?

Have you forgotten something? Perhaps it is just a case of overlooking or not knowing all your alternatives in business financing for working capital. Factoring receivables for cash flow is just one of those strategies that you may have missed, not heard about, or not fully understood or investigated.

Let's do a basic ' primer' on this somewhat unknown or mis-understood form of business financing. Many Canadian business owners or financial managers mistake factoring or the selling of your receivables as a ' loan '. That is not the case, it’s simply the case of monetizing or cash flowing your probably largest current asset, your receivables, and paying a financing charge, or discount fee for the service

In general approximately 90% of the value of an invoice is advance to you pretty well the same day that you issue your invoice. Your normal obligation is to provide some sort of proof of delivery or acceptance of that invoice related to your goods and services.

We're of the opinion that factoring receivables seems to be viewed as a small business financing tactic , but we can assure readers that some of the largest corporations in Canada utilize the tactic also - in some cases its simply jazzed up with a fancier name such as ' securitization' or financing via 'asset backed commercial paper ' , etc. So the big boys are doing it also! Don't forget that.

When clients talk about moving forward on this type of business financing the largest challenges seems to simply be their ability to understand pricing, pick the right firm to work with, and finally, to ensure that the daily flow of paperwork around this type of business financing makes sense . If the wrong factor partner is selected there are countless stories out there of firms who have experience a negative level of customer intrusion around the whole factoring receivables process. So choose your partner well, and probably the best info or advice we share in this regard is to seek the services of a trusted, experienced and credible business financing advisor who can steer you towards financing and cash flow success.

A common question related to our 'primer' on factoring (also called invoice discounting or receivable financing) is: ' Do we qualify '. The short and positive answer is absolutely, if you have receivables you qualify, that's what this form of business financing is about.

Many business owners or their financial manager’s struggle with the cost of this type of financing which typically is in the 1- 2.5% range in Canada. The bottom line on the costs is simply that they will vary relative to the size of your receivables, the perceived credit quality, and the type of firm you contract with in this regard. That’s where the help of a Canadian business financing expert can help you immensely. In fact more often than not that expert can demonstrate how you can significantly reduce the cost of financing receivables to almost zero in some cases, but certainly a reasonable amount in most situations.
So whats our primer summary on receivables and business financing via factoring. It’s simply that if you’re reading this you probably have a business financing challenge. A/R financing is a method to eliminate that challenge. Working hard on your financing is commendable; working smart on your financing with an expert is a must. Investigate the solution that will bring cash to your firm’s door tomorrow.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How Film Financiers Can Monetize and Cash Flow Your Film tax incentive

Everyone else seems to know about them and are taking advantage of them, so why aren’t you? We are of course referring to the film tax incentive for film financiers in Canada.

There isn’t a day when we don’t read about film tax credits in the U.S. being under consideration for downsizing, or in some cases total elimination. That seems to be the trend in the U.K. also. So whats the good news? Welcome to Canada! The Canadian government has not only stepped up to the bar to maintain the credits and decry their benefits, they in fact have enhanced the credits for additional significant increases, primarily in the production credit area as well as digital animation.

We strongly feel that without the film tax credit incentive many productions info fact would not get made or completed, certainly those that are independent in nature, and non studio affiliated come to mind . Hollywood North is of course the generic industry term for the film, televison and digital animation industry. This typically seems to refer to projects being filmed or produced in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. But to show you how powerful the tax credits area, producers, owners and director can actually enhance their budgets by filming and production projects outside of these major centres - and, guess what, at that point the tax credits actually increase.

Film financiers and the industry in general seem to strong recognize the film tax incentives. It’s not hard to see the popularity of these tax credits, given that budgets seem to be increasing, and access to capital was somewhat demolished in the 2008-2009 global recessions which hit every industry, not just entertainment of course.

Project owners always have the same challenge; we are referring primarily to independent productions, not major studios which have much more access to capital. The challenge is always the same, raise some equity , work hard to ' sell' or ' pitch' your projects to distribution and pre sale entities, and then wrestle down that final gap via bank and tax credit financing .

The monetizing or cash flowing of your film tax incentive credit can be a key part in the successful financing and completion of your project. In Canada the production tax credits in the past primarily focused on the labour component, but now all sorts of other eligible expenses can be claimed. This only means one thing, a larger tax credit, and more working capital if you monetize of cash flow your credit.

In Canada your film tax incentive credit can be financed either on final certification or completion. However, if you have a credible project with a solid finance plan and a track record you can actually obtain accrual financing to significantly cash flow your project during production. Most conservative finance people would suggest your use the cash on your tax credit to successfully complete your production, more aggressive owners of projects often use the funds to start the next great project t - that’s your call .

Successfully cash flowing and monetizing your tax credit enhances the overall potential return on investment in your project. Speak to a trusted , credible and experienced film tax credit financing advisor to help recoup and enhance the investment and ultimate 's 'saleability ' of your project .

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not Considering Sred Tax Credit Financing Could Be Costly

Canadian business owners know that the SR&ED program in Canada is a huge benefit, and an incentive to the funds that Canadian firms commit to research and development - we haven’t met one firm yet who doesn’t think it’s a great program.

But are you missing out one on aspect related to ' SRED ‘, which is that you are able to implement sred tax credit financing that in effect supercharges your non repayable tax grant . Simply speaking your ability to monetize or cash flow you sr&Ed claim remarkably enhances your overall business financing.

THE SR&ED program (Scientific Research & Experimental Development) reimburses your for your R&D expenses - you know that already. So at this point a compelling choice emerges - you have the option of waiting for your cheque from Ottawa and the Provinces (you are perhaps familiar with the saying ' the cheque is in the mail’!) or you can facilitate a SRED loan to obtain your cash today.

Many younger , emerging or start up firms that we have worked with count on the cash from their SRED grant as one of the largest receivables or cash injections they will receive at one time during the year . That’s a lot of money to most firms. Actually the government statistics show that anywhere from 2-4 Billion dollars in any year go out to firms such as yours in the form of non repayable sred grants.

So how does sred tax credit financing work? Asks clients? Is it complicated, time consuming, what else is involved? Those are all perfectly legitimate questions.

We'll provide a very basic overview of the sred tax credit financing process. First things first - you need a sred claim completed and filed. In certain circumstances financing can also be done prior to filing your claim, but for simplicity sake we will focus on your claim having been filed.

If your claim has been prepared by a sred consultant with experience and reputations that plays a great factor in your sred loan approval. As you can imagine the actual sred claim it is the collateral for the loan, so we want to ensure your calim has a very significant chance of being approved. We hate to say it but it is rare that a business owner or your accountant can prepare a proper claim, simply because as in all fields of business an expert is preferred.

For the actual financing of the claim it also doesn’t hurt to work with a sred tax credit financing expert. He of she will enhance the speed of your funding, which involves simply a basic standard business financing application as well as review of the claim as we have stated. Funding is not for 100% of the claim, a very typical amount is 70%, and the other 30% is more or less to be viewed as a buffer. You can expect the whole process to take a couple weeks, which certainly isn’t bad, and if you focus on working with a sred financing expert you should have minimal delays, if any.

In summary, if the Canadian government is allocating billions to firms such as yours, clearly having cash is better than waiting for cash - consider monetizing your claim today and stay one step ahead of your competition that are still waiting for that cheque. Remember, as we said, it’s in the mail!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Entering Into a Franchise Financing Loan

Many Canadian would be entrepreneurs and business owners find that financing a franchise is often as challenging (if not more so) than the process and work and due diligence in selecting the right business to purchase.

Lets share some hands on, ‘real world’ advice and tips on franchise finance in Canada. Fantasy might often work for you, but NOT in business financing!

Business financing is a challenge on any level, major corporations wrestle with it everyday, and you are wrestling with it as you contemplate your new business venture. Naturally all our comments and advice relate to both a new franchise or your purchase of an existing business that is being sold by a franchisee .

A lot of franchises would do well to understand how the franchise industry is regulated in Canada and what types of disclosure and protection are in place for both you, and, to be fair, the franchisor. Those rights and obligations you have are under something called the ‘Arthur Wishart Act’ if you are in Ontario - other provinces have similar legislation. We strongly recommend that you look at the Act, and quite frankly your lawyer might be the best one to do this.

Clients always ask us what rate they might be expected to pay on a franchise finance loan in Canada. We are very clear on that, and the answer is ’ it depends ’! Would a rate in the 5-6% range sound good to you. We certainly think it does given you are a small business and in many cases viewed as a ‘start up ’, notwithstanding your franchisors depth and reputation. That interest rate is available to you through a loan technically known as the BIL loan, also called the CSBF loan. Lay people call it the government Small Business Loan, and it is categorically the way in which a majority of the franchises in Canada are financed. Speak to trusted, credible an experienced advisor in this area of franchise finance who can successfully complete this financing for you.

Is a BIL franchise loan the only way to finance a franchise? Definitely not, other alternatives include a cash term loan, equipment financing for any hard assets in the business, and the final piece of the puzzle, which is your own owner equity or cash investment into the business. All business is financed by borrowing (debt) plus the owner equity contribution.

Can you get a franchise finance loan without any personal guarantees - the quick tip and answer is ’ no ‘, we don’t think so, but we also point out to clients the aforementioned BIL loan requires only a 25% personal guarantee.

Clients always ask if a franchise can be financed with no down payment - here’s our quick tip on that - No, absolutely not. Whether you are financing a pizza franchise or building a car mfg plant any lender in North America will look to some owner financial involvement in the project. The balance act becomes how much, as there are pros and cons of putting down too much or too little equity.

Can you purchase a franchise without some thought around a business plan - we don’t think so, and info act the best tip we can give you is to do a business plan, and if you aren’t preparing it personally at least stay involved in the input and the process. It will steer you towards a common sense level of financial success in your business.

Prospective franchisees are always asking if an appraisal is required. Generally it is, but the biggest tip we can give you in this area is that the modest cost of an appraisal can actually be the largest financial benefit to your franchise financing, as it has the ability to increase lender confidence and lower your estimated personal financial commitment to the business.

Franchise finance has many small twists and turns along your process - investigate financing options thoroughly and our tips should help you to minimize personal risk and maximize the financing of your business.


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reinventing Your Business Funding with Asset Based Lending Companies

Asset based lending companies have come a long way baby! Seriously though, business funding has dramatically changed in Canada - it was always a challenge - 2008 Global implosion happened, and guess what, business financing is more challenging than ever. Every Canadian business owner and financial manager for companies of all size and industry knows that.

We're all heard that when the going gets tough the tough get ... well you know what we mean. So business financing via asset based lending was slowly becoming more popular in Canada (It’s huge in the United States) and has become, can we say ' ultra popular' in our current time.

Asset based lending as new as it is in Canada certainly can't really be called ' innovative '- it simply focuses on, guess what ' assets '! It is essentially a great financing solution for companies that are normal, distressed, leveraged, experiencing high growth, etc.

The problem we have with the term asset based lending or asset based finance is simply that it is a bit of a catch all when it comes to being used or explained to business owners. We define this type of business funding as revolving lines of credit based on asset quality, receivable discounting, inventory and trade financing, which sometimes can actually include purchase orders or contracts.

The reality is that this type of financing can be customized to every industry for companies of all size, although typically we tell clients that the facility works best on transactions of 250k+.

Asset based lending companies can help you manage and grow your business, with the focus on ' grow’,

The biggest mis understanding around asset based lending is that typically it is not done via a bank; it is managed through private independent finance firms that are very experienced in asset valuation and funding. Their experience allows them to take a look at your financeable assets and maximize what is known as an ongoing ' borrowing base' for those assets. Typically we are talking about receivables, inventory, equipment, and as we noted, in some cases purchase orders and contracts.

The benefits of working with asset based lending companies are that it is a fast, innovative method of financing your company that is not focused around the requirements that a Canadian chartered bank would typically impose. We can honestly tell clients we have never seen an asset based line of credit not deliver on significantly more financing that the customer would have ever achieved with a bank revolver.

So what’s the bottom line - simply that by investigating this method of business funding you potentially have the ability to enhance your overall business financing for growth and success. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced business financing advisor who can put you on track to better business financing! That’s a good thing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Working Capital Financing Ideas You Hadn’t Even Thought Of !

An old article in Canadian Business caught our eye as it focused on Canadian business financing and was entitled ' Beyond the Banks ‘. With all due respect to the good folks at Canadian Business Magazine we have some strong comments and additional info on the 15 (yes, that's 15!) suggestions they had on business financing in Canada. Working capital financing and business financing in Canada is always a challenge; today it’s more challenging than ever.

Let's cover off some of the business financing info that was shared and hopefully we can provide you with an update and some insightful comments into what is working and what is not from a business financing perspective . We'll focus in this article on the first 7 of the 15 business financing scenarios referenced in the Canadian Business article.

Angel Financing - We have rarely met clients who have successfully arranged angel financing - at the end of the day this is simply equity and ownership dilution and is often solely focused on high growth scenarios, which may or may not include your firm . The concept of another owner or board member within your company may not be palatable.

The article spoke of ABL - asset based lending - we firmly believe this is one of the best ways in which to achieve unlimited working capital Vis a Vis your growth prospects. Investigate asset based lines of credit, they are viable and they work.

Bridge Financing was also touched on as a working capital solution and it referenced ' premiums' rates and seemed to infer that you only used bridge financing when you are in distress or hyper growth. Again we disagree as a bridge financing solution has proven very successful for many of our clients who are start up in nature or who have significant projects that require a short term injection of temporary working capital.

The Canadian Business article also referred to the governments Crown corporation bank as a solution provide of innovative lending programs. Actually these programs essentially boil down into working capital term loans at fixed rates and Equipment financing.

The magazine also referred to buy out funds, and referenced a global investment in 2004 of 25 Billion. That is little consolation for small and medium sized firms in Canada who require business financing often available only to ' the big boys' via private equity and buyout funds. This really is, in our opinion, a small sector of the market and very UN - apropos from most of Canadian business.

We heartily agree with the magazine when they referenced the Canada Small Business Financing program - the acronyms for this program vary, and they include BIL, CSBF, and ' SBL ‘. We believe strongly, and are always advising clients, that this is by far the best program for business financing of assets and real estate and property in Canada. Investigate this program, take advantage of it if you can, it does not get any better!

The final reference in the magazine that we will cover off and comment on is the concept of 'Factoring '. Virtually unheard of some year ago it is fast becoming the hottest method of financing working capital in Canada. Complexity in this form of financing comes in the form of how it works, what it costs, and selecting the right partner firm that matches your overall needs.

We strongly believe that the majority of firms in Canada currently don’t have a handle of their business financing options. We can of course forgive business owners and financial managers as they are caught up in the day to day running of their businesses and the financial challenges that come with that.

When addressing working capital challenges look for options that will help you speed up asset conversion - speak to a trusted, credible and experienced business financing advisor who will steer you down the right road to business financing success.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top 4 Most Overlooked Benefits of leasing of equipment as a Business Finance Strategy

Most Canadian owners and business managers wouldn’t think of always paying cash for equipment and other capital acquisition needs. They also can’t imagine, in the current economic climate, paying cash for everything. Whether you are in an industry that is highly capital intensive, or if you simply on occasion need to upgrade or purchase new equipment the leasing of equipment should be considered as an effective overall financing strategy for your company

Naturally no form of business financing in Canada could be considered perfect and meet absolutely every one of your needs, but let’s examine what are considered to be normally the top four benefits of equipment leasing. Naturally you want to ensure you are dealing with the right type of lease firm and you have also carefully examined your rights and obligations under the business lease.

Anyway, benefit 1. Flexibility. The reality is that working with the right lease partner firm should provide you with the flexibility you want in your transaction. Flexibility is of course a broad term, but we are basically referring to the type of lease that works best - for your firm! Not everyone else’s. That flexibility comes in the form of low or no down payment, monthly payment structuring options ( here are possibilities abound!) , balance sheet optics around the amount of debt you can carry without getting your bank offside . Flexibility also comes in the form of the ability to return the equipment or extend the lease for a pre agreed period of time.

Benefit # 2 might well be called Cost efficient. The last thing you want to be doing is getting your firm locked into a long term lease on a depreciating asset - and the reason you lease financed the equipment in the first place is that you as a Canadian business owner and financial manager recognize that the equipment ultimately will probably have no value after its economic life is completed.

If the business world was slow moving and predicable you would never have to worry about competition, changing technology, etc- however things don’t work that way and as your needs change over time you can using equipment financing as the tool to address those needs .

Benefit 3- Tax benefits! We hate getting into long accounting and financial statement dissertations when we are lease financing info with clients, but the reality is that leasing of equipment as a business finance strategy has accounting and tax benefits re write off strategies around your payments .

Our final focused major benefit is simply Cash flow conservation. It's tough enough in today’s business environment to achieve positive working capital and cash flow for daily and long term needs. Utilizing lease financing as a tool to minimize cash outlay and reduced down payment requirements makes total sense. Choosing an off balance sheet operating lease strategy will also ensure your ratios and debt covenants stay intact.

In summary, as we stated, no overall business financing strategy works perfectly for all companies in all industries. But leasing of equipment has significant benefits that clearly outweigh other options such as purchasing for cash, entering into long term loans, etc.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced lease financing advisor to ensure you can take advantages of the 4 key benefits we outlined.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What is the Factor Cost Of Factoring Accounts Receivable?

Canadian business owners and financials managers who are considering financing accounts receivable often ask us how they can calculate , or moreso, understand the factor cost of factoring accounts receivable .

There are a whole bunch of factors ( excuse the pun ) that seem to be coming together to make the financing of accounts receivable a high growth , popular, and accepted method of business financing in Canada . The reality is that even just a few years ago most business owners did not even realize that they could sell their accounts receivable to a private non bank firm, gaining valuable working capital, i.e. cash flow! in the process .

Business is being driven to this method of Canadian business financing out of a very basic need - meet payrolls, make fixed term obligations, and purchase products and services. And when your customers make you wait, 30, 60, and unfortunately 90 days for your funds all of a sudden factoring, also known as invoice discounting and receivable financing becomes very popular. Not hard to understand.

Business owners want to know more about factoring and receivable financing simply because they recognize that cash flow challenges hinder them from growing, and yes, even surviving. And, we are sorry to say, many clients simply can’t get the bank financing they need to fund and grow their business - that isn't necessarily a condemnation of Canadian chartered banks, it’s a case of individual financing challenges within the current credit crunch and global economic challenges.

So, let’s cover off what you need and want to know about factor cost and the true way in which you should be looking at the pricing around factoring accounts receivable in Canada.

There are three; lets call them ' drivers ' in the pricing process of financing your receivables. Those three drivers are the time in which it takes for your invoice to be paid, and we mean right down to the day. Secondly the factor firm calls their pricing a ' discount ' - so the actual discount rate they quote you becomes critical in your knowledge of understanding your true cost of financing A/R. And finally, to keep things simple we often explain to clients in initial discussion that they receive immediate cash for their receivables once they finance them, i.e. same day cash.

However the reality is that the industry advances a (significant) portion of your receivable le, the rest is a hold back. Typically this portion is 90%, but many firms calculate total financing not just on the holdback but the invoice amount.

When do I get the holdback? Ask clients. The answer is that they receive the holdback as soon as the actual invoice is paid.

We thing its clear that the discount rate, of the three key drivers we have mentioned is the most focused on by clients. Because the commercial receivable financing industry is not regulated firms charge what markets will bear.

In summary, understanding the returns of your commercial factor firm will better assist you in determining if this overall receivable financing strategy is for you. Speak to a trusted, credible and experience Canadian business financing advisor to better understand the benefits of this growing method of financing your company.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How To Finance Your Business With a SR ED SRED Tax Credit Secured Loan

Can you actually finance your Canadian business via the monetizing of a sred tax credit secured loan? Absolutely, positively... maybe. We say maybe because if you don’t have a SR&ED tax credit then it is of course not possible. However, if you participate in Canada's primary R&D tax credit program then you're potentially on your way to increased cash flow and working capital.

Recent articles in the Canadian business press have criticized the need for the government to even further increase these tax credits. Typically most Canadian business owners and financial managers think that the sred tax credit applies only to manufacturing, which is the farthest thing from the truth. A recent article in the Globe and Mail , one of Canada's premier business publications, stated clearly that firms in the resource, services and technology sector also participate vigorously in the program .

If your firm in fact innovates and spends money on R&D the last thing you can be criticized for is under investing in your future. Therefore monetizing your tax credit after it is filed (it can also be cash flowed prior to filing! in certain circumstances) makes great financial sense.

Is monetizing your tax flow credit risky in any sense of the word? Our clients hardly think so, as you are simply ' cash flowing ‘, or ' discounting' your claim today , and you are not even adding debt to your balance sheet . Think of the sred credit as a current asset, in fact it’s a receivable, and you are simply collateralizing a bridge loan against your sr&Ed claim.

SR&ED tax credits are more often than not prepared by an external consultant, although some firms choose to prepare the claim itself - we suspect it's because they think that they have a better handle on the nature of the claim. The reality is however that you gain an additional ' brownie point ' - if we can call it that by having the claim prepared by a professional sred consultant. Many firms in Canada aren’t aware that these consultants will even prepare your claim on a contingency basis - so if they are prepared to take the risk of time and expense on your claim you can quite rightly assume they feel it will be approved , as professional rarely choose to work for free!.

While the Globe and Mail survey indicated that 70% of Canadian business thought the tax credits currently in place were not as generous as they thought they should be , lets be honest and cant we agree that receiving 40-50% back of every dollar you spend on r&d isn’t that bad a start! And you if can turn your spent funds into instant cash flow by monetizing your claim doesn’t that give you a leg up on your competition . We certainly think so.

Cash for research tax credits is not a complicated process. A short overview is as follows - have your claim prepared in a manner that suits the government’s current filing process. File your calim with your tax return. Seek out a trusted, credible and experience business financing advisor who will work with you to complete a SRED financing application - it is not dissimilar to any other business financing application you have ever filled out. Include your sred claim as additional back up, as it is in effect the collateral for your sred loan. Claims can be financed in two to three weeks after some basic due diligence.

Financing sred puts you in line with other firms to get your share of the 3 Billion (yes that’s billion!) dollars of non repayable cash grants. Turning your claim into a cash infusion makes great sense if you are a small to medium sized firm with need for additional working capital.

Monetizing your claim will drive cash flow which will no doubt inspire your firm to further innovation.



Using Film Tax Incentives For Television, Animation and Film Finance in Canada

Most of the players here in Canada as well as in the U.S. seem to agree that the film, television and digital animation business has bounced back nicely in Canada. Film tax incentives in film finance (we’re of course talking about television and animation projects also) continue to play a strategic role in the challenge of cobbling together a full and successful finance package for projects.

The financing of your project seems the opposite of the glamour and dare we say it ' sexiness ' of the film and TV industry. The challenge clearly is to maximize financing while minimizing risk to investors and owners and Canadian tax credit incentives do just that. When these tax c credits are financed, or ' monetized ' they in fact supercharge the working capital and cash flow of your production.

Many parts of a project financing have what the financial analysts call ' unpredictable revenue streams ' via foreign sales, DVD sales, and of coruse the box office itself.

Why not therefore make some of those ' unpredictable' future cash flows very predictable with money from federal and provincial governments in Canada. As you are certified and approved for your projects your ability to finance the credits in the private sector simply enhances your productions chance of overall success.

Financing your tax credits in Canada essentially has you putting together a hybrid of equity, debt and tax credit financing which, done properly, allow your project to success from a financial perspective. (We won’t get into the entertainment or public acceptance merit of your projects!)

Whether you are a car manufacturer or a film producer, director, owner it’s all about ROI, return on investment. Leveraging your project from a tax credit incentive simply enhances ROI.

Canadian entertainment projects in film, TV and digital animation are very much ' blossoming ‘.
Even though the Canadian dollar has grown stronger the enhanced credits that have come into place in the last year or so simply are driving U.S. and foreign productions into Canada. Even Bollywood is looking at Canada!

Maybe Canada is a little boring and conservative when it comes to many other countries but being a stable country with a diverse filming geography and strong financial system offsets that Canadian ' boring ' personna quite well!

Single productions cannot apply for both the domestic film/tv credit and the production services tax credit - you are required to choose one or the other assuming you qualify. In many cases applications are being streamlined and even filed online in Canada.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experience film fax advisor to maximize the financing of your tax credits - they should no doubt enhance project success.


Stan Prokop - founder of 7 Park Avenue Financial - http://www.7parkavenuefinancial.com
Originating business financing for Canadian companies , specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing . In business 6 years - has completed in excess of 45 Million $$ of financing for Canadian corporations .Info re: Canadian business financing & contact details:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Is There A Better Way To Finance A Business Loan ? Consider An Asset finance strategy.

When you need asset finance and a business loan in the 2010 economic environment alternatives are great. One of those solid alternatives is an asset based lending arrangement which focuses on what counts, your assets!

As a business owner and/or financial manager you are looking for business financing that makes sense. ABL is the acronym for one of the more exciting business financing alternatives that is growing in popularity every year in Canada. Are we actually saying that asset finance via an asset based line of credit is ' exciting '? We will let you decide that, but if this financing is easier to achieve than bank financing, is cost effective, and provides you with unlimited capital... well our clients are excited... you make your own thoughts on that !

Asset based lines of credit simply are drawn down by your firm based on the value of ongoing assets. The assets that are always there are inventory, A/R, and to some degree your fixed assets that aren’t already financed. By collateralizing your assets, and, most importantly, leveraging them to the max if you need to, you are creating available working capital.

We are always explaining to clients that this leverage of assets is not taking on debt, you are not borrowing on a long term basis, and you are simply monetizing current and fixed assets based on current values. What are those values, typically they are 90-100% of receivables under 90 days, 40-75% of your inventory, and a liquidation type value on any equipment you want to temporarily monetize. Clients always ask - ' Do you mean that we can borrow, if we need to, on a temporary but ongoing basis on our fixed assets?". The answer is yes, if you are considering this type of financing strategy.

Let’s cover off the two key points clients always tend to focus on when they are investigating this unique business loan strategy- namely costs, and timelines to get the working capital facility in place.

In some ways cost is the most difficult area of explanation and investigation in an asset finance working capital facility. Putting aside the normal due diligence or commitment fee required to get a facility in place the reality is that there are a couple of key drivers that affect pricing . Asset finance revolvers can be just as competitive as a Canadian chartered bank financing (and less onerous to get approved) but prices varies all over the board in Canada because of the fragmented and specialized nature of this type of financing.

Typically we see rates as low as 9% per annum and as high as 1.5% per month. That’s a big spread and ultimately it depends on the size of the facility, the mix of your current assets, as well as any perceived industry or business risk associated with your firm. But again, we remind the reader, what price would you pay for unlimited working capital?

Typically it takes 2-4 weeks to close such a facility. In Canada as we noted the market is fragmented and these lenders are very focused, specialized, and by nature experienced in what they do, which is value your assets and finance them!

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor around asset finance as a business loan strategy if your working capital needs ' aren't working ' now!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Isn’t Working Capital Bad For Your ( Business) Health ?

We can hear our clients now! How possibly could working capital (isn’t that cash flow?) be bad for my firms financial health. Let’s talk about that.

The technical financial folks define working capital as a very basic calculation that even the non financial business owner can do - simply deduct your current liabilities from your current assets ( from your balance sheet statement) and, voila ! Congratulations, you have working capital. Hopefully that number is a positive number, because when it’s negative you're technically insolvent and that's a subject and solution for another day!

Anyway, our working capital number is positive - that’s good, right. Not necessarily, and that’s the premise of our info we share here , because if you have positive working capital your funds are tied up in receivables, inventories and pre paid items .

It is therefore very important to understand what makes up working capital, how you can monetize or cash flow it, and most importantly, but often totally overlooked , how you can measure business capital and working capital .

The essence of measuring your working capital revolves around turnover, days sales outstanding, inventory turns, and payables days outstanding.

The good news is that you can very easily calculate and track these measurements, and we can virtually guarantee they will better assist you to understand why your investment in working capital is very much a teeter totter of good news/bad news.

Do you like to travel? Money does also, and considers how long it takes for a dollar to travel through your company. From the day you place an order, purchase product, pay for product, bill a receivable, and yes, collect that receivable that total cycle can be easily 200 days, if note more. That’s a lot of travel, so you hopefully can see our premise here that your investment in your working capital accounts is not necessarily a great thing.

Your business is composed primarily of inventory, receivables, and payables, (also fixed assets). We therefore strongly suggest to clients that they understand the turnover and overall return they are getting from these key asset accounts.

You would understand your working capital situation somewhat better if it were not for those pesky issues that you can’t control - business owners and financial managers recognize them well and run into them every day. They are sales growth and decline, your fixed costs that you have to pay and manage no matter what, and any financial distress you may be experiencing from past external factors - i.e. a bad year, etc,

The holy grail of business capital and working capital financing is when you have strong controls on internal asset turnover and at the same time you have access to external working capital via bank lines, asset based lending facility, loans, grants, etc.

We constantly remind clients that if they are turning over their working capital accounts more efficiently all the time its in effect a measure of the true success of your company - think of it, you're buying things, paying supplies on time, and customers are paying you on time and ordering more goods and services. A quick tool for measuring your progress in this area is simply to take your receivables days and inventory days, subtract your payables days outstanding, and if that number is improving , or going down you are winning the 'working capital is bad for your health' premise we have presented.

As a Canadian business owner you are both granting credit and requesting credit (customers and suppliers respectfully). Understanding business capital in this manner will allow you to finance better internally and borrow via banks, finance firms, asset based lenders, etc.

Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced business financing advisor about our ' health’ problem and what your tools and solutions might be for better business success.