Alternative Lending Cash Flow Solutions And Tips For Canadian Business Financing
Financing a business in Canada. A challenge? Let's just say that's an understatement when it comes to working capital, debt, and ongoing management and recognition of financial problems and opportunities. Are there some ' Golden Rules' we could follow. We here at 7 Park Avenue Financial think so so lets cover off some loans for business in Canada.
In some cases your firm might be growing too fast, and just at the time that when you are ready to either expand or take on larger orders and contracts your operating capital and business capital needs replenishing without having the funding you need to address growth challenges. Every company, small and large eventually needs more access to capital, for small and medium firms making a financing error can lead to impaired financials and even business downfall.
Firms with poor working capital typically are poorly managed and unable to meet cash flow needs, but on the other hand a constant reliance on new working capital often has the company demonstrating that it is investing all their cash to grow the business and increase return on investment.
Here is where expert advice and right choices come in, as the wrong debt must be matched to your cash inflows, and even more challenging is the fact that uncertain economic times, pandemics included making it very difficult to find business capital.
The amount of financing you need to run a business depends on how you operate it within your industry . Finance experts call that the ' operating cycle ' and it's simple, namely the amount of time it takes for a dollar to flow through your company from order to collection of the sale via your receivables. The ability to maintain positive working capital throughout that process dictates the amount and type of financing you need.
The amount of working capital a small business needs to run smoothly depends largely on the type of business, its operating cycle, and the business owners’ goals for future growth. However, while very large businesses can get by with negative working capital because of their ability to raise funds quickly, small businesses should maintain positive working capital figures. Even issues such as seasonality of a business can greatly affect cash flow needs.
Regardless of the product name, all financing solutions consist of either debt, equity, or a hybrid combination of both. Keep in mind that there are no “good” or “bad” solutions. The best solution for you depends on your specific circumstances and requirements.
One of those golden rules of business finance is to ensure that you properly match short term debt and long term debt appropriately. Each of these two has its own benefits and potential disadvantages. Is one better than the other? Not really, it’s just that it’s a case of making adjustments and staying ' in tune ' with what needs are appropriate or required at the right time.
Working capital loans , whether they be a term loan to inject permanent working capital into the business,or alternatively a short term loan, typically 12 months in duration are used to cover off short term operating needs such as payables, financing your investment in accounts receivable, salaries and wages, etc. It is improper to use shorter term working capital facilities for long term needs such as financing fixed assets/equipment, or real estate, etc,
From an understanding point of view we don't want to go too far down the textbook route in explaining working capital but it's important to simply know that its calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets on your balance sheet. Let's leave it at that.
But if there is a shortfall in that number, or the ratio is really tight you need short term liquidity financing of some sort - The good news is that more and more there are some new, creative and alternative financing options available to business owners seeking SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE. That SME " small to medium enterprise " segment in Canada is one of the largest parts of the entire Canadian economic landscape.
How to Get a Working Capital Loan
Numerous traditional and alternative lenders have the financing options you probably need to run your business. In general the same fundamental criteria apply to their level of due diligence into your business - i.e. years in business, annual revenues, is the business preparing proper financial statements that accurately reflect the state of the business, etc. Businesses that are smaller should realize that their personal financial affairs and how they are managed are viewed by the lender as a reflection of how the business finances are managed. Therefore decent credit bureau/fico scores are important.
HOW IS A WORKING CAPITAL LOAN REPAID?
In selecting a financing facility for your business you and your commercial lender should have a sense of repayment ability. Short term working capital loans are widely popular these days, in many cases online portals are used to apply, and lenders use algorithms to determine the amount of loan and repayment timing. Many business owners and their financial managers don't realize that the loans may sometimes be asked to be repaid weekly, but monthly is also common.
The loan amount for these facilities often called ' merchant advances ' is based on a formula of your annual sales, typically 10-20%, as well as factoring in your time in business. Interest rates and cost of financing tend to be some of the highest in Canada for these loans. The appeal is of course speed and flexibility of approval.
We have mentioned the need to separate short term borrowing for long term investments in your business. So for acquiring fixed assets equipment leasing and commercial mortgages are proven options to acquire assets/real estate. In some cases a firm might be looking to invest in leasehold improvements.
On' catch-all ' for financing assets, leasehold improvements, or real estate is the Government of Canada Small Business loan program, providing up to a $1,000,000.00 of financing with a government guarantee behind the majority of the loan. Seek out the services of an experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can help you acquire this loan. Key benefits are attractive interest rates, repayment flexibility, nominal personal guarantee, and financing for investments such as leaseholds that are typically harder to finance as they are intangible assets.
It is the perfect loan solution for building acquisition or modernization via leasehold improvements, as well as covering the purchase of new and used equipment. Since the largest portion of your loan is guaranteed by the Canadian government through this Industry Canada program that allows banks to lend to businesses that might not otherwise qualify for the funding they need.
So in financing a business it is really about what the finance experts call ' sources and uses ' of funds and what type of financing suits your firms specific company or industry needs.
Canadian Bank Financing
Often seen as the ' go to ' solution for general working capital, operating loan, and other financing needs the Canadian banks offer unlimited funding and flexibility for firms that qualify. The attractiveness of a bank revolving line of credit is that it is low cost and can be used only when you need to draw done funds. The banks are very focused on repayment !; so you must be able to demonstrate historical and present cash flow generation. Loans are structured to meet your business needs but borrowers quickly become aware of the more stringent credit qualification and criteria for firms to access bank financing. Those criteria include established businesses for the most part, and focus on the size of the business, quality of the balance sheet, debt to equity ratios, and personal covenants and outside collateral requirements.
The vast majority of businesses in Canada can qualify for both Factoring, as well as the related type of facility, Purchase Order Financing. Factoring financing is probably the fastest growing type of working capital financing when it comes to how to finance a business in Canada. While some call it a receivables loan it is in fact just monetizing your a/r for cash flow.
Since cash flow problems often stem out of a company's inability to collect it's receivables in a timely fashion any commercial or government-related receivable can be financed for immediate cash. At 7 Park Avenue Financial our recommend factor finance solution is ' Confidential Receivable Financing ', allowing you to bill and collect your own receivables without any intrusion by a third party.
If your firm had very good gross margins and can sustain the 1.5-2% fee associated with the financing your firm can become an ATM machine, generating cash as fast as you generate sales revenues. The flexibility and faster access to cash are the great appeal of receivables finance.
Another type of specialty finance related to your ability to take on larger orders and contracts is purchase order financing. This type of financing pays your supplier directly, allowing you to fulfill orders and contracts that might otherwise be lost to competitors for lack of working capital. Similar to factoring finance P O Financing has a higher cost but if your firm has good gross margins it allows your company to grow substantially larger without owners having to put up more equity. Alternative lending in Canada via solutions such as we have described is very much on the rise .
It certainly hasn’t escaped us that not only is it difficult when it comes to financing a business in Canada to manage internally, you of course have to stay in tune with what’s happening in the economy, your industry, and dare we say, politics! Talk about a full-time job.
A lot of your financing for loan capital of any type will probably come from external financial solutions. They might include a line of credit, bank debt, working capital term loans, receivable finance, inventory finance, equipment leasing, and monetization of tax credits. Those tax credits typically are covered under Canada's SR&ED program and if you have refundable tax credits they can be easily monetized under a SR&ED Loan facility. That accelerates the refund of your valuable investment in r&d capital.
However, you also generate cash internally, and you need to know how to measure that.
When you assess working capital or debt needs you need to be in a position to focus on cost, risk, and what that financing does to your balance sheet? All of those must be taken into consideration.
Also consider your current capital and debt structure and how your balance sheet will look after financing is completed. As an example, something to think about is that working capital and cash flow can be generated through monetization of assets - this doesn't really bring debt to the balance sheet, so you've achieved your goal without increasing debt.
On occasion it’s important to discuss any taxation impact on your financials with your accountant, as there are both positive and negative aspects to debt and tax.
If your firm is mature and operating efficiently you’re in a position to access all sorts of traditional financing. The other side of that is alternative finance, which works just as well but might be more costly on occasion - not always, but sometimes.
It's hard enough to access financing but choosing the right partner is a struggle in itself sometimes, ensuring that the funding source will be with you in tight markets and good times. Apparently, those two fluctuate over time. The 2008 worldwide debacle caused many finance firms to disappear or implode, causing havoc among thousands of businesses in Canada, whether you were a start-up or large corporation!
One solid Golden rule of business finance is to be proactive when it comes to access to debt solutions and working capital. You might even have to make the tough decision around diluting equity when there is too much debt on your balance sheet. That’s a costly one.
Another of those Golden rules is to have a solid sense or understanding of how outside forces, pandemics included, can affect your company's financial viability! If market conditions are continually volatile you clearly need to focus on longer term stable financial solutions.
WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS ?
Constantly stay on top of your cash flow planning, and consider the need for a proper business plan that accurately reflects the true growth and profit potential of your company. You might be focusing solely on growing sales, in other cases you might be going into new product lines or geographies, or investing in r&d. If you want to more clearly understand what business financing solutions are available for financing a business in Canada speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor.
7 Park Avenue Financial :
South Sheridan Executive Centre
2910 South Sheridan Way
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7 Park Avenue Financial provides value-added financing consultation for small and medium-sized businesses in the areas of cash flow, working capital, and debt financing.
Business financing for Canadian firms, specializing in working capital, cash flow, asset based financing, Equipment Leasing, franchise finance and Cdn. Tax Credit Finance. Founded 2004 - Completed in excess of 100 Million $ of financing for Canadian corporations.
Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations. He is an experienced
business financing consultant.
Prior to founding 7 Park Avenue Financial in 2004 his employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.
Stan has over 40 years of business and financing experience. He has been recognized as a credit/financial executive for three of the largest technology companies in the world; Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment and Cable & Wireless. Stan has had in-depth, hands-on experience in assessing and evaluating thousands of companies that are seeking financing and expansion. He has been instrumental in helping many companies progress through every phase of financing, mergers & acquisitions, sales and marketing and human resources. Stan has worked with startups and public corporations and has many times established the financial wherewithal of organizations before approving millions of dollars of financing facilities and instruments on behalf of his employers.
Click here for the business finance track record of 7 Park Avenue Financial
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