The Facts of Financing

Your mother always warned, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and those words of wisdom can be applied when financing a business. There are a number of methods that can aid buyers in financing a business. Buyers must recognize their available resources such as the seller, lenders, and investors.

As a child, we’re encouraged to “dream big” and told that nothing can stop us, but ourselves. As entrepreneurial adults, this idea of dreaming big is often a part of your everyday routine, but it is inevitable that at some point you’ll come crashing down from those heights into reality. The realization that financing your particular endeavor can instantly dampen even the most impassioned enterprising individual can get you down. To put it bluntly, “Don’t let it”.

Having a reality check on the difficulty of securing financing for a business can be the first step towards making your dream an actuality. There are numerous types of financing available, some more unorthodox or obscure. If you take the time and effort to research all avenues for funding you will be rewarded.

There are two main types of financing: debt financing and equity financing. It is important to you and the success of your business that you familiarize yourself with the types of financing in order to choose, seek, and finally, obtain the right form for your needs.

Debt financing involves borrowing money that will be repaid over a certain allotted time with a set interest rate tacked on. The time of such financing can be short term or long-term. In most cases, short term financing would include repayment within one year, while long-term financing would entail repayment in a time period that exceeds one year.

An advantage of this type of financing is the fact that the lender will not gain ownership in your business. You remain in control and your only obligation to them is to make regular and timely payments. In the case of small startups, a personal guarantee is often needed to facilitate the closing of the financing deal.

Equity financing, unlike debt financing, will involve giving the financing entity a share in the business. Some business owners dislike the idea of losing any amount of control. On a positive note, this type of financing does not incur debt. This kind of freedom from debt can give a greater sense of security in starting a new business. In addition, some entrepreneurs find great value in their equity financing partners, and see their presence as an asset.

The type of financing you will choose is based largely on the needs of your business and the kind of collateral, or available assets you have to offer. A substantial amount of debt financing can lead to poor credit and a shortage of funds in the future due to an inability to apply for more financing. A business that becomes overextended, offers little collateral, and is steeped in debt is not an appealing option for many investors.

As previously mentioned, there are other more unorthodox methods of obtaining funds that can certainly prove to be beneficial to your business. Some options can be found in your own circle of friends and family. One benefit of this type of financing is obtaining the money and a silent partner who will most likely not interfere with your business. It can also eliminate some of the red tape involved with more traditional forms of financing. This does not mean you can simply use a verbal agreement or “shake on it” to signify and bind the transaction. This is still a strategic business move and you must treat it as such which means proper documentation, clear terms, and mutual understanding of those terms.

Relationships can be ruined over inept efforts with this type of financing, so value your business and the other person by treating it with professionalism, attention to detail, and respect. Don’t become the black sheep at the next family reunion over some misunderstanding or your falling behind on payments.

A few other options that are largely unknown to those who haven’t done research include unsecured loans and micro-loans. Resources such as TheSnapLoan.com or Prosper.com offer loans based on cash flow, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. Government grants are also a largely untapped resource that is made available to entrepreneurs. Simply researching the website Grants.gov can be extremely helpful in your search for funds.

Venture capital is another route that many entrepreneurs look to due to the amount of funding that can be procured. A venture capitalist will likely offer larger sums of money that can be of great assistance to your business, but they will also gain a certain portion of control and ownership. This type of funding however is usually scarce due to the assumption that many startups will inevitably fail. You will need to find someone willing to take the risk and who sees potential in your vision.

This type of person could also be found in a more palatable option known as the Angel investor. The Angel investor typically has a high net worth and like the venture capitalist, must believe in the product and the person behind the product. Their loan often converts to stock, preferred stock, or convertible bonds.

Les Brown, an author and entrepreneur, says, “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars”. This is an extremely appropriate sentiment as it encourages you to keep dreaming big and ultimately those dreams combined with perseverance and research will take you closer to where you want to be.

The following is a chart that demonstrates the normal financing options available to businesses in different stages of the business life cycle.

For more on these topics visit Dyer Consulting Group

Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.

Challenge

Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:

Centralization

By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.

Culture

Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.

Conclusion

It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.

Where Do You Get Financing For Your Small Business?

“It takes money to make money.” That saying is somewhat true. To create or expand your business empire you will need some funding to cover your expenses until your income comes in. That may take 2 months or 2 years, and it may require $200 or $200,000. The money can always be found, one way or another, but you need the right method for you.

Money comes from three sources, each with its own benefits, dangers, and costs. You will likely use two, if not all three of these types over the course of your enterprise — and you must understand each to evaluate which will work for you today, tomorrow, and 5 years from now.

#1 Method: Self Financing

When business owners have cash on hand, they typically look to their own bank account first as a simple form of financing. Self financing can be broken down two different ways, each with their own considerations. First, there are two types of self financing: lump-sum and bootstrapping. Second, self-financing can come from you, personally, or can come from your current business that finances another business, venture, service, or product line.

Lump-sum financing is when you have a fixed amount of money from the sale of a business or investment, an inheritance, personal savings, 401(k) cash-out (rarely a good idea) or other amount of cash that can be used to finance a business venture. The amount you have available is relatively fixed and can be viewed and tracked as a one-time investment.

Bootstrapping is constantly used by most small businesses, usually without conscious knowledge. Bootstrapping is where you pay for the new or expanding business through cash flow coming in from another source. The other source may be your day job, your spouse or partner’s job or business, a profitable business or product line, or passive investments (real estate, mutual funds, and bond).

Self-financing works when you need a small amount of money, when you have a large amount of money available, when you are comfortable with risk, or when you need money quickly. It also works when a profitable business can absorb investing in a new venture until the new venture takes off; assuming adequate cash flow projections and tracking has been done to ensure the new venture is not a never-ending profit leach.

#2 Method: Debt Financing

Debt financing is obtaining money that must be paid back to the lender, usually with interest. Similar to self-financing, debt financing may include both using your personal credit as well as the credit and security of the business to obtain a loan or line of credit.

Personal debt financing is readily available to most business owners. If you have a decent credit rating, you can obtain credit cards, a home equity line of credit, or a loan, without informing the bank about your business. You may obtain a loan from a family member or friend who knows about your business venture but who may not demand as rigorous standards as a formal bank.

Businesses may also obtain credit cards, lines of credit, and loans from banks and credit unions. Loans that are secured by the Small Business Administration (SBA) are available through banks providing lines of credit to small businesses that may not be able to obtain credit without the SBA guarantee. Alternative debt financing options such as Prosper.com enable individuals and businesses with lower credit ratings to obtain financing from diverse sources. But these private loans will typically be at interest rates higher than SBA loans.

#3 Method: Equity Financing

Equity financing is giving away ownership (equity) in your business, and potential future profits, in exchange for money (capital) today.

Investors can come in the form of silent partners, family, friends, or private investors who speculate in new companies. Angel Funding, wealthy individuals and groups who invest in small, high growth companies, typically buy stakes in companies for a few hundred thousand dollars. Venture Capital firms and Investment Banks typically are looking for companies where they will invest millions of dollars.

If you are planning to seek private investors, Angel Funding, Investment Banks, or Venture Capital, you will likely need more sophisticated financial reporting than is covered in this book. You will also need more lawyers and accountants.

How do you decide which type of financing to pursue?

Most likely, one type of financing is obviously not right for you now. You will probably use two or even all three types of financing for any one business, and your choice may change over the life of the business as you expand and add new ventures. You may be able to weed out certain choices because they are not available — you don’t have cash or another income source (self), you don’t have a good personal credit rating (debt), or your business has no exit plan (equity).

For each decision, you must track the benefits (Return on Investment), and the costs (interest, fees, and lost profits) of each type of financing. As your business grows, you may need to add or switch financing as prior financing methods become too expensive, are exhausted, or do not produce a sufficient return.

Financing

Financing is one of the most important functions of any enterprise. For carrying out any operation, finance is required. Thus, finance must be raised, allocated and controlled for the effective execution of any function. Finance function is superimposed on all other functions. That is, all the other functions in a business enterprise depend on the financing, and the success or failure of the firm, as such, depends on how effectively the finance function is undertaken.

Financing is an essential but distinct segment of the overall managerial function. It is closely related to various managerial functions such as production, personnel and distribution. The finance function comprises of determining and raising the necessary funds from appropriate sources, and their proper allocation and control with the aim of attaining the enterprise objective of wealth maximization. The wealth or the value of the firm is at the maximum when the return or profit is also at maximum. But with the increase in return, the risk also increases.

Financing function aims at reaching a trade-off between risk and return, and between profitability and liquidity, with the ultimate objective of maximizing the value of the firm. Some experts have defined financing as the task of providing the funds required by an enterprise on the terms most favorable to it, in light of the objectives of the business.

Money management, accounting, control and advisory are the four main functions of financing. Money management aims at ensuring that a sufficient amount of money is raised from appropriate sources at the right time and is invested in suitable projects which would increase the net returns and the value of the firm. Thus, money management consists of the raising of required funds, investing of funds and management of working capital.

Financial accounting consists of recording all business transactions and the preparation of final accounts, concerning the profit and loss accounts and the balance sheet. The profit and loss account shows the net results- either the profit earned or the loss suffered over a period. The balance sheet shows the financial position of the firm on a given time.

Financing Cash Flow Peaks And Valleys

For many businesses, financing cash flow for their business can be like riding a continuous roller coaster.

Sales are up, then they do down. Margins are good, then they flatten out. Cash flow can swing back and forth like an EKG graph of a heart attack.

So how do you go about financing cash flow for these types of businesses?

First, you need to accurately know and manage your monthly fixed costs. Regardless of what happens during the year, you need to be on top of what amount of funds will be required to cover off the recurring and scheduled operating costs that will occur whether you make a sale or not. Doing this monthly for a full twelve month cycle provides a basis for cash flow decision making.

Second, from where you are at right now, determine the amount of funds available in cash, owners outside capital that could be invested in the business, and other outside sources currently in place.

Third, project out your cash flow so that fixed costs, existing accounts payable and accounts receivable are realistically entered into the future weeks and months. If cash is always tight, make sure you do your cash flow on a weekly basis. There is too much variability over the course of a single month to project out only on a monthly basis.

Now you have a basis to assess financing your cash flow.

Financing cash flow is always going to be somewhat unique to each business due to industry, sector, business model, stage of business, business size, owner resources, and so on.

Each business must self assess its sources of financing cash flow, including but not limited to owner investment, trade or payable financing, government remittances, receivable discounts for early payment, deposits on sale, third party financing (line of credit, term loan, factoring, purchase order financing, inventory financing, asset based lending, or whatever else is relevant to you).

Ok, so now you have a cash flow bearing and a thorough understanding of your options available for financing cash flow in your specific business model.

Now what?

Now you are in a position to entertain future sales opportunities that fit into your cash flow.

Three points to clarify before we go further.

First, financing is not strictly about getting a loan from someone when your cash flow needs more money. Its a process of keeping your cash flow continuously positive at the lowest possible cost.

Second, you should only market and sell what you can cash flow. Marketers will measure the ROI of a marketing initiative. But if you can’t cash flow the business to complete the sale and collect the proceeds, there is no ROI to measure. If you have a business with fluctuating sales and margins, you can only enter into transactions that you can finance.

Third, marketing needs to focus on customers that you can sell to over and over again in order to maximize your marketing efforts and reduce the unpredictability of the annual sales cycle through regular repeat orders and sales.

Marketing works under the premise that if you are providing what the customer wants that the money side of the equation will take care of itself. In many businesses this indeed proves to be true. But in a business with fluctuating sales and margins, financing cash flow has to be another criteria built into sales and marketing activities.

Overtime, virtually any business has the potential to smooth out the peaks and valleys through a more robust marketing plan that better lines up with customer needs and the business’s financing limitations or parameters.

In addition to linking financing cash flow more closely to marketing and sales, the next most impactful action you can take is expanding your sources of financing.

Here are some potential strategies for expanding your sources for financing cash flow.

Strategy # 1: Develop strategic relationships with key suppliers that have the ability to extend greater financing in certain situations to take advantage of sales opportunities. This is accomplished with larger suppliers that 1) have the financial means to extend financing, 2) view you as a key customer and value your business, 3) have confidence in the business’s ability to forecast and manage cash flow.

Strategy # 2: Make sure where possible that your annual financial statements show a profit capable of servicing debt financing. Accountants may be good at saving you income tax dollars, but if they drive business profitability down to or close to zero through tax planning, they may also effectively destroying your ability to borrow money.

Strategy # 3: If possible, only transact with credit worthy customers. Credit worthy customers allow both the business and potential lenders to finance receivables which can increase the amount of external financing available to you.

Strategy # 4: Develop a liquidation pathway for your tangible assets. Equipment and inventory are easier to finance if lenders clearly understand how to liquidate the assets in the event of default. In some cases, businesses can get resale option agreements on certain equipment or inventory from prospective buyers assignable to a lender to be used as recourse against a lending facility for financing cash flow.

Strategy # 5: Joint venture a sales opportunity with another business to share the risk of a large sales opportunity that may be too risky for you to take on yourself.

Summary

The primary long term objective of a business with fluctuating cash flow and margins is to smooth out the peaks and valleys and create a scalable business with more of a predictable sales cycle.

This is best achieved with an approach that including the following steps.

Step #1. Micro Manage your fixed costs and cash flow and accurately project out the cash flow requirements of the business on a weekly basis.

Step #2. Take a detailed inventory of all the sources you have for financing cash flow.

Step #3. Incorporate your financing constraints into your marketing approach.

Step #4. If possible, only transact with credit worthy customers to reduce risk and increase financing options.

Step #5. Work towards expanding both your financing sources and available source limits for financing cash flow.

Business cycle stability and cash flow predictability is an evolutionary step for every business. The industries with longer sales cycles will tend to be the more difficult to tame due to a larger number of variables to manage.

A continuous focus on the process for improvement outlined will help create the desired results over time.

Business Finance – Strategic Planning

Whether you are starting up your business or expanding it you will need finance in order to do so. This is especially relevant to new businesses that are just starting up. There are numerous avenues that you can approach in order to gain this start up finance and there are many different forms of it open to you; choosing the right finance that will benefit your business most is the important thing.

There is a saying that states ‘it takes money to make money,’ this applies so much to new business ventures. For your business to become a success you will need a large amount of money to start off with that can be used to get your business set up. This money will be used to buy equipment, pay the rent on your business property, employ your staff and ensure that you have enough stock to get your business going as well as being used to pay the first few months of all your bills.

Two of the main reasons why many new businesses fail to get anywhere beyond the starting point are due to inadequate business capital and poor management skills, which is why raising money is so important in the early start-up stages of business.

Some ways in which people choose to fund their business idea is by using savings, but realistically not many of us have that sort of cash tucked away, which is why we require outside help. You could opt to borrow money from friends or family if they have the financial resources to help you or you could take out a credit card for the specific use of funding your business. All of the financial options that are open to you can be split into two sections, either debt finance or equity finance. Debt finance is classified as being money that is borrowed from varies different aspects. This is finance that is required to be paid back.

Some examples of debt finance include:

o Bank loans

o Credit cards

o Overdrafts

o Leasing

o Asset financing

All of these are the borrowing of money in one form or another and they will require monthly repayments that will have added interest. Most people however use their bank as the first call of gaining start up finance regardless of the fact they are going to end up paying more money back.

There are disadvantages and advantages of using a bank loan to fund a new business idea. However the disadvantages of having a bank loan to fund your business start up far out-weigh the advantages. The benefit of using a bank loan for business finance include being able to organise a repayment holiday meaning you only have to pay interest for a certain amount of time and you don’t have to turn over a share of your profit. The disadvantages however are that bank loans have strict terms and conditions and can cause cash flow problems if you are unable to keep up with your monthly repayments. Also bank loans are often secured against assets and you may be charged if you decide you want to repay your loan before the end of your loan term.
The other form of finance; equity finance, is often more overlooked than it should be when in fact equity finance could be just the answer that your business is looking for. The main forms of equity finance come from business angels and venture capitalists. Equity finance is money that is invested into your business in return for a share of the business. With equity finance the advantages out-weight the disadvantages and equity finance is a lot more helpful to small businesses than bank loans are.

Some of the advantages of equity finance include your investor being committed to your business and intended projects, they can bring valuable skills, contracts and experience to your business and they can assist you with strategy and decision making as well as often being prepared to follow up funding as your business grows. Two disadvantages of equity funding are your business may suffer as you are spending time securing your investor deal and the investor will own a share of your business.

The one thing that you must do when choosing your business start up finance is to use a finance option that is most suited to your business needs.

Finance – Need Of Everyone

Finance means to provide funds for business or it is a branch of economics which deals with study of money and other assets. In a Business management, finance is a most important characteristic as business and finance are interrelated. One can achieve its goal through the use of suited financial instruments. Financial planning is essential to ensure a secure future, both for the individual and an organization.

Personal finance

Personal finance may be required for education, insurance policies, and income tax management, investing, savings accounts. Personal loan is an effective source of personal finance. To avoid burden and life become enjoyable personal finance may be used as if getting it from a right source at minimum cost.

Business finance

Financial planning is essential in business finance to achieve its profit-making objectives. There are two main types of finance available to small business:

Debt Finance: lending money from banks, financial institutions etc. The borrower repays principal and interest.

Equity Finance: source of equity finance may be through a joint venture, private investors. It is a time consuming process.

State finances

Finance of states or public finance is finance of country, state, county or city. It is concerned with sources of revenue, budgeting process, expenditure spent for public works projects.

How to maintain your finance solutions

To maintain your finance then take up best finance solutions this will give you the advice to manage your finance in better way. In financial crises, applying for a loan is the best way to finance your needs. Nowadays E-finance is another option for finance as borrower gets wider option in choosing the best lender. Financial planning is important for your finance solutions

Looking To Buy A Gas Station? SBA Or Conventional Financing?

You’ve found some gas stations for sale and now you need financing. Many misconceptions exist about which is better for financing, SBA or conventional financing. Many people are under the misconception that SBA is somehow sub-standard financing or is expensive financing. Many people also assume that conventional loans are cheaper than a government backed business loan.

The good thing is that your calculator never lies. You can always figure out which one is the best by using cost of funds and return on investment calculations.

Conventional financing for gas stations and convenience stores frequently offers the advantage of an interest rate that is typically a little lower than SBA rates and normally the speed of approval and closing is usually a little quicker than that of SBA financing. There is also normally a little less paperwork involved in the process. With conventional financing, most of the time a borrower will approach a local or regional bank and the borrower will many times establish a depository relationship with the bank.

The disadvantages of conventional financing are that you normally can not finance working capital, inventory and frequently you can not finance the good will. The amortization periods are usually shorter also. These notes are normally due in five to ten years. This means at the end of the note you will need to refinance.

Again, your calculator will not lie to you.

SBA financing usually will do a higher loan to value (LTV) than conventional financing and frequently with SBA you can finance good will or business value where many conventional lenders will only finance the actual real estate and machinery/equipment value.

The disadvantages of SBA financing are the guarantee fee that you will be required to pay (which normally is 3.5% of the guaranteed portion of the loan, which is typically 75%) and it also can take longer for approval, but this typically is with banks and lenders that do not have a Preferred Lender status (PLP) but have to submit their transactions through local district offices. The interest rate you will pay will typically be higher than conventional financing.

Other options are available. Stated Income financing is frequently available for this asset class, but the Loan To Values (LTV) are typically lower. You normally can not do larger loans (greater than $1,000,000)also. Most stated incomes program advertise that they will do 65% financing, but in reality it is closer to 55% because they do not lend against good will and frequently will only lend a portion against machinery and equipment. It is typically faster with minimal paperwork compared to something fully underwritten, but you also will pay at least a few points higher in rates and fees to obtain this type of financing.

Private financing is also available for gas stations and convenience stores. Advantages are speed and minimal paperwork. Disadvantages are significantly higher rates, fees and lower LTV’s (typically 50-60% max).

What is best for you all depends on your hot button. If all you are looking at is rate, conventional may be the best deal, assuming you have a bank or lender that will do it conventionally. If you are looking at minimal out of pocket, SBA is probably your best bet. Cost of funds can go down if the Loan To Value is higher. The return on your investment also goes up if you are spending less money out of pocket. If payment is your hot button, you’ll have to evaluate both options to see which is best for you. Conventional financing usually will have a shorter amortization period than SBA and frequently will have a higher payment. If the pre-payment penalty is the most important, SBA may or may not be the best option for you. SBA has a three year pre-payment penalty, 1st year 5%, 2nd year 3% and 3rd year 1%. Conventional pre-payment penalties will vary from bank to bank and lender to lender. Also look to see if the conventional loan is assumable as it may be easier to sell a site if the loan is assumable. Most SBA loans are assumable if there is a qualified borrower. If speed is your hot button, stated income or private financing is the way to go, but you probably will have a significantly lower LTV and will pay higher fees.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, you can’t have it all, i.e. rate, fees, term, speed, pre-payment penalty. You can though most likely obtain a good loan if you are a qualified buyer. In all cases, presentation goes a long way to obtaining the best possible loan.