Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Clothing Designs For Women in Wheelchairs

Women who are restricted to wheelchairs often find that their condition can limit the choices of clothing which they can buy. Generally all clothing are made for able bodied people and does not cater for women who use wheelchairs. Clothing that is designed is normally of one size and loose fitting as in one size fits all and style is never looked at. But now slowly designers are looking into this form of clothing and more up to date stylish clothing is emerging with the theme ” women in wheelchairs.”Clothing that designed for people who use wheelchairs is typically designed to accommodate all disabilities, This can be very important for people who suffer lack of motor ability in their hands. Therefore manufactures include velcro seams and buttons therefore making it possible to dress themselves. If you are able to use buttons, however, you may prefer a button-down shirt, but still want it to be designed to look good while you’re in a sitting position and not when your standing as with normal clothing.Clothing designed for women in wheelchairs has dissolved slowly compared to wheelchair designs. WE can buy wheelchairs for any disability, but most wheelchair appropriate clothing designed to accessible to anyone.Now designers are finally catching up with wheelchair fashion and particularly women in wheelchairs. There still are not many sources of fashion clothing for women in wheelchairs but the market is expanding. These designers tend to focus on simply making clothing which looks good and is comfortable while sitting down, which may make them a tempting option for people who work in an office as well.With new wheelchair fashion designers, women in wheelchairs no longer have to feel that they can’t use up-to-date, fashionable clothing which looks and feels good.

Nutritional Supplements Are Important For Optimal Health

It’s estimated we are receiving only 40 percent of the nutritional value of food nowadays. Some reports suggest this is untrue while many reports go even farther by saying this figure is actually lower. In any case, unless you are fortunate enough to have a garden close by with organic fresh food you can harvest and eat on a daily basis, I believe the food available in the supermarket does indeed lack in nutrition.Many fresh foods travel great distances and many foods are processed to increase shelf life. To obtain the highest possible yield, producers are forced to rely on chemical fertilizers and pesticides for their crops, while other producers use growth hormones, antibiotics, and inhumane confinement for animal production. (By the way, from what I understand about antibiotics given to animals destined for the dinner table…they are not necessary if the animals are kept in clean, un-crowded environments where they are able to stretch their legs and get fresh air and sunshine daily. Another reason to shop organic.)The availability of high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, and low-fibre foods has rapidly become commonplace, and growing concern with processed foods is they are becoming much less expensive than nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables. The availability and lower price of processed and energy-dense foods rich in sugar and fat makes them appealing to the pocket book as well as the taste buds, but not without consequences. Obesity, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and other chronic conditions are gaining a stronghold in North America and researchers are now beginning to admit that diet plays a huge role in the prevention and treatment of disease.Balance, variety, and moderation are the keys to a healthful diet. A balanced proportion of foods from the different food groups, a variety of foods from within the different food groups, and moderation in the consumption of any food should provide us with the nutrients we need to sustain life.Although developments in the food industry over time have improved food quality and safety, there are still concerns over the nutritional content the food actually contains. Nutrients should come primarily from the foods we eat, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find foods that have not been grown in nutritionally challenged soils. Decades of poor agricultural practices are depleting foods of the nutrients we need for optimal health and wellness.
This is why nutritional supplements are important.Nutritional supplements are designed to provide nutrients, both essential and non-essential, that you may not be getting from your diet. Also known as dietary supplements, nutritional supplements are an important part of a balanced health regime and can offer significant health benefits. They can help to correct nutritional deficiencies and help boost the immune system, and there is growing scientific evidence supporting the benefits of nutritional supplements and their role in maintaining optimal health.Nutritional and dietary supplements are big business. It’s estimated that over twenty-five billions dollars a year is spent in the United States alone on natural health products. So which supplements should you look for and which are safe to take?In the United States, the FDA regulates dietary supplements. According to their website, “dietary supplements (are regulated) under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. * Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading. *Domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States are required to register their facility with the FDA.”Although “the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed” and “there are no provisions in the law for FDA to “approve” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer”, it’s important to purchase nutritional supplements from a reputable company who has been in busy for many years. You can also read more on FDA regulations with regards to dietary supplements on the FDA website.In Canada, the laws are much more stringent. On January 1, 2004 The Natural Health Products Regulations came into effect and apply to all natural health products. Products defined in the Regulations as natural health products include vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, probiotics, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines (such as Traditional Chinese Medicines), amino acids and essential fatty acids.Natural health products that fall under these regulations require an NPN (Natural Product Number). Once Health Canada has assessed the product, an eight digit product license number, preceded by the letters “NPN” will appear on the label informing consumers that Health Canada has reviewed the product for safety, quality, and health claims, and the product has been approved to be marketed under the Natural Health Products Regulations and has authorized the product for sale in Canada. The Natural Health Product Directorate (NHPD) is the regulating authority for health products for sale in Canada.Nutritional supplements that are considered food products or whole-food concentrates come under the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and do not require NPNs. When purchasing nutritional supplements look for a Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label to ensure the product has met the requirements of Health Canada, and also make sure the company selling the product is a reputable company with a good track record.Including nutritional supplements in your diet and daily health regime doesn’t need to be hard or cost a lot of money. Many companies offer high quality supplements at reasonable prices and it only takes a few minutes to mix up a healthy “green drink” from a barley grass juice concentrate such as AIM BarleyLife® or include a supplement caplet such as Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™ with your meal.There are many health benefits nutritional supplements have to offer. In these modern times, with the convenience, cost and available of fast and processed foods, poor dietary habits and the questionable nutrition content of nutrient-dense foods, nutritional supplements are becoming increasingly popular as an addition to complement the diet. Simply put, nutritional supplements are important for optimal health.AIM provides a variety of superior whole food concentrates and nutritional supplements to support a healthy lifestyle, strengthen the immune system, and nourish your cells, and AIM Members enjoy the benefits of wholesale pricing.As Members of AIM Canada, we have a dedicated team of knowledgeable people keeping on top of all the legislation and regulations, ensuring AIM Canada is compliant, so we will continue to have the right to use and share natural health products to protect our health and the health of others who wish to use Natural Health Products.To date AIM Canada has acquired eleven NPNs with nine other AIM products in the licensing process. Food products such as AIM BarleyLife®, LeafGreens®, Just Carrots®, ProPeas™ and RediBeets® come under the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and do not require NPNs.