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How Can You Get Cash for Your Growing Business?

My dad was a carpenter by trade, and we also had a small farming operation. I have many fond memories of my dad figuring numbers for jobs, supplies, measurements, plans, ratios, average daily gain, yields, and much more. Numbers like these are the vital statistics of a business. As a business owner, you need to know your numbers. One of the most important numbers you should know is working capital. What is it and how do you get it?

Working capital is the life blood of small business. If your business must wait for 30 days or more to get paid for work you have already done, then you are likely feeling the pinch of reduced working capital. In your business, sales, materials, labor, and overhead must continue even if cash is not pouring into your business every day. There is also the issue of being ready and able to strike when the iron is hot. If you are in an industry sector that is prone to rapid growth, without adequate working capital you can miss opportunities for growth.

Working capital is the difference between your current assets and current liabilities. It measures your liquidity and it’s therefore an indicator of the short-term financial health of your business. The problem with working capital is that not all forms of current assets have equal value. Sometimes your working capital is frozen in your inventory or accounts receivables, doing you little good if you need cash to cover operating expenses, make normal debt service, pay payroll, or payables. These demands on your cash will not wait.

For many businesses, working capital is frozen in inventory or accounts receivable, limiting growth.

One Option: Lines of Credit

One solution to cash flow problems is a line of credit provided by a bank. Because lines of credit are forms of debt, you must qualify for one. The irony is that a line of credit is easy to qualify for when you don’t need one, but difficult when you do. The process is time consuming, and seldom is the line large enough. A line of credit can make a bad situation worse by putting your business in a debt trap. If your line of credit grows faster than your inventory or receivables convert to cash, you’ll incur excess debt that compounds the very problem you were trying to solve in the first place. The reality is that lines of credit are debt instruments that further reduce true working capital. It’s important to keep in mind that access to cash through a line of credit it is not the same as having your own cash. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the business owner to know how much cash your business needs and how much you can afford to pay back.

While lines of credit are among the cheapest forms of outside working capital, they are no bargain if you don’t use them properly. Astute financial managers that exercise discipline and maintain tight controls can make effective use of a line of credit. Where lines of credit are used to supplement cash flow, just be careful. If your company has a strong cash position, a short cash conversion cycle, and generally strong financials, a line of credit may provide a good solution for you.

Another Option: Merchant Cash Advance or Business Loan

A much faster way to get cash is through a merchant cash advance, sometimes simply known as a business loan. These products are offered by seemingly respectable companies, some of whom are publicly traded. Approval can often come within 24 hours and cash within 24-36 hours. However, this option is a trap. Many of these companies use various bait and switch tactics or other deceitful techniques to lure clients in. They may advertise low or no-interest loans in exchange for fees that can amount to effective rates of greater than 50%. These companies will want to review your bank statements and then will very quickly offer you funding which they can have in your account the same day or the next, and they won’t even require any collateral.

Using a merchant cash advance can lure an unsuspecting business into a high-interest debt-trap.

These deals will fund quickly and then they will begin to withdraw to receive their payback daily, often the next day. The daily withdrawal will seem much less painful than the full amount they will take from you monthly. We have seen deals like this offered to clients with fees in excess of a 70% effective interest rate. It is not uncommon for these companies to give you one smaller cash advance loan and then stack two or three more on afterwards because of your good payment history. They resort to this tactic, not because they couldn’t qualify you for more debt to start with, but because they didn’t want to scare you off with a larger payment. You should run from these predatory credit providers as fast as possible.

Yet Another Option: Factoring

Factoring is a type financing that alleviates cash flow problems that result from slow payment of invoices. Factoring, sometimes called Accounts Receivable (AR) financing, allows you to secure financing using the value of your invoices. Although not usually as fast to obtain as a merchant cash advance, factoring is usually faster than applying for a line of credit. A factor (the company providing you with cash) will purchase your receivables, usually with recourse. This means that if your client ends up not paying an invoice, then the factor will usually come back to you and have you pay back the uncollected amount. The good news about factoring is that it is an asset purchase which means that you are simply trading out a stale asset AR for a liquid one: cash, without incurring debt. Factoring does away with the debt trap concerns associated with lines of credit, because it only advances funds for work that you have completed. Because the factor is repaid as your invoices are paid, this type of financing is self-liquidating. There is no way you can draw more than what you have already billed out.

Factoring, however, is usually a more expensive option. A typical factoring agreement is “close ended”, meaning it has a pre-determined duration, usually a year. You are typically required to notify the factor in writing before the agreement expires it you want to terminate it. If you decide to terminate the agreement early, there are often fees owed to the factor for what it estimates you would have funded had you let the agreement run full term.

Your use of a factoring company is generally not transparent to your clients. For example, if you use a line of credit, your bank would not typically call your clients to say, “we are now financing your vendor, and you need to just send us what you owe them.” Factoring companies, however, sometimes call your clients and let them know that they now own your AR and that payment needs to go directly to the factor. Should your client’s payment drag out further than expected, they may get a collections call from your factor, which may create problems in your relationship with those clients. Customers sometimes have strong, negative reactions to these calls, and adopt a stance that if they hear from your factor about your invoices, they won’t use your business for future needs.

Factoring will typically involve a small initial fee. Then, as your invoices age past certain dates, you incur additional fees. These fees can vary significantly on each invoice, making it hard to know your all-in cost. Because a Factor is not a bank you will also usually pay wire fees to get funds into your operating account.

The Best Option: BusinessManager® Line

BusinessManager® is a working capital financing solution offered through many of our commercial bank partners. It is a cash management tool that brings the best of all the other options we’ve described. Like factoring, it is an asset purchase funding tool and therefore does not require a business owner to take on additional debt. Like a line of credit, BusinessManager® is transparent to your customer. The underwriting requirements are relaxed, and the funding process moves along quickly. BusinessManager® lines are typically approved at 1.5 times your average AR balance and are elastic in nature. This means, the capital it provides can grow with the funding needs of your business. While the rates are higher than a traditional line, they are cheaper than factoring.

This table summarizes the working capital options discussed in this article:

The team at Financial Consulting Inc. can help you make the right choice for your business to obtain working capital. With our extensive network of partners, we can simplify the process finding a trustworthy financial partner. Contact us to learn more!

BusinessManager® is a registered trademark of ProfitStarts® a division of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. ®

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The Hurdles of Getting Financing for Your Oklahoma Farm

Oklahoma is a wonderful place to live and work the land. However, having enough capital to sustain your farm isn’t always easy. For the Oklahoma farmer who’s trying to get the necessary funding to stay afloat, here are some things to look out for.
Margins are tighter than ever.  The cost of land and equipment have driven up the fixed cost to higher levels than ever before and the price that you can revieve for your farm products is always in flux.  With varibles like these you need an experienced, and trusted financial partner who can get you the financing you need that fits your operational capacity.  That financiang may be through the Farm Service Agency or it may be through a more conventional loan product.
A little research might show you that there are more ways to get working capital than you’d expect. With a loan that’s designed for your specific needs, you can finance your operation and build a long-term sustainable plan for financial success.
It’s not easy to start or maintain a farm or ranch, but it’s certainly worth the effort if you can make it work. If you need more information about the financial side of farming, visit Financial Consulting Inc. in Pawnee.
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Three Common Obstacles to Getting a Small Business Loan

Small business owners are the backbone of our economy. Whether you’re financing a new venture or looking to expand your current operation, a small business loan can be the key to unlocking your business’s future. Here are three hurdles you may encounter when applying for a loan.

Poor Credit Score

Even good people sometimes have bad credit. If your credit report indicates that you’ve had trouble repaying your debts in the past, it might be hard for you to get a new loan.

No Business Plan

Be prepared to present a business plan that shows what you will do with the loan and how you will pay it back. Otherwise, the lender might not consider you a good candidate for a loan.

Lack of Assets

Lenders need collateral, and if your business doesn’t own property or have sufficient cash flow to back your loan, they are likely to turn you down.
Applying for a small business loan can be intimidating, but a financial consultant can guide you through the process. Contact Financial Consulting, Inc. today to get the expert assistance you need.
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Struggling To Get The Financing You Need To Keep Your Farm Afloat? What Are Your Options?

Running a farm is more than just a job; it’s a way of life. With a feast-or-famine workday and crop or livestock yields that can be wildly impacted by many factors outside your control, keeping your farm cash-flow positive all year long can often be a challenge.

For these reasons farmers can have a hard time accessing cash for equipment, livestock or even next season’s seedlings. If you’re like many farmers, you may feel like you have to jump through endless hoops just to access financing. However, understanding the different types of farm loans and the federal programs in place can help you secure the funds you need.

Continue reading Struggling To Get The Financing You Need To Keep Your Farm Afloat? What Are Your Options?

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Applying for a Small Business Loan? You Need to Know About These 7 Hurdles

Applying for small business loans can be frustrating, and according to some surveys, lenders reject roughly 66 percent of applications. Three of the most common obstacles to getting funding are poor credit scores, lack of business assets and no business plan, but beyond that, there are other hurdles in the process.

To improve your chances of getting your small business loan application approved, you need to understand and avoid the following hurdles.

Continue reading Applying for a Small Business Loan? You Need to Know About These 7 Hurdles

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How a Business Loan Can Help With Poor Cash Flow

Running a small business is not always an easy task, especially when your cash flow is not as positive as you would like. Did you know that 25% of all small businesses fail from poor cash flow? If your small business has cash flow problems, here are three important things to know.

Continue reading How a Business Loan Can Help With Poor Cash Flow

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7 Tips to Save Money on Farm Loans

You’ve probably heard the phrase you need to spend money to make money. And whether you’re running a farm or any other type of business, that sentiment is largely true. However, in some cases, you need to borrow money so you can spend it.

Taking out a loan costs money, but there are ways to save. Take a look at these tips.

Continue reading 7 Tips to Save Money on Farm Loans