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?

4 Essential Steps for Your Skin Care Routine

The face and the facial skin is the first thing that people see. So when we leave our homes you want to present a clean, clear, beautiful looking face. The facial skin unlike other areas of skin on our body is always exposed to the environment and therefore is easily damaged through sun exposure, chemicals, toxins and pollutants. Taking care of our facial skin is very important not only to stay beautiful but also to avoid increased signs of aging, blemishes, or acne.Although, most skin care products and advertisements are directed at women, men should also have a daily facial skin care routine as well. Men’s facial skin is just as likely as women’s to become damaged, dirty, or acne ridden, therefore making sure you properly hydrate, and clean your facial skin is necessary. Most people have been using the same skin care routine since they were young. They found an over the counter face wash that has worked for them and they stuck with it. However, as we age our skin changes. You may need more than just your average face wash to keep up that clear, youthful looking skin.The best skin care routines involve 4 steps. Diligence and determination are needed to succeed with a great skin care routine. Most people consider just washing or cleansing their face of the daily dirt and grime their best effort to keep their facial skin in good condition. However, it’s the other crucial steps that will keep their skin looking young, vibrant, healthy and firm. Although, all four steps are necessary to keep our facial skin beautiful, 2 out of the four steps are not necessary on a daily basis.The four essential steps to the best skin care routines are cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing. Cleansing and moisturizing the face should be done everyday in the morning and before you go to bed. This way the face stays fresh, clean and hydrated throughout the day as well as the night.Cleansing is the first step for proper skin care. Most people clean or wash their face at least one time a day. This step is imperative because it removes dirt, dust, grime, grease and extra oil from the skin. Wet the face and then use a good facial cleanser on both the face and the neck. Massage the cleanser gently into the skin in an upward motion. Then rinse the face with warm water and a soft washcloth or cotton wool. A water-based cleanser is the best for cleaning the face because you can avoid chemicals that may irritate the skin.Toning is the second step in a facial skin care routine. Toning is usually used in the form of toner pads or wipes. Facial toners are used to remove any traces of dirt, grease, or excess cleanser that has been left as residue on the face. Using a toner everyday is an option and some people may even leave it out completely if they feel their cleanser works well enough. A good rule of thumb is to use a toner in your morning facial routine but leave it out of your nighttime regiment.Exfoliation is a key part of any skin care regiment, however should not be done on a daily basis. Exfoliation should be done once a week at most to remove dead skin cells from the face. Although the body naturally sloughs off dead skin cells on its own, exfoliating helps to speed up the process. Dead skin cells can block pores and cause acne so removing these skin cells in a timely manner can reduce the appearance of acne. However, exfoliation can be harmful especially to the facial skin, if done too often. Normal skin cells are replenished every 3-4 weeks; therefore exfoliating new skin cells can damage the appearance of your skin.Lastly but most importantly is moisturizing. Moisturizing the skin is so important because it keeps our skin from drying out; causing wrinkles or cracks and keeps our skin radiant and glowing. Dry skin can be painful, itchy and unappealing to the eye. Skin cells need water to live; therefore overly dry skin can lead to increased skin cell death. Use a moisturizer specifically for the face. Apply your moisturizer when your skin is warm and damp because this is when the pores are open. Leave some moisturizer on the top of the skin to get the full effect for your skin. Moisturize any time the skin feels dry and after both morning and even skin care routines. Make sure your moisturizer doesn’t have any harmful chemicals, fragrances or dyes that can irritate the skin.Natural skin care products should be used for all skin care needs. Natural products avoid harsh chemicals and dyes that can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. Always use products based upon your own skin type. Test products on your forearm, earlobe or neck before you buy them. This way you can know if it will cause any irritation. Always remember to remove all makeup before starting your skin care routine. Don’t just wash away makeup; use proper make-up removers to completely clean the face of makeup residue. Remember to apply sunscreen if there is a possibility you will be out in the sun.

Which Health Insurance Plan Is Best for Me?

Health insurance has proven itself of great help and financial aid in certain cases when events turn out unexpectedly. In times when you are ill and when your health is in grave jeopardy and when finances seem to be incapable to sustain for your care, health insurance is here to the rescue. A good health insurance plan will definitely make things better for you.Basically, there are two types of health insurance plans. Your first option is the indemnity plans, which includes the fee-for-services and the second is the managed care plans. The differences between these two include the choice offered by the providers, the amount of bills the policy holder has to pay and the services covered by the policy. As you can always hear there is no ultimate or best plan for anyone.As you can see, there are some plans which may be way better than the others. Some may be good for you and your family’s health and medical care needs. However, amidst the sweet health insurance plan terms presented, there are always certain drawbacks that you may come to consider. The key is, you will have to wisely weigh the benefits. Especially that not among these plans will pay for all the financial damages associated with your care.The following are a brief description about the health insurance plans that might be fitting for you and your family’s case.Indemnity PlansFlexible Spending Plans – These are the types of health insurance plans that are sponsored when you are working for a company, or any employer. These are the care plans inclusive in your employee benefit package. Some of the specific types of benefits included in this plan are the multiple options pre-tax conversion plan, medical plans plus flexible spending accounts, tax conversion plan, and employer credit cafeteria plans. You can always ask your employer of the benefits included in your health care/insurance plans.Indemnity Health Plans – This type of health insurance plan allows you to choose your own health care providers. You are given the freedom to go to any doctor, medical institution, or other health care providers for a set monthly premium. The insurance plan will reimburse you and your health care provider according to the services rendered. Depending on the health insurance plan policy, there are those that offers limit on individual expenses, and when that expense is reached, the health insurance will cover for the remaining expenses in full. Sometimes, indemnity health insurance plans impose restrictions on services covered and may require prior authorization for hospital care and other expensive services.Basic and Essential Health Plans – It provides a limited health insurance benefit at a considerably low insurance cost. In opting for this kind of health insurance plan, it is necessary that one should read the policy description giving special focus on covered services. There are plans which may not cover on some basic treatments, certain medical services such as chemotherapy, maternity care or certain prescriptions. Also, rates vary considerably since unlike other plans, premiums consider age, gender, health status, occupation, geographic location, and community rated.Health Savings Accounts – You own and control the money in your HSA. This is the recent alternative to the old fashioned health insurance plans. These are savings product designed to offer policy holders different way to pay for their health care. This type of insurance plan allows the individual to pay for the current health expenses and also save for untoward future qualified medical and retiree health costs on a tax-free basis. With this health care plan, you decide on how your money is spent. You make all the decisions without relying on any third party or a health insurer. You decide on which investment will help your money grow. However, if you sign up for an HSA, High Deductible Health Plans are required in adjunct to this type of insurance plan.High Deductible Health Plans – Also called Catastrophic Health Insurance Coverage. It is an inexpensive health insurance plan which is enabled only after a high deductible is met of at least $1,000 for an individual expense and $2,000 for family-related medical expense.Managed Care OptionsPreferred Provider Organizations – This is charged in a fee-for-service basis. The involved health care providers are paid by the insurer on a negotiated fee and schedule. The cost of services are likely lower if the policy holder chooses an out-of-network provider ad generally required to pay the difference between what the provider charges and what the health insurance plan has to pay.Point of Service – POS health insurance plans are one of the indemnity type options in which the primary health care providers usually make referrals to other providers within the plan. In the event the doctors make referrals which are out of the plan, that plan pays all or most of the bill. However, if you refer yourself to an outside provider, the service charges may also be covered by the plan but the individual may be required to pay the coinsurance.Health Maintenance Organizations – It offers access to a network of physicians, health care institutions, health care providers, and a variety of health care facilities. You have the freedom to choose for your personal primary care doctor from a list which may be provided by the HMO and this chosen doctor may coordinate with all the other aspects of your health care. You may speak with your chosen primary doctor for further referrals to a specialist. Generally, you are paying fewer out-of-pocket fees with this type of health insurance plan. However, there are certain instances that you may be often charged of the fees or co-payment for services such as doctor visits or prescriptions.Government-Sponsored Health InsuranceIndian Health Services – This is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Program offering all American Indians the medical assistance at HIS facilities. Also, HIS helps in paying the cost of the health care services utilized at non-HIS facilities.Medicaid – This is a federal or s state public assistance program created in the year 1965. These are available for the people who may have insufficient resources to pay for the health care services or for private insurance policies. Medicaid is available in all states. Eligibility levels and coverage benefits may vary though.Medicare – This is a health care program for people aging 65 and older, with certain disabilities that pays part of the cost associated with hospitalization, surgery, home health care, doctor’s bills, and skilled nursing care.Military Health Care – This type includes the TRICARE or the CHAMPUS (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services) and CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affair). The Department of Veterans Affair (VA) may also provide this service.State Children’s Health Insurance Program – This is available to children whose low-income parents were not able to qualify for the Medicaid.
State-Specific Plans – This type of plan is available for low income uninsured individuals.There are many different types of insurance plans that you may have the prerogative to know about. By learning which health care insurance fits your situation, you can avail of the many options that will likely be of great assistance to you in times when you will need it most. Insurance costs have typically become one of the common draw backs in choosing for an insurance quote. However, weighing the benefits will really matter. Make sure that you always read the benefits, terms and conditions before landing to whichever type of health insurance you choose.