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?

Valencia is the Top Destination for Ex Pats to Live

According to a survey conducted in March 2020 and recently published by InterNations, an expat organisation with around three and half million members, the Spanish city of Valencia is the best city in which to live as an expat. The survey assimilated answers from 15,000 respondents on five areas of experience: cost of living, finance and housing, quality of urban living, getting settled and urban work life. Alicante was in second place and Lisbon third, Malaga was in sixth place and Madrid ninth, meaning that five of the top ten cities were in the Iberian Peninsula. Interestingly, out of the 66 cities included in the survey, those top tourist destinations, Paris and Rome, came in the bottom ten. A fact that perhaps tells us more about the type of lifestyle sought by expats than it does about the quality of life in those cities.

Recommended article: The Best (& Worst) Cities for Expats

Around 15% of the Spanish population are foreigners and the twin attractions are clearly, plenty of sunshine and a low cost of living. So, what is it that makes Valencia the expat’s favourite? Spain’s third largest city is situated on the south eastern coast and its location means that it enjoys a climate described by the World Health Organization as ’ideal’. Its 300 days of sunshine per year lift the spirits with weather, which is never too hot, too dry or too wet and a cooling sea keeps the air fresh and clean. Like much of Spain, accommodation is inexpensive, and food and drink are cheap and of outstanding quality.

Recommended article: The Cost of Living in Spain

What makes Valencia exceptional is the quality of urban living which the city has to offer, quite simply, there is just so much to do. Valencia is beautiful and it is beautifully diverse. Its centre is medieval, its cobbled streets dominated by the cathedral with its blend of Baroque, Romanesque and Gothic. Here you’ll find ancient buildings, like the Silk Exchange, ornate churches, the biggest fresh market in Europe and delightful cafes and restaurants by the score. There are thirty-four museums, most of them free or very cheap and fine examples of Rococo, Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture. By contrast, ‘The City of Arts and Sciences’, designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava is science fiction fantasy that looks like it’s come straight from the cover of a vintage copy of Astounding Stories. The scientific and cultural leisure complex is set in the dried-up bed of the river Turia and contains Europe’s largest aquarium, a 3D cinema, a science museum, an opera house and the Terraza Mya gardens. As if all that weren’t enough, there are the 20k of beaches, 6 within the city itself and a further 6 easily accessible by public transport. A further 10k beyond the city is the glorious Albufera National park. The inhabitants of Valencia certainly have good reason to count their blessings and just to top it off, Valencia is the home of Paella.

Travel a little further down the coast and you’ll reach the port-city of Alicante. For many the city is simply the location of an airport, but those who rush straight onward to their destinations are missing out on one of Spain’s great cities. Alicante shares many of the delights on offer in Valencia. The narrow streets of its old town are dominated by the medieval Castillo de Santa Barbara, which looms over the town. There are wonderful cafes and restaurants to be enjoyed, delightful parks and gardens, ancient monuments and historic buildings. Nearby there are fabulous beaches and world class golf courses and like Valencia, accommodation within the city is attractively affordable.

The capital city which features third highest in the survey is Lisbon, Portugal’s hilly coastal capital. Most capital cities are prohibitively expensive places in which to live but despite a property boom in recent years, rental accommodation in Lisbon remains affordable. Portugal also has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe and is rated the third safest country in the world. Once the heart of a great empire, Lisbon is a city full of wonderful architecture and its seven hills afford unexpected vistas at every turn. Lisbon has all the pleasures on offer that one would expect from a capital city: outstanding cuisine, vibrant nightlife, a rich cultural life, museums, galleries and world class shopping. It is an hour from the glorious beaches of the Algarve, enjoys year long sunshine and has an international airport linked to 120 destinations. You can see the attraction.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.