Business Finance Misinformation and Confusion

Confusion about commercial loans and working capital financing seems to be increasing despite efforts by the federal government and commercial lenders to suggest that there is ample business loan funding. As a result, the actual availability of business financing for commercial finance programs such as commercial mortgages and business cash advances is unclear to most business owners.

It seems apparent that there have been many reports suggesting that normal commercial finance channels are either frozen or extremely sluggish. In reality there are probably more opportunities for commercial loan needs than suggested by such reports. However, increasing uncertainties in financial and credit markets have produced conflicting and misleading information about the availability of commercial financing. For most business owners, it is probably not clear if business finance funding is realistically available to them or not.

In spite of some admittedly bad news, there continue to be to reliable funding sources for commercial real estate loans, working capital loans and especially for business cash advances. At the same time, the current negative economic conditions will prove to be difficult for most businesses. Commercial borrowers should expect that extra efforts will be required to successfully arrange commercial financing. An especially harsh reality for business financing is that many banks have discontinued all or most of their business lending activities, often with very little advance notice.

One common example of commercial finance misinformation distorting what is actually feasible is that some kinds of commercial financing have been more disrupted than others by recent events. Commercial borrowers might be unnecessarily confused by reports that do not refer to all commercial loan situations but rather primarily apply to a very specialized form of business financing. For example, by most accounts commercial construction loans are in short supply currently. Such specialized business loans are not as easily available as they were just a few months ago, and a more accurate accounting would reflect that the number of commercial lenders currently active in construction financing has shrunk dramatically. At the same time, most commercial real estate loans without new construction have not been as severely impacted as funding requests which do involve construction financing.

Several publications have reported that most new business financing requests are on hold or have simply been rejected due to recent financial market uncertainties, and this is another example of how business finance funding reports might confuse small business owners. While the sources for this information might have been honestly told by one or more lending institutions that they are in fact deferring new commercial loan funding, this does not mean that is the case for the entire country. If the discussion involved automobile sales, it would be comparable to concluding that nobody is selling cars anywhere after learning that several major dealers and two manufacturers announced that they were going out of business due to lack of adequate sales. Just because one or more banks fail or stop making business loans, it does not mean that there are not commercial loans available from other sources.

Commercial borrowers would be wise to maintain a cautious perspective in determining how to refinance or obtain small business loans simply because the banking industry has been involved in financial disruptions of an epic proportion. Many banks are sounding and acting like they have been through the equivalent of a train wreck. In such a natural disaster, it might not be prudent for business owners to seek the advice of banks which effectively caused the train to derail in the first place.

Despite reports about limited availability of business financing, some commercial lending activities such as business cash advance programs are actually as active as they have ever been. In the current commercial funding crisis, small business owners should seek a commercial loans expert for a realistic assessment and candid discussion about working capital loans and business finance programs.

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Get on Track With Business Finance

When you are thinking of making sure you are on track with your business finance, you should make sure to know all the extras that may come along with it. This enables you to get the knowledge needed to keep your business running smoothly without interruptions or worse, bankruptcy.

This can be something that looms over every business owners head during this hard time in the economy. This can be reassuring to know there is a professional on your side to work with you instead of against you to straighten things out. Find out how to make, and keep to a budget while running your business. Do not let the tough times bring you down when you have all the resources you need at hand from the comfort of your home.

So why not take a peek at what is in store for you when you work with a professional, or maybe you would like to figure things out yourself, then find tips and information on how to do so right off the internet. Not only do you have the resources to do it yourself, but you also have the resources to hire someone to help you along. This allows you to get everything you want from one website that will give you the most tips.

Learn as much as you can to find out how to keep your business in the green instead of going down to the red. This can be good in this type of economy, while trying to make a living off your business to support your family. If you are not sure about something, just ask, they make sure to answer any questions you have regarding your finances. This can be the easiest and less hassle way of finding out how to handle all of your finance and business needs.

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Small Business Financing Advice – Best Places To Find Real Advice On The Internet

There are so many websites out there that try to give small business financing advice it is hard to judge who to believe and who not to believe. However, there are three sources that I believe you cannot go wrong with when you are looking for small business financing advice:

1. Business Association Websites – The SBA is one of the best places for small business financing advice. As a matter of fact, it is one of the sites I like to use for brand new information. The SBA often releases breaking news when a new type of financing has become available, a lender has made the news, or new options for owners looking to build a new business are available.

Plus, the SBA website is a government website so you can trust that the information is factual. There are many other business associations that give out small business financing advice, but the SBA is my favorite. There is a link button on their site for other associations if you need more information.

2. Lender Blogs – Many banks and other financial institutions are starting to contain blogs with small business financing advice on the blogs. Lenders understand that not every business owner knows everything they need to effectively start a business.

They also know that sometimes new ways of financing are released, and their customers may not be aware. The advice given on lenders’ websites are full of real, authentic, quality information. Check out your lender’s website today to see if they have a blog.

3. Previous or Current Business Owner Blogs/Websites – Often the best small business financing advice sites are those of people that have actually lived the life of starting a business. They can give you tips from their own experiences. The ‘ins and outs’ through the eyes of a real business man or woman.

The relevance of small business financing advice is especially real when you feel you can relate to the author of the blog. Perhaps their advice is being given towards the type of business you have because they currently own a business similar to yours.

These are the three types of sites I visit often when I am looking for small business financing advice for my own business. I suggest you stay clear of sites that are written by people not associated with owning a business at all.

Many people ‘on the outside looking in’ want to give their advice to you. Stick with the professionals. You can feel confident you are getting advice from people within the business.

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The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

Finding proper business financing is not easy at the best of times for most small and medium sized business owners and managers.

There are a number of reasons that collectively explain why the business financing market can be so difficult to understand and navigate.

But probably the single biggest reason is the lack of useful information about how the business financing market actually works.

Business financing information and education sources predominantly come in two forms: 1) Text books; 2) Major bank advertising.

If you’ve ever read through a educational finance text book or taken a business financing course, you already know how difficult it can be to apply the theories, principles, and strategies to a small or medium sized business.

Our formal education system provides limited information as to how the market place works, how to plan for financing requirements, how to manage periods of growth, decline, transition, start up, etc.

Sure academic books and courses can go through all these areas in great detail, but is the information practical, real world, something you can relate to and apply yourself as a manager or owner of a small or medium sized business?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO.

Most finance text books speak to big business financing dynamics that are not easily transferable to small and medium sized business scenarios.

Outside of the formal education system, the next great source of business financing information is the information provided by the major banks, which they tend to make available to you by the boat load through their broad based marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, the information by itself seldom helps you determine if a particular institution would be able to provide you with financing, or what would be required to qualify for a loan.

The good news is that business financing sources continue to grow in numbers as more and more lenders carve out a particular piece of the market to service.

In order to take advantage of these alternatives, you need to have a solid approach in place when seeking business financing.

Here’s a short list of things to consider

>>> Develop a solid, ongoing, understanding of both your personal and business assets, income, and cash flow.

Regardless of the business financing model, these elements will always come into play to some degree.

Being able to demonstrate a solid understanding of your business financials is also an indication of your ability to manage the underlying business.

>>> Monitor and manage your personal and business credit.

Small and medium sized business financing is focused on both personal and business credit histories.

Regular reviews of both personal and business credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies are important to avoid errors and credit practices that can severely damage your borrowing power.

>>> Develop your marketing position.

Yes, seeking business financing is a marketing exercise.

When applying for business financing, you’re marketing your business to lending sources and they in turn are marketing their business financing programs to you.

Think of the lender as a customer to better understand what they’re looking for. Then, develop a business proposal that addresses all their potential needs and concerns.

>>> Research Lending Sources

There are lots of business financing sources. But there is also lots of variation in the types of business applications each one is prepared to consider.

Broad based lenders rely on credit history and net worth. As you get more specific in terms of financing application and industry, lender programs become more narrow and can be harder to locate.

You need to consider things like industry, sector, and geography when looking for business financing sources.

Financing consultants and business loan brokers can be an excellent source of information to aid you in this process.

>>> Qualify The Lender

Before you make a formal application, find out if the lender has the programs and lending track record to meet your specific needs.

Too often, the lender is doing all the qualifying.

>>> Compare your options

Depending on the scenario, there can be several financing strategies that could work for your business.

Make sure you take the time to compare before making a decision. The extra time spent could save you considerable time and money in the long run.

>>> Start Today

Regardless of what your business financing needs are right now, you should regularly invest time staying on top of your business financials, monitoring your credit, and researching financing sources that fit your industry and potential future requirements.

When the time comes to acquire capital, your proactive efforts can make all the difference in getting the capital you need with terms and timing that are acceptable to your business.

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What You Must Know About A Lease Vs Buy Business Finance Decision For An Equipment Lease

Business owners and financial managers in business finance are always faced with the same decision in acquiring an equipment lease, namely should we buy or lease. Technically this is referred to in the finance books as the infamous ‘ lease vs. buy ‘decision.

Let’s examine some of the key points and facts you need to consider in that decision. Naturally the good news is that an equipment lease can be used to acquire almost any type of equipment or asset – that includes equipment, machinery, buildings, etc. More often than not it pays to seek a business financing advisor who is well versed in the benefits and nuances of equipment finance.

Working capital and cash flow tend to be the main drivers of the lease vs. buy decision when we talk to clients. It goes without saying that most Canadian leasing companies probably have a lower cost of capital then your firm based on their borrowing capacity and the way they are funded. Therefore that lower cost of capital becomes a positive advantage in the lease vs. buy decision.

In many cases the lease vs. buy decision will be very close and the actual non financial benefits of an equipment lease will drive your final decision. For example, although you might be in a position to construct a favorable buy versus leasing model you might not want to use business lines of credit to access the cash needed to acquire the asset.

Also one of the key tenets of finance is that you should use long term funds to fund long term assets – that just makes common sense. Simply speaking you don’t want to purchase an asset as opposed to l easing it and find out you might not be able to make payroll on Friday because your line of credit is maxed out!

As we said, some of the pure mechanical decisions around the lease vs. buy tool (there are numerous on line calculators which are references as lease vs. purchase analysis tool) can often be over ridden in your analysis by non financial considerations. For example, let’s say you clearly don’t want to keep the asset at the end of the term of its useful economic life. That’s where an equipment lease makes total sense, as it gives you the ability to return, extend, or even purchase the asset if in fact you end up deciding to purchase and keep it if your circumstances change.

Business owners might want to consider talking to their accountant or a business financing advisor on larger capital asset acquisitions. Some of the inputs required in the lease versus buy model include items such as the actual interest rate the lease company is charging you, your tax rate, the projected increase in profit via use of the asset, the depreciation expense you can take on the asset and your overall cost of capital which is calculated by analyzing your debt and equity in the business. Whew!! That’s some fancy accounting and it can best be left to your accountant or advisor on larger asset financing acquisitions. However the good news is that a simple computer spreadsheet handles all this for us nicely!

In summary the leasing versus buy tool in business finance can be a great asset in your financing decisions for new assets. Adopt Warren Buffets key approach, which is simply to determine if the asset financing opportunity delivers a solid return on equity for your business.

Yes our tool we outlined is important, but at the end of the day use business common sense to analyze the equipment lease opportunity and blend it into your overall business financing strategy.

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