Small Business Finance – The Next Big Banking Problem?

For the past year, most banks and lenders have been subject to both disastrous operating results and negative publicity. Actual commercial lending activity reported by banks conflicts with the usual attempt by politicians and bankers to portray banks as normal and healthy. Most bank financial results have been disappointing after working hard to solve massive residential loan problems. It is reasonable to ask if commercial banking has more potential disasters about to emerge based on what has been seen and reported so far.

Based on a number of business financing statistics, commercial lending to small businesses is already on life support. In many cases, without government bailouts many commercial banks would have already failed. As bad as that perspective might sound, this report will provide an even more negative outlook for the future of small business finance programs. Unfortunately for banks and lenders, it does appear that business loans will be the next big problem.

During the past year or so, several banking problems have received significant publicity. The largely avoidable difficulties were primarily tied to increasing home foreclosures which in turn caused various investments tied to home loans to decrease in value. Such investments lost value so rapidly that they became known as toxic assets. When banks stopped making many loans (including small business financing), the federal government provided bailout funding to many banks to enable them to keep operating. While most observers would argue that the bailouts were made with the implicit understanding that bank lending would resume in some normal fashion, the banks seem to be hoarding these taxpayer-provided funds for a rainy day. By almost any objective standard, commercial lending activities have all but abandoned small business finance needs.

Small business financing appears to already look like the next big problem based on commercial finance statistics recently released by many banks. The general decline in commercial real estate values during the past several years is a major factor in this conclusion. Because many large commercial real estate owners could not make their commercial mortgage loan payments or refinance business debt, this has resulted in some significant bankruptcies. The resulting bank losses are clearly having an impact now on commercial lending to small business owners even though these difficulties were primarily happening with large real estate owners and did not usually involve small businesses.

Bank losses on large commercial real estate loans have caused many banks to reduce or stop their small business financing activities, and this has clear similarities to the earlier situation of residential mortgage loan toxic assets causing banks to stop normal lending because of capital shortages. The bank losses from large commercial property investors are producing a ripple effect that has caused small business financing to effectively disappear until further notice. While small business owners did not cause this problem, they are suffering the immediate consequences when banks are unable or unwilling to provide normal levels of commercial financing to them. This bad situation is made even worse when we learn that many banks are hoarding cash and approving fewer commercial loans to allow them to quickly pay bailout funds back to the federal government. The primary logic for this approach is that it will allow banks to resume excessive bonuses and compensation to their executives.

Unfortunately one problem will lead to another, as is common with complex circumstances. The failure to obtain normal business financing will most likely lead to an increasing number of commercial loan defaults by small businesses. Prudent business owners should begin to take action now in a timely manner to avoid such negative consequences. The most serious small business finance problems can be anticipated and avoided with appropriate action.

Even if they do nothing else, business owners should have a straightforward conversation with a small business finance expert to assess how exposed their business might be to the brewing commercial banking problems. If recent events are any indication, the banks themselves will not be very forthcoming about problems with their commercial lending practices. For many small businesses, the most objective business financing expert is not likely to be their current banker. To increase the chances that they receive sufficient small business loans in the face of ongoing lending problems, a healthy amount of skepticism and caution will be helpful for business owners.

Small Business Financing – What Are Your Options?

In the meantime, one has a wide variety of options for small business financing. Fortunately, you have other resources to rely on, unlike just bank loans as it was in the past.

What are the options that are commonly overlooked?

Currently, many unconventional sources of finance are coming up as well, e.g. contract financing, which is one of the widest preferred options. Indeed, it is also known as purchase order financing. Following this option, a lender finances the purchase order rather than the manufacturer. Consequently, the lender gets the agreed portion of profit when the process is finished. This is known as purchase order financing.

What is the next option?

One more type of finance options is to think of grants for small businesses. But, one negative aspect of this option is the fact that grants are not considered that reliable. However, venture capital is one of the small business financing options that is best defined by many applicants. This is especially true since the firms, which fund the proposals presented, are from the small enterprises. The only limitation with these small business loans is that they just finance a very few ventures.

Do you have any other options?

You can avail finance for your small business by selling your debts and stocks in the mass market. But again, one thing you should know is that it is not a common method of getting any help because of its difficult procedures. A large number of small businesses are now funded with the help of debt finance through financial institutions like banks. In this context, banks provide small business owners a line of credit or loan with a repayment term and schedule, as well as, a rate of interest.

How can a financial institution make an educated decision?

In fact, financial institutions or banks will deeply look for how profitable your business is. So, to improve your chances of being financed, just prepare a good business plan. A plan will show them the prospects of your business and, therefore, it will increase your chances to get accepted.

Have you ever thought about the option of debt funding?

There are many private debt investors who invest on a small business through debt funding. To make it a win situation for them, they ask for some equity ownership stakes in return. Borrowers from any class can opt for equity options. Despite having a bad credit rating that may include bankruptcy, default, arrear, CCJ or IVA, one can apply for this option without any problem. Obviously, you will need to put in some efforts for making these financial deals cost effective.

What is the best choice that I can recommend you?

You can easily apply online for your loan. This will surely save a lot of time and endeavor. Concretely, this will help you to navigate through many varieties without leaving your home. In this context, it is recommended to compare a plenty of finance choices and choose the best solution for the small business system you have. Doing this, you will minimize the risk to waste your money. To get the best of a financial deal, you will need to put in some time in research. This will help you find out the right financial option for you. In this article, the message was to list different small business finance options and the best choice is your decision.

Small Business Financing Options – Despite the Credit Crunch

There’s no question that the financial crisis and ensuing credit crunch have made it more difficult than ever to secure small business financing and raise capital. This is especially true for fast-growth companies, which tend to consume more resources in order to feed their growth. If they aren’t careful, they can literally grow themselves right out of business.

Amidst all the gloom and doom, however, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: There are still options available for small business financing. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look and how to prepare.

Where to Look

There are three main sources you can turn to for small business financing:

Commercial Banks – These are the first source most owners think of when they think about small business financing. Banks loan money that must be repaid with interest and usually secured by collateral pledged by the business in case it can’t repay the loan.

On the positive side, debt is relatively inexpensive, especially in today’s low-interest-rate environment. Community banks are often a good place to start your search for small business financing today, since they are generally in better financial condition than big banks. If you do visit a big bank, be sure to talk to someone in the area of the bank that focuses on small business financing and lending.

Keep in mind that it takes more diligence and transparency on the part of small businesses in order to maintain a lending relationship in today’s credit environment. Most banks have expanded their reporting and recordkeeping requirements considerably and are looking more closely at collateral to make sure businesses are capable of repaying the amount of money requested.

Venture Capital Companies – Unlike banks, which loan money and are paid interest, venture capital companies are investors who receive shares of ownership in the companies they invest in. This type of small business financing is known as equity financing. Private equity firms and angel investors are specialized types of venture capital companies.

While equity financing does not have to be repaid like a bank loan, it can end up costing much more in the long run. Why? Because each share of ownership you give to a venture capital company in exchange for small business financing is an ownership share with an unknown future value that’s no longer yours. Also, venture capital companies sometimes place restrictive terms and conditions on financing, and they expect a very high rate of return on their investments.

Commercial Finance Companies – These non-traditional money lenders provide a specialized type of small business financing known as asset-based lending (or ABL). There are two primary types of ABL: factoring and accounts receivable (A/R) financing.

With factoring, companies sell their outstanding receivables to the finance company at a discount of usually between 2-5%. So if you sold a $10,000 receivable to a factor, for example, you might receive between $9,500-$9,800. The benefit is that you would receive this cash right away, instead of waiting 30, 60 or 90 days (or longer). Factoring companies also perform credit checks on customers and analyze credit reports to uncover bad risks and set appropriate credit limits.

With A/R financing, you would borrow money from the finance company and use your accounts receivable as collateral. Companies that want to borrow in this way should be able to demonstrate strong financial reporting capabilities and a diverse customer base without a high concentration of sales to any one customer.

How to Prepare

Regardless of which type of small business financing you decide to pursue, your preparation before you approach a potential lender or investor will be critical to your success. Banks, in particular, are taking a much more critical look at small business loan applications than many did in the past. They are requesting more background from potential borrowers in the way of tax returns (both business and personal), financial statements and business plans.

Lenders are focusing on what are sometimes referred to as the five Cs of credit:

o Character: Does the company have a strong reputation in its community and industry?

o Capital: Lenders usually like to see that owners have invested some of their personal money in the business, or that they have some of their own “skin in the game.”

o Capacity: Financial ratios help lenders determine how much debt a company should be able to take on without stressing the finances.

o Collateral: This is a secondary source of repayment in case a borrower defaults on the loan. Most lenders prefer collateral that is relatively easy to convert to cash, especially equipment and real estate.

o Conditions: Conditions in the borrower’s industry and the overall economy in general will play a big factor in a lender’s decisions.

Before you meet with any type of lender or investor, be prepared to explain to them specifically why you believe you need financing or capital, as well as how much capital you need and when and how you will pay it back (if a loan) or what kind of return on investment a venture capital company can expect. Also be prepared to discuss specifically what the money will be used for and what kind of collateral you are prepared to pledge to support the loan, as well as your sources of repayment and what measures you will take to ensure repayment if your finances get tight.

You should also ensure that your financial statements and records are current and that your internal control systems are adequate for handling the level of accounting and bookkeeping lenders and investors expect.

Small Business Financing – The Money For Small Businesses is Out There

There are so many sources of small business financing you can access everywhere. Entrepreneurs certainly can capitalize their businesses from these small business financing opportunities that will be elaborated one by one in this article.

Business financing is often to be found on certain sources of organizations such as government, banks, investors and venture capitalist. It is imperative to take note on what the lenders need when you propose loan to them. Lenders will want to know about your business history to see whether your business has executed the business beneficially or not. They will also review track record of your company management. Poor demonstrated proposals, incompetent collateral, inadequate cash flow and deficiency of management are the general causes of numerous small business failures and these will become negative considerations for them. What you need to bring to them are the opposite ones and also a proven positive credit history that will support you to get a loan.

Now let us discuss the four primary sources of small business financing.

Government Sources (Small Business Administration or SBA)

These sources are common loan guarantee programs that will cut down the risk for lenders. SBA is supported by business experts who will provide consultation to business owners before they submit their proposals to the lenders.

a. The 7(a) loan guarantee program: This program offers repayment guarantees ranging from 75-85ir% depending on the size of the loan. Typically, this program assists small business which lack of adequate collateral.

b. The SBA Low Doc loan program: The approval time of this program will be around two or three days after the Small Business Administration receive the applications. There is just one form to be filled in for these loans.

c. The SBA Express loan program: This program addresses loans up to $250,000. The interest rate of this program perhaps higher than the other SBA programs, but this program can be categorized as loan guarantee programs with quick procedure.

d. Micro Loans: The loans are brought in by non profit community based organizations for totals up to $35,000.

Common or Traditional Lenders

These lenders are primary sources of loans to small businesses. They are credit unions, banks and finance institutions. Many of these companies have professionally experienced addressing the business loans and hold a small business section.

Venture Capitalists

With a high profit potency, these sources are ordinarily business firms that are awaiting investment chances in businesses or companies.

Individual Investors

These are usually personal investors who have lower amounts to invest than venture capitalists with investments chain from $100,000 to $1 Million and they are searching beneficial opportunities in a broad diversity of businesses.

From above mentioned sources, we know that small business financing are available out there. Therefore it is time to prepare your proposal to approach the institution that match to your needs as well as your qualifications.

Small Business Finance the Smart Way

Are you a small business owner? If you are, you’ll know that running a small business is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do in your life. You’re the company’s spokesperson, owner, founder, advertiser and investor. You are its inspiration. It is your livelihood and your passion. And like all passions it is all consuming.

It has you crunching numbers when you should be sleeping. It has you sketching out ideas on napkins in restaurants when you should be eating. But like any love affair the irritations are worth it. You know that almost nothing in your life can match the highs that your business gives you. So stick with it! Give your business all your heart and soul. But be sensible when it comes to your cash.

Business Finance.

Starting your business can be incredibly costly. Buying the machinery, renting the premises, purchasing the advertising space… well you get the picture, you’ve been there. You are also probably aware that the cost of kicking your business into life is so high it can affect your businesses ability to grow later on down the line.

You’ve established yourself as a great business; you know you have the ability to expand and to grow. But you just don’t have the cash to do it. But what is the best way to get that much needed cash injection? You don’t want to be taken for a ride. This is why you need to know about business finance.

Small Business Cost.

The first thing to do when you start investigating small business finance is to look carefully at what you want to achieve. Having clear goals is one of the basic rules of success in business. If you are going to borrow money to support your business you must have a clear aim in mind. That way you can easily track the success of any investment and see how much, making your small business grow will cost. So, determine what you want. Are you purchasing assets, such as land or machinery, or stock? Or are you looking to improve your market position through advertising, or expand into new markets? Whatever you’re doing be clear about your goals.

Small Business Finance.

There are two types of small business finance available to you. The first is the more traditional and common form, known as ‘debt finance’. This involves your company lending money from a financial institution, usually your bank. There are up sides to this deal, you get your cash and you keep all your business. You do have to pay more back than you borrowed in the first place, with the onus on you to repay as soon as possible.

However, if you have clearly identified a use for your money this should present no problem to you and allow you to expand quickly. This is why it is the route taken by the majority of small businesses. If you fail to pay back the money you have borrowed however the consequences are severe, as part of the agreement will involve collateral. Often, this could be your house.

A less common option is that of ‘equity finance’. Ever seen the TV show Dragon’s Den? Then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Equity finance is when an investor gives you the cash you need and in return you give him a share, or a stake of your business. As the investor has no assurances, unlike the bank, he or she requires a much greater pay off if things go well. They want some of those profits! However if things don’t work out, you won’t be sleeping in the streets!

Your Future.

So there are plenty of ways you can offset your small business cost. Small business finance is easy to get if you pitch correctly and your business is heading in the right direction. Whichever mode of business finance you choose make sure you keep following the dream and your passion might end up making you millions.