Alternative Financing Options for Your Business
Alternative Financing Options for Your Business Do you own a growing business that needs financing? If you are like most business owners, whenever your business needs money you head over to the bank. Unfortunately, as most small business owners soon find out, most banks do not lend money to businesses unless they have significant collateral and a history of successful operations. This presents quite a challenge for business owners. When banks are not an option, small business owners turn to what is known as the alternative financing funding market. Although the financing options discussed in this article fall under the alternative financing category, they are actually quite widely used and should be considered mainstream. Most major companies (including public companies) have used this alternative financing at one time or another during their growth history. Most of the tools described in this article can only be used by businesses that are already in operation, and whose main requirement is working capital. Although startups can benefit from these tools, the companies will need to be in operation for a little while and have a growing list of clients. General Invoice Factoring Invoice factoring (also known as accounts receivable factoring) is an ideal for business owners who cannot afford to wait 30 to 90 days to get paid by their clients. It allows a business to sell invoices from commercial customers to a financing company for immediate payment. The factoring company buys the invoices at a discount and waits for the customer to pay. The main advantage of factoring your invoices is that the financing company makes its decision using the credit of the payer, rather than yours. That means that if you own a small company that is doing business with a large credit worthy company, you’ll almost certain to get the transaction approved. Another advantage of factoring is that it does not have set limits like lines of credit do. The level of financing is limited only by the amount you sell to credit worthy clients. General factors can work with most industries, although there are two main industry subspecialties – freight bill factoring and medical factoring. Freight Bill Invoice Factoring Trucking companies tend to be very cash hungry businesses. The owners need money to pay their drivers, pay gasoline and pay suppliers. However, most trucking companies also work with a high volume of freight invoices from credit worthy clients. That makes freight bill factoring an ideal solution for their cash flow issues. Just like in general factoring, the factoring company buys the freight invoices from the trucking company for immediate cash. However, the risk for these types of transactions is lower than in general factoring. This means that trucking companies can qualify for preferential financing terms. Medical Factoring Most medical industry businesses (doctor’s offices, hospitals, medical testing centers and medical supply companies) make the bulk of their earning by billing 3rd party insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for paying their invoices in 30 to 90 days, creating cash flow problems at the medical office. Factoring medical offices is a subspecialty of general factoring. Given the complexities of the insurance industry, it usually requires that participation of a factoring company with extensive industry experience. Generally speaking the medical factoring company will provide you with financing based on your NET collectables rather then your gross collectables. They will also need to be part of the billing process, to ensure that the finance the right amounts. Due to its complexity, medical factoring is only accessible to medical businesses making at least $100,000 a month. However if your business qualifies for it, you will find that it is a great tool to streamline your cash flow and grow. Purchase Order Funding (a.k.a. PO Financing) Most distributors and import/export companies tend to be very cash hungry business, in part because of how the sales process works. Usually, the process starts when the distributor gets a purchase order (PO) from a client. Then they go and purchase the items from their supplier, who then drop ships it to the end customer. This works well as long as the company has enough money to pay the suppliers and wait for their client to pay for the product. However, sometimes, a payment can take up to 60 or 90 days to arrive, creating a big cash flow challenge for the distributor. Other times, the company may become too successful and get a purchase order that is too big for them to finance. In these instances, the company should consider purchase order funding financing. With PO financing, a finance company handles your supplier payments and ensures that the goods are properly delivered. Once the client pays for the product, the transaction is settled and all parties are paid. PO funding is a product that truly allows you to grow your company – sometimes exponentially – while using someone else’s money.
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