Using Non-Bank Lenders to Fund Short-Term or Transitional Business Financing Needs

The Challenge: Traditional Bank Lenders usually don’t like funding businesses during periods of variable cash flow or unpredictable collateral – e.g., periods of very high business growth, or on the flip side, reduced operating performance.

The Solution: Non-Bank (Alternative) Lenders specializing in asset based lending or those that provide short term bridge loans can often look beyond the turbulence of a transitional period to fill a company’s funding needs until the business is able to return to a traditional lending relationship.

Key Considerations for Borrowers:

  • Cash is King: Focus on the cash availability and debt service of the alternative loan, not the interest rate
  • Do the Rewards Outweigh the Cost of Capital?: If the benefit of the taking on the new business is greater than the cost of the capital, high interest rates may be well worth it
  • Plan Your Exit: Develop a clear plan at the outset to move back to a bank from an alternative capital source

Bank Lenders don’t like lending money to businesses when cash flow and/or collateral is in flux, for example:

  • Example A: A business goes through a heavy growth spurt causing either a significant inventory buildup that requires additional working capital financing, or creating a period with uncertain future cash flows and perhaps inadequate collateral coverage depending on the cash conversion cycle; or
  • Example B: A business experiences a difficult operating period due to, for example, an operational restructuring, a sales force realignment or miscalculating the scope of a major project- creating negative cash flows or earnings

In such circumstance like these, a bank lender may reduce available funds (e.g., increase the reserve in a borrowing base or carve out specific collateral), ask for additional collateral or simply ask the company to find another lender.

Non-Bank Lenders are often willing to look beyond the turbulence of a transitional period to understand and structure around the real risks in order to get comfortable providing the necessary capital

Alternative lenders are structured to lend into periods of uncertainty – they usually have greater flexibility to tailor their loans to:

  • Provide additional growth capital during periods of rapid expansion, not penalizing a business for investing as may traditional lenders
  • Fund a business in the early stages of a demonstrated turnaround, much earlier than when a traditional lender would lend

Alternative lenders also provide more flexible terms (cash debt service, amortization, loan maturity, covenants) and cash availability than do traditional lenders, and for this they charge higher interest rates.

Key Considerations when Borrowing from a Non-Bank (Alternative) Lender:

Businesses turn to non-bank or alternative lenders when traditional lenders won’t provide the needed capital or bank terms are too restrictive. Here are several key considerations when evaluating an alternative loan:

  • Cash matters most so focus on required cash debt service (principal and interest), not the loan’s interest rate
  • Often the total debt service for an alternative loan at a higher interest rate will be lower than the total debt service of a traditional bank loan because of much lower principal payments
  • If the benefit of taking on the new business exceeds the cost of borrowing, high interest rates may be worth every penny
  • Have a realistic plan for moving back to a traditional lender before you take on a bridge loan
  • Make sure the loan will provide a cash cushion if the transition takes longer, or costs more, than expected
  • Ask yourself – does the lender understand my company and appreciate me as a customer? The answer should always be yes. If it’s not, find a lender that does

Guess What Your Business Needs? Working Capital and Small Business Finance Loan/Loans Options

Just picture your firm having access to all the working capital you need. Seem impossible? Not really… if you have a solid understanding of your options and your firms capability of qualifying or executing on those options.

Whether you’re the largest corporation in Canada or a small new start up (and everything in between) your business needs working capital. In Canada small business financing loans and financing arraignments for working capital are limited to a handful of possibilities – but being aware of what they are and qualifying for them could be the solution to your constant focus on cash flow via some sort of working capital loan.

It is probably easier than you think to ensure you are addressing the cash flow challenge correctly – where it gets somewhat ‘ thorny ‘ is matching a solution to the problem or locating an expert that can provide you with the business financing assistance you need.

Two key elements of your first step working capital assessment are your gross margins and your turnover. That’s the big problem we have with text book / academic solutions to working capital – they point you to the text book calculation – give you a formula which essentially has you subtracting current liabilities form current assets, and voila! the inference is you have working capital. However, our clients have never paid a supplier or completed a company payroll with a ratio!

To properly assess your working capital needs focus on understanding your turnover – how much inventory do you carry, what are the days outstanding in inventory, and as importantly, or more importantly, are your receivables turning over. Have you realized that for many firms 80% or so of the total of all the business assets you have are tied up in A/R, inventory, and, on the other size of the balance sheet let’s not forget payables.

So can you have financial success based on your new found knowledge and analysis of your cash flow and asset turnover. We think you can.

Canadian business financing solutions to small business finance loans really revolve around a couple viable solutions. Typically, in our experience Canadian chartered banks cant satisfy your business working capital needs – if only for the reason that they rarely finance inventory and require significant merit in your overall financials, profitability, external collateral, personal credit worthiness, etc.

So, where do you go from there? The other solutions are very viable and can take you to a potential 100% turn around in cash flow – they include working capital financing as a bundled line of credit on a/r and inventory via an independent finance company. For firms that are larger we believe the ultimate tool is an asset based line o f credit that provides high leverage margining on all you business assets. Other more esoteric solutions, but still very viable although somewhat misunderstood are securitization, and purchase order financing of new contracts and orders. (Your suppliers are paid directly for the orders you have in hand – what could be better than that?)

Finally, coming up the road at lightening speed is factoring and invoice discounting. We mention them lastly but they are probably the most popular method, gaining traction everyday. Our favorite is confidential invoice financing, allowing you to control your financing.

So there you have it. You have identified new ways to determine the need; we have outlined 4 or 5 solutions that will take the guess work out of working capital. These loan and financing options are available with a bit of research, and, if you choose, speak to a Canadian business financing advisor who can provide you with timely and valuable assistance in your cash flow needs.

Working Capital Loan: Guide to the Different Types of Working Capital Funding for Businesses

Every business, at some point, requires some form of financial assistance. If you find that you simply need more money to fund your company’s day-to-day operations, then you will want to apply for a working capital loan. The sooner you can get an approval, the better, as this kind of loan helps pay for a business’ short-term operational requirements. Companies that rely on seasonal profits or cyclical sales tend to need capital to help out during periods of reduced activity. Retailers, for example, generally sell more products during the 4th quarter around holiday season than at any other time. Manufacturers have sales that correlate to the needs of the retailers who buy from them.

The great thing about a working capital loan is that the funding is immediate. This kind of loan is also easy to obtain for the most part, and allows company owners to efficiently cover up any gaps in their capital expenditures. It is also a type of debt financing that doesn’t require an equity transaction. This means that you, as the business owner, will still maintain full control of your company.

There are a few different types of working capital loans, with the most common being “working capital short-term loans”. These provide the business with a lump sum that must be paid back over a shorter period of time, usually within 18 months. You might also want to apply for a working capital line of credit, which will give you access to some funds that you can use whenever you need to.

Other Options Besides a Working Capital Loan

Other options include invoice financing and merchant cash advances. With the latter, you get an advance sum of cash which you will be expected to pay back by allowing the lender to take a certain percentage of your company’s credit card sales. It’s the costliest kind of capital a business can get, but it’s also very easy to get approved for. If you haven’t established a good credit rating, you really might have to consider this.

As for invoice financing, it is a solution for companies whose working capital depends on customers paying invoices. If the customers have been late, these companies have difficulty finding the cash they need for the daily operations. So the invoice financing helps the business owners gain access to capital immediately.

If you are interested in any type of working capital loan, the best place to look into is US Business Funding. They are committed to offering financial solutions to help small and medium sized businesses grow. There is a 60 second approval process and 24-hour funding process.