Businesses need to in essence estimate the funds they will need ' over time'. We say over time because those funds will cover different periods in the company's growth.Broadly speaking we can call this ' business financial planning '; however the whole process is somewhat more complicated due to the external financial and economic environment.
Naturally after a firm develops some solid estimates around capital and growth needs the question then becomes 'How much of this funding should be borrowed via debt?'Contrary to what management and financial mangers understand, debt is actually the cheapest for long term financing, supplemented of course by the fact that the interest on the debt is tax deductible.
So should the business owner or financial executive take on all that debt? Clearly too much debt will restrict and potentially damage the firm, and perhaps even exposing the company to failure. Having said all that the business owner still then has a legitimate right to ask "What is the appropriate amount of debt for my company then?"The answer is that a company has to plan towards finding a target debt ratio, or capacity that reflects their business and industry, as well as the concerns of any of the owners, re: guarantees, etc.
The essence of the business owner's analysis is the ability to understand the company cash flows which will pay down, or service that debt. Most business owners don't do enough planning in this area, and their analysis needs to be much more formalized.Company owners quickly understand that because there is a limit to how much debt a company can take on, there has potentially to be an influx of owner or equity capital. Business owners and equity investors at that time have to have a strong sense of the value of the company both currently and on a longer term basis.
Practically speaking entrepreneurs and business people in all business sectors and in companies of all sizes are never going to be always eligible for either Venture capital or traditional financing, most commonly associated with Canadian chartered bank finance.It sounds almost too simple but the famous 3 C's of business credit (actually its personal credit also) can help the business owner /financial manager determine if they are eligible for the full amount of the funding they might need. (In many cases they will be eligible, but not for the full amount of borrowing they require to run/grow).So those C's?
They are the world famous (to finance people at least) character, capacity and capital. Traditional financiers are of course risk adverse so when debt is high, or your growth is rampant that's when alternative financing must and should be considered.Some examples of alternative financial solutions include:
Inventory /PO / Contract funding
Sale leaseback and bridge loans
Private equity loans
Asset based non bank lines of credit
Business owners must be totally focused in the current environment of understanding the current realities of loan and debt negotiation. It is here an experienced advisor can become invaluable.
Quality of the lending partner becomes key here. Most business owners eventually realize that all the banks have, give or take the same rates. They don't have the same people though! Therefore quality of service and commitment from the lender becomes ultra important.In summary, business owners need to constantly assess their needs for debt or equity capital.
Those needs are immediate, intermediate, or over the longer term. Cash flow and owner philosophy on borrowing will dictate how much capital, and as we have seen, from where it comes. Owners that plan and understand the borrowing market will be more successful than those that do not. Seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your business funding needs.