Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Frequently Asked Questions About Compounding Pharmacies

If you are facing the need to use a compounding pharmacy for the first time, there’s little doubt that you have questions. Compounding pharmacies are available, but they are not commonly used by most patients. Here are the most frequently asked questions about these pharmacies.What Is a Compounding Pharmacy?In essence, this type of pharmacy is one that customizes medications that are not commercially available. Medications are prescribed by a physician, veterinarian, or other medical provider. The medications are then compounded, or put together, by a state-licensed pharmacist. These pharmacies are typically utilized for people and animals that have unique health concerns that commercially available medications cannot address.Are These Types Of Medications Safe?You must understand that compounded medications are off-label. This means that the FDA does not approve them. That said, compounded medications are considered safe when put together and sold by reputable pharmacists. Before you order or ask for a compounded medication, ask your doctor to recommend a pharmacist or pharmacy. Not all professionals are skilled in the art of compounding medications.Why Do I Need This Medication?There are a variety of reasons why you may need a compounded medication. For example, if your pain management drug is difficult for you to swallow, your pharmacist may suggest a liquid or transdermal version. If you are experiencing sensitivity to an ingredient in your hormone replacement, your doctor may have a medication compounded without that particular ingredient.Compounded pharmacies also make medications for veterinary patients. Often, flavoring is added or liquid is made in order to increase palatability for a pet.Where Do Medication Ingredients Come From?The ingredients that are put into compounded medications come from the same suppliers as the big pharmaceutical companies. These companies are inspected and regulated by the FDA. The ingredients in your compounded medications are considered safe for consumption.Who Regulates These Pharmacies?Just like typical pharmacies, compounded pharmacies and pharmacists are licensed at the state level. There is also an entity known as the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) that has developed national standards that compounding pharmacies must follow.Does the FDA Inspect Compounding Pharmacies?The FDA does not inspect compounding pharmacies, but this should not dissuade you from making use of their services. The FDA does not inspect typical pharmacies. The regulation of pharmacies and pharmacists has always been handled by individual states. The FDA does, as has been stated, inspect and regulate the facilities that produce the ingredients that go into these medications.Compounding pharmacies are on the rise as people become more aware of them. Up until the 20th century, all pharmacies were of the compounding type. It wasn’t until just a century ago that the pharmacies we are used to seeing today arose. If your doctor suggests a compounded medication, you can feel safe in taking it. Follow the same safety protocols as you would with a typical medication, and speak with your doctor should you experience any adverse events.

Brain Nutrition – The Importance of Nourishing Your Greedy Brain

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” When it comes to the brain, our most important organ, this idea that we become what we put into our bodies through nutrition takes on even greater meaning. The importance of brain nutrition becomes quite obvious when we consider a few key factors. The brain consumes a disproportionately large portion of the nutrients ingested by the body. The function of brain cells is heavily impacted by these nutrients available in the brain. The functioning of our brain cells determines how we function. Thus our mood, attention, memory, etc., are all functions of brain nutrition.The Greedy Brain – Why 40 Percent Of All Your Nutritional Intake Is Actually Brain NutritionOur intelligent body knows how important the brain is and so allocates its resources accordingly, allowing the brain to consume a disproportionately large portion of the nutrients we ingest. The brain weighs only 1 to 2 percent of your total body weight, but 20 percent of the air you breathe, 25 percent of your blood flow, 30 percent of the water you ingest, and 40 percent of the nutrition in your bloodstream is sent to be consumed by the brain. This means that 40 percent of your nutritional intake can be directly thought of as brain nutrition.Nutrition’s Powerful Influence Over Brain FunctionNutrients available to the brain have a huge impact on the healthy functioning of our brain cells or neurons. Nutrients affect neuronal function either directly, being metabolized without precursors, or indirectly, by affecting production of other substances in the brain that determine brain cell function.The billions of brain cells or neurons communicate via neurotransmitters — including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — that send signals through the brain’s complex of pathways. Brain function is determined in large part by the action of these chemical messengers. Losing mental agility in old age, for example, may result from the brain cells’ failing to communicate effectively rather than from cell death. Proper brain nutrition influences the production and action of neurotransmitters. For instance, research shows higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in lab rats that are fed blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants. Dopamine, in turn, is important for cognition, motivation, mood, attention, and learning.Other examples of nutrients which affect brain function include tyrosine, an amino acid found in protein which also supports the action of important neurotransmitters; the mineral magnesium, which can reduce hyperactivity and irritability; and omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve mood, attention, and alertness.Brain Nutrition Is Super Important To Your Well-being And Your LifeThus, nutrition has a huge impact on how we feel, think, and function. Our emotions, our memory, our ability to concentrate and accomplish tasks, and hence our lives are heavily impacted by what we put into our bodies, be it food, nutritional supplements, or drugs.Makes you think twice about eating that big mac or drinking that coke, doesn’t it? Makes you want to check the nutritional information of everything you buy at the grocery store, right? It makes you want to find out exactly what foods and supplements are beneficial for brain function and which are detrimental. You might think to yourself: what a drag! Well, the negative impact of ignorance on your brain is an even bigger drag. Knowledge is power. Now go and use brain nutrition to empower your mind and your life!