Basic Principle of Financing

Poor management is often referred to as the main factor of why businesses fail. Lacking or poorly timed financing is a nearby second. Whether you are a starting up business or expanding your business, adequate capital is important. Yet it is insufficient to essentially have enough financing; understanding and planning are necessary to control it well. These qualities will ensure business owners to avoid mistake like having a wrong type of financing, or underestimating the cost of borrowing money.

Ask yourself this question before inquiring about financing:

  • Do you need more capital or can you work on with your existing cash flow?
  • How do you characterize your need?  Do you need the money because you want to expand? Or as a cushion against risk?
  • How vital is your need? You can get the best terms when you foresee your needs rather than looking for money under pressure.
  • How big is your risk? All businesses suffer from risks and danger, and the level of danger will influence expense and accessible financing plan B.
  • How strong is your management team? Management is the most important element surveyed by money sources.

Possibly most importantly, how does your need for financing mesh with your business plan? If you don’t have a business plan, make writing one your first priority. All capital sources will want to see your plan for the start-up and growth of your business.

Don’t assume all money is similar

There are two types of financing: equity and debt financing. If you are looking for money you should consider your business debt to equity ratio – the difference relatively concerning dollars you’ve borrowed along with dollars you’ve invested in your organization. The harder money masters include invested in the organization, the more it really is for you to entice loan.

If your company has an excessive percentage of equity to debt, you may want to seek debt financing but if your company has a high percentage of debt to equity, experts say you should increase your ownership capital for added funds. In this way you will not be over-leverage to the point of ruining your company’s welfare.

Equity Financing and Venture Capital

Most small scale businesses use limited equity financing but with debt financing, additional equity mostly come from non-professional investors like friends, relatives, employees or customers. However, the most common source of professional equity funding comes from venture capitals. These are institutional risk takers and may be groups of wealthy individuals, government-assisted sources, or major financial institutions. Most specialize in one or a few closely related industries.

Venture capitals are sometimes seen as deep-pocketed financial gurus looking for start-ups in which to invest their money, but they most often prefer three-to-five-year old companies with the potential to become major regional or national concerns and return higher-than-average profits to their shareholders. Venture Capitals earn money by owning equity in the companies it invests in. They generally prefer to influence a business passively, but will react when a business does not perform as expected and may insist on changes in management or strategy. Changing some of the decision-making and some of the potential for profits are the main disadvantages of equity financing.

Debt Financing

Banks, savings and loans, commercial finance companies, and the SBA are some of the sources for debt financing. State and the local government have come up with programs in the recent years to give encouragement to the growth of small business to help increase the economy. Family members, friends, and former associates are all potential sources, especially when capital requirements are smaller.

Banks traditionally have been the major source of small business funding. Their main role has been as a short-term lender offering demand loans, seasonal lines of credit, or single-purpose loans. Banks generally have been unwilling to offer long-term loans to small firms. The SBA guaranteed lending program encourages banks and non-bank lenders to make long-term loans to small firms by decreasing their risk and leveraging the funds they have available. The SBA’s programs have been an integral part of the success stories of thousands of firms nationally.

In addition to equity considerations, investors or lenders mostly require the borrower’s personal guarantees in case of default. This will assure that the borrower has a sufficient personal interest at stake to give attention to the business. For most borrowers this is a burden, but also an obligation.

 
More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.Funded.com
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Spin Out with a Business Plan

Business plans are a bit like tornados. There is a core that is tightly woven and concentrated and from that core there are a number of spin-offs even as the tornado keeps moving. An effective business plan is always concentrated on the ultimate mission, in constant motion, and ready to spin-off whatever is needed for a long-term successful business.

The power of tornadoes has been witnessed by thousands of folks over the last couple of years. They can wreak incredible damage if anyone or anything in its path is not prepared. The business plan can be a powerful tool for business success but can also cause a lot of damage if it is never amended to take into account what blocks its path. For example, a new competitor enters the marketplace and your business fails to respond because it’s not in the business plan.

High quality business plans are never really completed because they need to keep moving with the market, the customers, the competitors and the economy. One of the reasons so many companies failed during the Great Recession was due to inertia. They insisted on doing business according to the business plan that was not updated to accommodate the new economic conditions. There are also thousands of business that have failed or are failing because they did not respond to changing consumer buyer habits.

Right now there is national big box company relying on showroom floors that is struggling to survive in a market where customers have changed from buying computers and equipment locally to buying online. If the company had stay tuned to the marketplace, and revisited and adapted its business plan, there is a good chance that management would have developed alternative selling strategies that improved its competitive position.

The business plan is the core plan and from it you need to spin out changes, market responses, new opportunities and so on. The core of the business plan does not change from its inception, but the details will change with the competitive environment. The business plan should not be like a tornado wreaking savage damage because it refuses to change course. The path should always be well-defined and obstacles removed through strategic planning.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Brand Your Business to Attract Investors

Investors are going to be attracted to a business that has a strong and reputable brand. When a business is ready to expand and needs a capital injection, having an established brand adds value to the business proposal. A positive brand is a business asset because it differentiates the business. That is the kind of business characteristic investors will look for as part of their business plan analysis.

Investors are well aware that brand recognition gives a company a competitive edge.  A business already established in the marketplace creates a brand image either purposefully or by accident. A brand created purposefully should reflect the positive image and reputation of the business based on the product delivered and the customer service. A brand created by accident may or may not be positive.

Branding is a message sent to the marketplace, but it can also help you deliver a message to investors. Investors know that a good brand image, even if the company is young, is important to future success. Customers are more supportive, and marketing can be more effective when the business has a solid brand image.

Branding can also be the common theme that ties together the business plan, products and services, customers and employees. It is related to the business culture and thus has specific value. Investors considering funding a business will be more likely to do so when the brand image is well accepted in the marketplace and employees can take pride in what they offer customers.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Think Like an Investor and Consider What Leads to Business Failure

To successfully land funding, you need to think like investors when reviewing the business plan. If you were considering lending money to a business what would be one of your first concerns? Naturally it would be the chances of the business failing. An investor lends money with the intent on getting a return on that investment. So it makes sense that the business plan should be evaluated from the same perspective by the business owner.

Small businesses have a high rate of failure according to the Small Business Administration. There have been many studies done to determine why this is so. These studies have identified common errors that businesses make, so you want to consider these problems before they ever become an issue. Realistically, potential investors will have them in mind before agreeing to lend money so being prepared to respond is important.

Typical reasons for small business failure include over-expanding to prove growth to investors, underestimating expenses or overspending, assuming too much debt based on revenues and cash flow and underestimating the competition. Also included on the list are choosing a poor location and lack of capital. The likelihood of these factors occurring in your business will be considered by investors evaluating a business plan.

If you have already thought through the reasons for failure, investors will recognize that fact. For example, location is high on the list of reasons for small business failures. Presentations to investors, therefore, should address the choice of business location and explain the competition and accessibility by customers. Making sure you address the reasons why your business could fail is an important step towards ensuring it doesn’t.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Attract Investors by Improving Cash Flow Before Cash is a Problem

One of the important factors investors consider when evaluating a business plan is the amount of expected cash flow. They scrutinize the assumptions that were made in order to make a determination as to their validity. One of the lessons to be learned from investors is that you can improve your cash flow before you even have cash flow to report.

What does this mean? It means that the steps that are taken to improve cash flow for an ongoing business are the same steps that should be incorporated in the cash flow statement included in a business plan. Sound business practices can and should be used to prepare the cash flow projections. In fact, one of the first rules of cash flow is to prepare a realistic projection. Investors evaluating a business plan will carefully review the assumptions made in view of the marketplace conditions. Sometimes businesses are tempted to overstate cash flow in the belief this increases the chances of funding. However, investors have a lot of experience evaluating cash flow statements and overstatements will be spotted.

When preparing a cash flow projection, you need to consider the factors that influence cash flow during operations. The projection should assume reasonable customer terms and collection policies. The business plan should also reflect market segmentation based on products. For example, the timing of inventory purchases is influenced by the type of products sold. Cash left in the bank will earn interest that can be included in the cash flow statement, while cash invested in inventory is tied up until the inventory is sold.

These are the types of detailed analysis the entrepreneur needs to do long before a business plan is presented to investors. In other words, you want to be able to prove you know how to maximize cash flow based on realistic assumptions and best practices.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Turning a Good Idea into a Prototype Can Attract Investors

When you are looking for investors to fund the manufacturing of a new product, it’s a good idea to have a prototype ready. A prototype by definition is a preliminary model or early sample of a product. It can be used to test a particular concept to make sure it can be turned into reality or can serve as the first sample of something that will be copied once funding is obtained.

Investors like prototypes because it brings a concept to life and proves that the concept is doable. It serves as proof that the business idea can be turned into a practical product that can be sold to customers. A prototype also proves that the entrepreneur or business has fully developed a concept and that the investors are not being asked to fund a pie-in-the-sky

A prototype should be market tested to prove that the product fulfills a customer need. That is like gold to a business and a business plan. Presenting a product that has been tried and accepted by potential customers greatly reduces the level of risk associated with a startup operation. However, small startups should not make the mistake of only testing the product on family and friends and need to introduce the prototype to the real target market. The business plan can include a report on the market testing to accompany the prototype itself. By validating a prototype, the business has tangible proof that the product can be manufactured, the materials are available, and the product design is workable.

Given the competition for investors, developing a prototype can give a business a competitive edge. Prototypes don’t just apply to manufactured products either. Startup software companies and websites develop prototypes to attract investors too. The key is to develop the product to the stage where the investors can easily see its potential success in the marketplace.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

What Investors Want to Find in a Business Plan

Entrepreneurs listen to professionals working with investors tell them over and over again that they need to develop a business plan. Instead of getting help, some managers finally develop one on their own, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that it lacks real effort. Investors are savvy and have read hundreds of business plans so recognize when a plan has been assembled in a haphazard manner.

In other words, you can’t fool the experts. A business plan lacking quality reflects a lack of concern about the business brand and on the business owners and management. A poorly designed business plan also sends a message that the business owners have not taken long range planning seriously and so casts doubt on the ability of the enterprise to succeed over the long term. It will be almost impossible to attract investors with this kind of business plan. Investors need confidence that their funding will be used in a successful business model that will earn the return expected.

What constitutes a poor quality business plan? First, they typically leave out important sections like the market analysis. Secondly, a plan that is poorly organized and difficult to read makes it nearly impossible to find information, and that discourages investors. Third, a business plan filled with typos and grammatical errors indicates that no one read the plan more than once or that it was written quickly with little thought. Fourth, a plan with inadequate research and lacking data and facts that can be verified will also turn investors away.

If you want to ensure investors pay attention to your business plan, then you need to pay attention to it too. To get the attention of investors, entrepreneurs need to develop a solid plan that reflects thoughtfulness, research and long range planning.  A high quality business plan is a blueprint for success, and that’s exactly what investors are looking for – success potential. If you are not comfortable writing a business plan then the first step to take is getting experienced help with the preparation. There is just too much riding on the business plan to do otherwise.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Ready to Compete Globally? Time to Find Investors!

More and more businesses are looking for investors to fund a global expansion. More and more investors are looking for businesses ready to go global. The business landscape is changing rapidly, and small businesses are expanding internationally right along with the big corporations. The internet can probably be named as the primary motivator for this trend because it made it so easy to communicate with people around the world. Orders can be placed with a click of the mouse. Governments recognized the opportunities this created and have created laws and regulations that promote global business.

Naturally, investors want a piece of the action. They are looking for companies that can successfully expand through globalization because the opportunities are unlimited. Of course, participating in international trade can be expensive so it’s not a decision made lightly. Yet there are so many advantages to expanding internationally that it makes sense.

What are those advantages? For one thing, a business can increase sales and thus profits which makes the company more attractive to investors. Other reasons include gaining greater market share, spreading risk by expanding market access, stabilizing seasonal sales cycles and establishing a foundation for unlimited growth. All of these reasons are exactly what can make a business attractive to investors.

Of course, expanding globally takes money. There are import and export fees, expanded production costs, higher shipping costs and the expenses associated with new promotions like marketing and travel. Investors will balance the higher costs to the expected increase in revenues and profits before making a decision. Investors will also weigh the risks associated with the global expansion. This balancing act though is one that the business should have already mastered in the business plan.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Think Twice Before Choosing Crowdfunding When Looking for an Investor

Finding investors often consumes the attention of small business owners. Money is always an issue when businesses are ready to expand. Given the proven power of networking and the power of the internet, it should not be surprising that a new form of equity funding has been developed. Crowdfunding is the new investor kid on the block, and it’s generating a lot of excitement because it seems to cut out the middleman, so to speak.

Crowdfunding was approved by the JOBS Act in April 2012 and allows small business enterprises and startups to directly solicit investors for equity investments. It sounds great at first glance, but for many companies it would be more strategically advantageous to go through a professional fund locator company rather than try to raise equity funding on their own. The details of crowdfunding are still being worked out, but there are already indications that small businesses are viewing this as ‘easy money’. That’s far from the truth.

Crowdfunding will still require the business to prepare a business plan that proves the investment is wise. Crowdfunding involves investors pooling their money. Businesses can then solicit as a maximum $1 million investment. However, each investor will get equity ownership in the business. If the business expands in the future and needs a larger capital amount, success may be hampered by the fact the company now has dozens or hundreds of equity owners. Venture capitalists may not be anxious to get involved in that kind of arrangement.

The best plan is to consult with a professional experienced in raising capital for businesses. Understanding all the ins and outs of new sources of funding is critical before deciding to jump in.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Social Responsibility and Investors

The relationship of corporate social responsibility and investors was studied by Ioannis Ioannou of the London Business School and George Serafeim of the Harvard Business School. The 2010 study was titled, The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations. As the title suggests, the social responsibility strategies were analyzed from the perspective of their influence on security analyst decisions concerning investing in companies.

The results were clear. The value of socially responsible strategies has risen in the minds of investors. The study also reported that firms seen as socially responsible are viewed more favorably by analysts and the more visibility the better. Social responsibility is value creating.

We tend to think of large corporations as being the only firms that need to be concerned about social responsibility. Unfortunately, many also view social responsibility with a bit of cynicism, believing that it’s a ploy to sell products and services. However, if that were true businesses would only do or spend just enough to attract investors and never go beyond the minimum. Yet even small businesses are found in the community as their employees volunteer time and money to local nonprofit efforts in a variety of areas. They help clean up the environment, raise money for hospitals and special causes and sponsor programs in childhood education and adult job training, to name just a few activities.

Social responsibility is a broad concept that addresses ethical business behavior and sensitivity to community issues. Those issues include economic, social and environmental aspects. All companies can increase their value by addressing the needs of its community stakeholders and by following ethical business practices. When businesses increase value, it’s easier to attract investors. Social responsibility is a win-win proposition.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.