It’s a mine field out there! And some of the decisions you make around financing working capital can be beneficial, or costly! depending on the business finance loan or arrangement you ultimately choose. And whats probably worse is making that type of decision without knowing all your options.
When we meet with clients we often find we are talking about all sorts of unique situations – perhaps the company has expanded too quickly. In some cases interest expenses on long term debts and leases and equipment loans are severely eating into profits. It’s of course a vicious cycle and one difficult to get out of – with those liquidity challenges around financing working capital leading to some serious problems.
The signs are usually quite clear – in hindsight, not when you’re in the thick of the weeds. We often think of how easy it sometimes probably is for folks to write those ‘business cases’ in MBA classes about what went wrong and why. Probably would have been a bit more difficult for them if they were like you, in the thick of it.
So what are some of those danger signs in cash flow financing and business working capital loan scenarios? Those warning signs are often called ‘ overtrading ‘. Symptoms include very strong growth in sales, dwindling profits, lack of knowledge around short term and long term financing options, no cash flow budges, high leverage ( that’s too much debt by the way !) and slow moving or other inventory issues . Talk about a plethora of problems!
Working capital loans are in fact available in Canada. They are limited, but available. A pure working capital loan is most commonly a term loan, for cash, with fixed repayments and terms of typically three to five years. To get this loan you need to demonstrate historical and future cash flow. Many of the problems we pointed out above in overtrading don’t really often make your firm a candidate for this type of financing. Larger companies are in the same position – these loans are then called mezzanine loans or sub debt type financings. Bottom line, those same cash flow qualifications.
There are some methods of enhancing your working capital that many of the clients we talk to don’t think about. Simply negotiating better terms with favored suppliers is a good one. Also, earlier we spoke of Canadian business owners who knew they had a problem but weren’t aware of possible solutions.
One of those solutions is a working capital facility that monetizes your inventory and receivables. These facilities, a sub set of asset based lending are more expensive usually than bank financing but boy do they solve the problem. Other alternatives are bridge loans on existing equipment, aka the infamous ‘ sale lease back ‘.
Never also forget the fundamentals – i.e. a good cash flow plan, solid inventory management, etc.
We’ll never know why but every business owner seems to think their situation is unique. Sometimes it is, but more often than not these are classic business finance challenges faced by all. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor on the problem, and more importantly, the solutions!