Article is a condensed excerpt from the book, “Solving the Capital Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses”. The article provides five sources of financing that small business owners do not typically consider when pursuing start-up or expansion capital. The article also explains succinctly how and when to access the alternative financing. Topics covered: Seller financing, barter, strategic investors, suppliers, and strategic partners.
Capital is the crucial ingredient for any business to grow. This holds true whether you are a one-person firm with minimal revenue or a 100-person company with significant sales. Yet so many entrepreneurs and business owners complain about how difficult it is to attain. Here are just five of the numerous ways to access capital taken from the informative new book, Solving the Capital Equation. Use these ideas to spark your creative thought process and get the money you need to elevate your business.
· Form strategic partnerships. Consider the following: Who is already reaching your client or customer base? Who offers products or services that may be a great fit for your client or customer base? Who has a skill set or functional expertise that your firm lacks? All of these entities would make great prospective partners. Identify them, then craft a win/win partnership. Why spend money you do not have when you have something else of value to offer them – your firm’s product and services! You can use partners to access the sales force, marketing, IT, accounting, management expertise – to name just a few – of the services you would otherwise have to pay for.
· Barter. As a business owner, you have a product or service that someone wants. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in business. You can barter these products or services for those products and services you need to grow your business or service your customer. Or you could barter for personal items that you would typically have to withdraw funds from the company to pay yourself then pay for directly. You can barter for advertising, travel, legal or accounting services, televisions, landscaping, cleaning services…
· Find a strategic investor. Is there a larger company that would benefit directly from your service or product offering? If so, contact them. If you can convince them that your company can directly or indirectly positively impact their bottom line either through a sales increase or a cost reduction, you are likely to garner financing in the form of direct equity, a loan, use of their credit, prepaid contracts, or payment of development costs. Look around. Potential strategic investors abound.
· Tap your suppliers. Are you trying to rapidly expand your business and need money to pay your suppliers? Why not ask your supplier to advance you the money? If your expansion will contribute a sizable portion of your supplier’s annual receipts, you can induce the vendor to provide a 12-18 month loan by promoting how he/she stands to benefit. At the least, negotiate a 90-day payment arrangement.
· Seller finance. Who knows the business or asset better than the person or entity selling it? If you are growing your business through acquiring other businesses, seek seller financing. Give them a lien against the business so they get the business back if you default. Suggest it as a way for you to know you are getting what you paid for. Added benefit: reduces risks that the company has hidden problems which greatly decrease its value and that the owner would start another competing business. Provided the following credit is given, you are welcome to reprint this article for free.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“Excerpted from Solving the Capital Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses ©2007 Tiffany C. Wright. Used with permission of Toca Family Publishing. All rights reserved. Tiffany Wright is president of a management consulting firm and a construction services company. For more information visit http://www.tocafamilypublishing.com/Solving.html.”