Copyright (c) 2007 Thomas Husnik
One of the challenges of getting started in any type of business structure be it corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship is getting financing to start or to maintain daily operations. Typically you will have determined what you need for starting up and maintaining operations in your business plan and will go seek a loan from commercial lenders. And the lenders are all different too. They all have different requirements and some have perks to offer for your business. But before you shop for a lender you should know what is available in the way of corporate business financing.
When shopping around for commercial loans and trying to figure out this corporate financing game, the topic of cash flow will no doubt be referred to. Cash flow is the one aspect of a business that can make it work and lack of it can destroy it. If you have any experience with business at all, you know that there will be a delay from the time a business first starts to when the invoices start getting paid. Yet during this time, the corporation still has bills and salaries to pay. Expenses also include paying suppliers just so that they can fill their own purchase orders. Try explaining cash flow to your employees when they have not been paidnot a good scenario. Or, try explaining to your supplier why you have not paid its invoices. This is why you need corporate financing.
One corporate financing option you might be offered has to do with loaning you money based upon the number of outstanding purchase orders you have. They way it works is the suppliers you use to fill your purchase orders are paid directly by the lender. This type of commercial lending program gives you cash flow because your suppliers are taken care of and you can use money for other things. Plus, you can take advantage of any supplier early payment discounts.
Another popular form of corporate financing is known as receivables factoring. How this works is a receivables factoring company will loan your corporation money based upon the value of receivables still open. Your invoices are an asset and are basically collateral for the loan. Factoring is great if a corporation does not want to incur further debt but needs a portion of the money it is owed in order to conduct day-to-day business operations. The factoring company will verify the invoices you want to factor and then loan you a significant portion of the money and hold back a small percentage. The end customer you have invoiced will actually pay the factoring company (even though the check is still made out to your company). When the invoice is paid, the amount held back is returned to your company and the factoring company takes its fees from it.
And of course there are commercial loans for your corporation that is based upon your fixed assets. These loans are secured by equipment or commercial real estate your corporation holds so you will probably get longer payment terms and lower interest.
And commercial lenders may have other programs to help you keep your cash flow at a state that is good for the health of your business without incurring a lot of burdensome debt. Shop around and get all the details before making your decision and prepare a good business plan.