The shock has probably worn off by now. We’re referring of course to the business owner and financial managers realization that sales don’t equal cash flow and that your management of working capital might just be your key to short and long term survival.
So what type of finance company or institution can help you in the access to liquidity? The reality is that every industry needs a different level of working capital. That relationship of your assets to your turnover to your cash on hand is what is going to make the final call on what type of loans you might need for your cash flow management solution.
And we will add that you might find that ‘ loans’ or bringing on additional debt to your balance sheet is not only the wrong solution, but you have alternative non loan solutions!
The reason you are looking at your working capital situation hinges probably on two areas, your firm is growing too quickly, or you have asset management challenges or problems with inventory and receivables. So hopefully you can now see that what working capital management is all about comes down to matching the financing you need to the assets and equity you have on your balance sheet. As your business and profits grow the owner equity component grows also
So are loans the solutions to your cash flow challenge (or crisis?!). Sometimes, but definitely not all the time. The long term solution to a cash flow management solution might in fact be a working capital term loan, in effect injecting long term capital into your business. If you can qualify for this loan, which is more often than not unsecured, it certainly is an option. Larger loans of this nature are called subordinated debt, but cash flow term loans are available for almost all firms – generally the minimum being 50k, but as we noted, going to several million dollars depending on the size of your firm.
But why would you borrow externally and bring debt onto your balance sheet when the solution is inside your business, not outside? Clients are often surprised when they find out that two other solutions, and not loans, are possible.
We’re talking about asset based lines of credit, which are generally non bank in nature, meaning they are offered by private finance firms. Rates on such facilities can be competitive to bank rates, but more often than not come at a premium. However your ability to, in many cases, double your working capital liquidity can significantly increase profits and sales. Just think about it, if you can double sales, keep your overhead costs relatively fixed, the additional profits you generate can easily cover your new increased financing costs.
The other solution we will mention is the sales of receivables. This type of financing brings zero new debt on to your balance sheet, improves your cash position, and provides immediate cash flow for growth. Perceived as expensive and non traditional it is gaining traction with Canadian business every day. In effect it is the trade off you have between growth and survival and additional financing cost, of a non loans nature.
In summary, working capital loans can come from external finance company sources. Alternatively you can become your own finance company by managing and monetizing your assets in a variety of ways. Speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business advisor to determine which solutions work best for your firm.