“4 out of 5 businesses fail within the first 18 months!” Sound familiar?
How about, “Companies without experienced managers are more likely to crash and burn.”
You’ve undoubtedly heard these quotes about new business ventures.
Sadly, legions of entrepreneurs have come face-to-face with the realization that the companies they’ve built and nurtured from day one were much more likely to fail than they were to succeed.
This is not necessarily due to the entrepreneur’s lack of business acumen. And it doesn’t mean that the products or services they offered were poorly executed. So what could it be?
The truth of the matter is that many businesses fail because of a lack of funding and irregular cash flow. How do you avoid these pitfalls?
Why Traditional Small and Medium Business Funding Doesn’t Work
Traditionally, if you were looking to build your own business you needed two things: an idea and the money to make it happen.
With a fully fleshed out idea, an eager entrepreneur would then approach an investor or financial institution. Both sides would agree to the method of investment (shares or debt) and then determine how interest or dividends will be paid. That’s a pretty typical scenario we’re all used to seeing.
The problem is that many new companies have incredibly volatile start-up years, and very few businesses experience a regular income stream. Failure to make repayments on loans could not only result in penalties, but also a freeze or recall of capital at a crucial time. Or worse, it could force the business to close their doors altogether.
Owners are finding that this “capital rigidity” is no longer the best way to do business in an economy that is seeing more than 500,000 small businesses emerge each and every month in the United States alone.
Because small businesses continue to represent a growing portion of the economy, it is in everyone’s best interest to ensure fledgling enterprises succeed – and that means securing capital.
Insufficient or unreliable capital can cripple an emerging business. Not having enough cash on hand to purchase inventory or hire employees can result in a delay or inability to fulfill orders. Either way, your company’s reputation can take a hit and you may not recover.
This is where creative cash flow solutions come into play. You may not have even realized these were options for your business, but take a closer look. It just may save your business.
Cash Flow Solution #1: Factoring and Invoice Advancements
Rather than funding your business through the use of credit cards or your own personal finances, many entrepreneurs are adopting a better strategy – factoring.
Factoring your ‘accounts receivables’ is essentially selling a company’s account receivables to a third party firm. The third party gets repaid for those accounts once the entrepreneur’s clients have paid up, but in the meantime you get access to cash flow now.
In this way, factoring and invoice advancements act as a short-term loan that allows the business owner to get around the tough loan requirements from a bank.
With that up-front cash, you can invest money in your business operations and execute on your growth strategies in order to secure new accounts and bring more clients into your company. It’s a win-win.
Cash Flow Solution #2: Demand Dividends through private investors
For the micro-enterprise, debt repayments can place a heavy burden on the business owner. That’s where private investment based on your free cash flow can come in handy.
Demand dividends is a loan system based on repayment only when you enter a more stable period where you have free cash flow. That system helps to align investor and entrepreneur goals in three ways:
- Determining a reasonable timeframe for capital return (a grace period may be between 10—24 months until repayment may begin)a
- Matching the return to the volatility of the market segment
- Tying repayments to the business owner’s ability to make payments (simply put, eliminating fixed repayments)
Demand dividends tie repayments to cash flow and provides a greater grace period than traditional capital loans.
In plain English, you get a loan, can grow your business, and pay that loan back once you’re becoming more profitable. Just make sure you reach that stage fast enough!
Cash Flow Solution #3: Crowdfunding – Give the People What they Want
Crowdfunding has grown dramatically in popularity among small business owners as a means of raising capital.
If the public finds a business plan compelling and the entrepreneur has motivated potential investors, this can work extremely well.
For example, by offering a significant discount on an awesome new product concept when it goes to market, an entrepreneur can gain huge attention on crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter.
The risk to investors is much smaller because typical investment levels are small and shared with hundreds or even thousands of other investors.
In fact, many investors may not even think of themselves as an “investor” in the traditional sense. These new sites are set up more closely to e-commerce retailers, and to investors the experience is more closely related to a Black Friday deal where you need to scoop the other shoppers to get the coolest new product.