A Shift in Telecommunications

In these modern days, we have the freedom to select and consume a wide variety of information, right? Well! not exactly. We do have access to enormous streams of information, but did you know that the majority of those streams actually come from very few sources. Consider the broad effects of this current format and ask yourself what information that you see each day is provided by a large corporation and what do they stand to benefit from it?Next ask how many different people are affected by this? The truth is that everyone is. The customer, the news reporter, the filmmaker, the artist, and the advertiser are controlled by the monopolies that allow us to share our creative works, or to view what they choose for us to see.This is not the first time the monopolization of information has happened. One hundred years ago, in 1913 AT&T (Ma Bell) became the ultimate telecommunication monopoly. They even averted an antitrust lawsuit by convincing the US President that it was for the greater good of society that they should be allowed to sustain their enormous size.In 1982 their luck ended and the government won a court order, causing them to split into seven operating companies knows as Baby bells for antitrust violations again. Still, it didn’t stop them as even now they strive to rebuild. From 1995-2005 four of the seven baby bells were acquired by SBC and in 2006 they rebranded themselves as At&T. While Verizon along with Comcast purchased $3.6 billion worth of wireless spectrum, plus the recent reports of the merger of Comcast and Time Warner… 6 of the 7 Baby Bells will reunite and become part of an even greater corporate telecommunication monopoly, Comast-Time Warner!Recognizing now, this monopoly controls much more than just our telephones… Our TV shows, News, Sports, Movies and even the ads that play in between are in their hands. You can see it will all be strongly influenced by the philosophies, ideas and financial motivations of one single source. Please notice, they are doing it with the same false claim that it is for the greater good of all of us, they say it will cost less if it’s all bundled closely together. Is it worth it? Is the cost of bundling worth the loss of the truth, options and creative competition?A more extensive list of dangers associated with a monopoly of information is available, but a few highlights are: sensationalism of products and activities that financially benefit the monopoly, and censorship of truthful information that could cause harm to it’s success and survival. When you consider the wide spectrum of control of information had by these giant monopolies, it’s not hard to start looking at what we watch through an improved lens of speculation.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Commercial Loans – Cost Effective Way of Funding Business Needs

When your little idea, your dream starts taking a real shape – you know it is time you garnered your finances to make it grow. At times your effort fall short and there you are filing for loans. Commercial loans can help business interests with uninterrupted capital supply.Commercial loans can be used to buy business premises or commercial building for both new or establish businesses. They can be used to buy any business asset or to finance the expansion of any established business.Different commercial loans lender have different way of processing commercial loans. You can start with pre-qualifying for commercial loans. This determines how much as a borrower you can afford as commercial loans and which commercial loans programme will suit the best.Commercial loans are the biggest way of financing business projects. While providing you with commercial loans, the loan lender will look at general information as your income and existing debts. Your application will be reviewed by a loan officer.Commercial loans lender will take keen interest ino Credit historyo Reason for loano Collateralo Ability to repayo Your investment in the businessDocuments to gather while applying for commercial loans are -Loan request – the amount of loan requested, how the funds will be used, loan type and amount of working capital on hand. Commercial loans lender will feel more secure knowing that you have invested your own money in the commercial plan.Business plan – If the commercial loans are used for starting a new business, the business plan is crucial. It should include cash flow projections for first 24 months. Information should be concise and clear. Its feasibility will be fundamental in getting commercial loans approved.Personal financial statements – In case commercial loan is used for expansion of business, it will be required for you to give business profile. Personal financial statements would be required for anyone who owns 20% or more of business. Complete information about current debts balances, payment schedules, maturity, and collateral used to secure other loans. You can be required to provide more documents during the loan process.In case you are purchasing real estate, you might be required to submit preliminary environmental reports, area maps, title reports, property appraisals, and lease summaries.Decisions for commercial loans take usually 1-5 days. During this time, you might be required to give further information. Commercial loans broker can help you submit your loan application to several lenders for approval. Your job is to select the most attractive offer and returning the final letter of intent. After all the conditions are satisfied, the commercial loans are approved and the lender will give a final loan commitment. At the closing, the commercial loan will be transferred with a cashier’s check, draft, or electronic wire transfer.Commercial loans are either secured or unsecured – with or without collateral. Secured commercial loans are more commonly available as commercial mortgages. Commercial mortgage are provided at better terms, interest rates and repayment options. Commercial loans are available with fixed and variable rate options. Fixed rate commercial loans will mean that your interest rate and monthly payments will be fixed at the beginning of the loan and will remain so throughout.Businessmen apply for fixed rate commercial loans for it helps in effective financial planning because they know how much they are giving out every month. With variable rate the interest rates changes in accordance to the changes in the market. The benefit with variable rate is that they start with lower interest rate than fixed rate. But interest rate can increase during the term and therefore you will have to pay more. On the contrary fixed rate commercial loans will leave no space for change in case the interest rates drop.Investigate before you make a commercial loan claim. Be prepared to answer some questions. Commercial loans are cost effective way of funding business needs when you need it. Commercial loans can strengthen your competitive position; increase your working capital and maximum profitability. Investigate your opportunities with commercial loans and see how your business becomes a commercial success.