Some business owners are uncomfortable about the idea of factoring their invoices; however, they are more uncomfortable about taking on debt. This means when a company is facing a cash flow problem, wants to hire additional staff members, or needs material to fulfill a large order, they may not know where to turn. One of the first things to do is identify the problem, determine what you need, and then find a solution.
Problem: Short-Term Cash Flow Problems
Immediate business expenses, such as rent, utilities, and payroll cannot be ignored. Let’s face it, if you are unable to pay your employees, you stand a chance of closing your doors; most people are not willing to wait until you get paid to get their paycheck. Your options are limited; you need a way to get immediate cash to meet your obligations.
Your solutions include borrowing money from your local bank, taking a cash advance against your credit cards, or factoring your invoices. Borrowing money from your bank, unless you have an existing line of credit, is time consuming and will likely not occur fast enough to assist you. Credit card advances are seldom a good idea; you will pay high upfront costs for the privilege, and the overall interest rate could be as high as 25 percent. This means factoring is likely your best option and here is why:
- You can use spot factoring – business owners need not turn over all their accounts receivable for immediate cash needs. Instead, you have the option to factor only sufficient invoices to meet your immediate needs.
- Timely cash disbursement – generally, receiving cash against your invoices occurs within a few business days. This can be very helpful if you need to have cash. Unlike a bank loan, once you have signed the proper documents, and have your invoices approved, you will have the cash you need to meet your obligations. Since factoring does not involve a bank loan, your company does not incur any additional debt.
- Cost effective solution – unlike credit cards where you pay a fee to access cash, or loans where you may have to pay application, and other fees, factoring is a cost-effective solution. You can collect on your accounts receivable before they are due, and you pay a fee to the factor. Businesses of all sizes, and in all industries, have used this method of getting working capital when they are facing short-term cash flow problems.
Problem: Long-Term cash Flow Issues
Spot factoring is the ideal solution when your cash flow issues are temporary. However, some businesses have ongoing issues maintaining a sufficient cash balance to meet their obligations. In these cases, options are more limited; options include bank lines of credit, reducing the terms you offer customers, or factoring your accounts receivable. It is important to understand the pros and cons of each option.
While bank lines of credit can be helpful, you will have to accept the fact your company will be in debt. To compound this, chances are, if you seem to be facing regular cash flow issues, it may be very expensive, and potentially impossible to get a loan, or line of credit. Banks typically look for a strong balance sheet, excellent cash flow, and a proven track record. This means if you have a start-up, you may not have the option.
Reducing your customer terms is risky; if your customer base is accustomed to a 30, 60, or 90-day period to pay invoices, and you cut the time in half, or begin a cash-only process, you could negatively impact your bottom line. This means, over the long-term, your cash flow will be worse, not better.
Using accounts receivable factoring, can provide you the long-term solution you need. In effect, you reach an agreement with the factor, and they take over the collection of your accounts receivable. There is an added benefit to this as well; since you do not have to worry about collections, you can focus your efforts on building your business. Rather than having a staff member dealing with collections, you can use their talents elsewhere; this can provide numerous benefits for your business.
Nearly every business will face a cash-flow problem at some time; particularly in the early stages. Some businesses need short-term cash solutions because of seasonal business swings, or because they have just landed a significant contract. Think about the possibilities; and if you think that factoring may be the right decision to help you meet your cash-flow needs, contact Capstone Capital Group by phone at 347-410-9697 or by email at [email protected] and see how we can help you find unique funding solutions.