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How to Raise Debt Capital
How to Raise Debt Capital
There was a time in the old days when going to the bank was the only way to get outside capital for your business. These days with the explosion of raising equity investment, many of the guidelines for running a company have been revolutionized. Unfortunately this new phenomenon is only true for companies with super "star power", because these companies have potential to create sky-rocket return earnings.
Concentration – This means putting all your eggs in one basket. Avoid going out and making a large sale to a customer and then not continuing your sales effort to find more customers. Finance companies look for incoming revenue to be spread evenly over a number of customers.
Creditworthiness – Who are you lending your hard earned assets to? What kind of due diligence do you perform on new customers? The challenge here is whether to accept a lucrative sale with a company that could never get credit from any type of finance company.
Book keeping – While some businesses send out all their accounting to outside agencies, it is helpful to have a qualified book keeper on staff. When it comes time to seek financing, being able to produce an instant fiscal snapshot of your company will show the sophistication of your operation..
Taxes – Pay them. Using the Internal Revenue Service as your funder becomes expensive. When you fail to make tax payments, the government steps in and places a lien against those same assets essentially stepping into first position. This leaves the finance company with money outstanding to your business and no collateral to back it up. This places your entire relationship in default.
Bankruptcy – If you have ever entered into a bankruptcy proceeding whether personal or business, own up to it right away. It will come out, and being up front about the circumstances will enhance the necessity to overlook the past difficulties.
Applications – Finance companies ask for a variety of information when performing their due diligence. Do not be alarmed, they are not trying to steal your secrets. Invariably the finance companies that do the most thorough job are the most reliable and safest to do business with. Finance companies like working with a business that takes the time to put a loan package together in advance of asking for financing. Typically you can start with; Interim Balance & Income Statement, Interim Profit & Loss Statement, Last Year End Statements, Accounts Payables Aging Report, Accounts Receivables Aging Report, and of course Tax Returns.
Contracts – Be prepared for onerous language. Finance companies cannot sugar coat the reality that if something goes wrong they need to exercise their rights. By and large the language is standardized and walking from a deal to start shopping for less demanding legalisms won’t produce much. Remember this, a contract is just paper in a file cabinet until you default on your agreement. Stay within what you agreed upon and all the tough language won’t matter.
Using the money for the right reasons – This sounds obvious but in certain cases it can be highly relevant. You hear a lot about going to the right Venture Capital Firm that would handle your type of investment. In some ways that holds true for debt finance companies. They tend to work within industries that they feel comfortable. Additionally the type of financing company will depend on your plans for the money. If you are trying to set up a new business infrastructure, then a working capital line of credit is not your best option. You will probably do better with a term style loan that will allow you to amortize the expense over a period of years.
Management Integrity – Also like equity investment, get a good team together and hold onto them. Finance companies raise red flags when a long time Financial Officer who has been the contact person at the company since the inception of the relationship all of a sudden leaves without explanation. Even though finance companies are not part owners of your business, they are partners in your success just like your good customers. Keep them abreast of breaking news.
Be Professional – Answer calls and messages expeditiously, be prepared with information, show up on time. When its crunch time and you need an extra fifty thousand dollars for a week to get a better deal from a vendor, you would be surprised how much mileage you can get by being a courteous and thoughtful customer to your finance company.