Business Loans In Canada: Financing Solutions Via Alternative Finance & Traditional Funding

Business loans and finance for a business just may have gotten good again? The pursuit of credit and funding of cash flow solutions for your business often seems like an eternal challenge, even in the best of times, let alone any industry or economic crisis. Let’s dig in.

Since the 2008 financial crisis there’s been a lot of change in finance options from lenders for corporate loans. Canadian business owners and financial managers have excess from everything from peer-to-peer company loans, varied alternative finance solutions, as well of course as the traditional financing offered by Canadian chartered banks.

Those online business loans referenced above are popular and arose out of the merchant cash advance programs in the United States. Loans are based on a percentage of your annual sales, typically in the 15-20% range. The loans are certainly expensive but are viewed as easy to obtain by many small businesses, including retailers who sell on a cash or credit card basis.

Depending on your firm’s circumstances and your ability to truly understand the different choices available to firms searching for SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE options. Those small to medium sized companies ( the definition of ‘ small business ‘ certainly varies as to what is small – often defined as businesses with less than 500 employees! )

How then do we create our road map for external financing techniques and solutions? A simpler way to look at it is to categorize these different financing options under:

Debt / Loans

Asset Based Financing

Alternative Hybrid type solutions

Many top experts maintain that the alternative financing solutions currently available to your firm, in fact are on par with Canadian chartered bank financing when it comes to a full spectrum of funding. The alternative lender is typically a private commercial finance company with a niche in one of the various asset finance areas

If there is one significant trend that’s ‘ sticking ‘it’s Asset Based Finance. The ability of firms to obtain funding via assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets with no major emphasis on balance sheet structure and profits and cash flow ( those three elements drive bank financing approval in no small measure ) is the key to success in ABL ( Asset Based Lending ).

Factoring, aka ‘ Receivable Finance ‘ is the other huge driver in trade finance in Canada. In some cases, it’s the only way for firms to be able to sell and finance clients in other geographies/countries.

The rise of ‘ online finance ‘ also can’t be diminished. Whether it’s accessing ‘ crowdfunding’ or sourcing working capital term loans, the technological pace continues at what seems a feverish pace. One only has to read a business daily such as the Globe & Mail or Financial Post to understand the challenge of small business accessing business capital.

Business owners/financial mgrs often find their company at a ‘ turning point ‘ in their history – that time when financing is needed or opportunities and risks can’t be taken. While putting or getting new equity in the business is often impossible, the reality is that the majority of businesses with SME commercial finance needs aren’t, shall we say, ‘ suited’ to this type of funding and capital raising. Business loan interest rates vary with non-traditional financing but offer more flexibility and ease of access to capital.

We’re also the first to remind clients that they should not forget govt solutions in business capital. Two of the best programs are the GovernmentSmall Business Loan Canada (maximum availability = $ 1,000,000.00) as well as the SR&ED program which allows business owners to recapture R&D capital costs. Sred credits can also be financed once they are filed.

Those latter two finance alternatives are often very well suited to business start up loans. We should not forget that asset finance, often called ‘ ABL ‘ by those Bay Street guys, can even be used as a loan to buy a business.

If you’re looking to get the right balance of liquidity and risk coupled with the flexibility to grow your business seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with a track record of business finance success who can assist you with your funding needs.

The Three P’s of Project Management

Project Managers are People Managers. Many of us have heard this over the years, but is that it? Are we nothing more than people managers? I will agree that we are responsible for managing people and that this is a portion of the PM (Project Manager) role. I ask that we take a moment to look at a couple of facts. Many PM’s get certification from the PMI (Project Management Institute) which is ISO (International Organization for Standardization) recognized certification. Additionally, one could also receive a Masters Degree in Project Management. With that in mind, are PM’s really nothing more than people managers? Is there really a perception that PM’s do nothing more than manage people? Is people management the most important function of a PM?In this article I want to present the three P’s of project management. The three P’s are to take into account the elements and structure of project management. As most of us know, there are five project management process groups and nine knowledge areas (please refer to the PMBOK guide for clarification). I can assure you that there is more than people management when it comes to the process groups and knowledge areas. On the other hand, without people and without people management projects can not be accomplished. So people management is important but without the other two P’s will a project be successful? Let me present the three P’s of Project Management and follow them with a review.1) People Management
2) Process Management and
3) Performance ManagementPeople Management is essential in regards to project management. It takes the leadership of the project manager to guide a team towards working together in symmetry to accomplish the objectives of a project. I feel that cooperation and collaboration are a couple of key ingredients when it comes to people management. Without cooperation and/or collaboration by the team or an individual on the team, a project can end up in jeopardy.How do you build a team that fosters collaboration and cooperation? I have found that the best decisions are made by a team not an individual. Early on in a project I bring the team together to discuss the objectives of the project. Then to engage the subject matter experts and the IT resources in a discussion that elicits the best decisions. I ask questions and encourage the team to do the same. Next we look at making a decision. I follow this up by looking for options or alternatives by asking if there is a better way. The information presented here leads to new and better decisions. New decisions are based on new information, get the team to to collaborate and cooperate and the best decisions will be made. The best information will be presented and individuals will be contributors.It is common for any team to go through forming, norming, storming and conforming in order to grow. The PM expects this and is prepared to manage it accordingly so the team performs. It is persuasive assertiveness that, when used effectively, leads the team in overcoming differences and strives for project success.To this point we have only discussed people management, and frankly, teams can be organized for all sorts of reasons and the team leader can use the information above to leverage the team. Is people management another term for project management?Process Management is equally important to People Management. Without either of these, the ability to provide a successful project outcome is severely diminished. To improve the outcome of a project the PM utilizes sound and repeatable processes that lead to a successful project implementation. PM’s use their knowledge, skills and effectiveness to incorporate the project management process groups and knowledge areas. If the project management process groups and knowledge areas are not effectively managed along with the team there will be project chaos. If your project is in chaos or total chaos, what areas of project management are not being effectively involved in your project? Do you need to look far?I feel that without the utilization of a project management process that projects will wander and drift like a message in a bottle, no charted course and an unknown destination. I have felt the pains of projects without process. They struggled with technology implementations, cost over-runs and the project scope in constant flux. The end result, failure.I found that a similar team managed the next version of an application with a project management process in place, the results were outstanding. There was a solid scope document that provided the necessary information for user acceptance testing. There were five change requests made that went through the change control procedure, four were approved. The plan target date was not only achieved, but the work was completed ahead of schedule. Being ahead of schedule meant cost savings thus the project was completed under budget. All of this was achieved and there were no product defects.Could this have been accomplished with people skills alone? Would you be able to create project symmetry without a project management process? I feel you already know the answers to these questions.Finally there is Performance Management. For the most part, this category falls under process management for all intensive purposes. I like to breakout performance management and look at it from a different perspective. The purpose of performance management is to answer the question … How is you project coming along? When that is asked it should be able to be address the triple constraints. Is the project on schedule? Is it within budget? Will it meet the project scope? By measuring the triple constraints, a PM can track the actual progress of a project and make adjustments based on this information. Performance management holds the team accountable and keeps the senior team informed.Let’s take a moment to look back at earlier questions. Are project managers nothing more than people managers? Is people management the most important function of a PM? My response to this is that project managers must balance both people and process management. One without the other will not provide the optimum outcome.Special Note: I want to convey that I am not overlooking Quality. Quality falls under the knowledge areas which is referred to in the earlier process writings. I hope to go into greater detail on this topic in a future article. In addition, I am not overlooking problem management. I feel that problem management falls under people management since problems are found by people and decisions are made by people.With everything that has been presented here, it is important to keep in mind that Project Managers bring so much more to the success of a project than their ability to manage people. The three P’s of project management, (people, process and performance management) take into account much of the criteria needed for successful project management. As project managers, we are trained, skilled and experienced in this field. If projects are going well we know we are doing the right things. If projects are not going well, reflect on this and take action to correct its course. How well are your projects being managed?

Business Capital Solutions In Canada: Accessing Proper Cash Flow & Commercial Financing

Business capital requirements in Canada often boil down to some basic truths the business owner/financial mgr/entrepreneur needs to address when it comes to financing for businesses.

One of those truths? Knowing the true state of their financial condition and what financing they do and don’t qualify for when it comes to meeting commercial lending requirements in Canadian business.

Business Loans In Canada

Whether you are smaller or start-up firm looking for information on how to get a business loan or a larger established firm looking for growth financing or acquisition opportunities we’re highlighting 3 mistakes that commercial loan seekers like your company need to avoid making when addressing, sourcing and negotiating your cash flow / working capital and commercial financing needs.

1. Understand the true condition of your company finances – These are almost always successful addressed when you spend time on your financials and understand how your financial statements reflect your access to commercial loans & business credit in general

2. Ensure you have a plan in place for sales growth and financial needs as it relates to commercial financing

3. Understand that actual hard facts about cash flow which is, of course, the lifeblood of your company

Can you honestly answer or feel positive about all those 3 points. If so, pass Go and collect $ 100.00!

A good way to address your company’s finance plans is to ensure you understand growth finance solutions, as well as how to manage in a downturn – i.e. not growing, losing money, etc; It’s never fun to fund yourself in an economic or industry downturn such as the COVID pandemic of 2020!

When we talk to clients of new or established businesses it seems they are almost always talking about sales, so the ability to understand and focus on the differences in their profits and cash fluctuations is key.

How do cash flow and sales plans and projections affect the type of financing you require? For one thing sales growth usually starts out by consuming your cash, not generating it. A poor finance plan will drag your business down and addressing financing simply gets tougher and tougher.

Three basics always emerge when it comes to your search for the right business capital and financing.

1. The amount of financing you need

2. The type of financing (debt/cash flow/asset monetization) The business loan interest rate will be dramatically affected by whether you choose traditional or alternative financing solutions. Private business loans in Canada come from non regulated commercial finance companies most often known as ‘ alternative lenders ‘. These lenders are typically highly specialized in one ‘ niche ‘ of business financing and may be Canadian firms or branches of U.S. banks and non-bank lenders

3. How the financing is structured to be manageable with your day to day operations

What Finance Company In Canada Can Meet Your Borrowing Needs & Why Is Capital Important In Business

Let’s identify and break down key financings your firm should know about and understand if they are applicable and achievable to your business. They include:

A/R Financing / Factoring / Confidential Receivable Finance

Inventory finance / floor planning / retail inventory

Working Capital term loans

Unsecured cash flow loans

Merchant working capital loans/advances – these loans are geared toward short term cash needs and are typically one year in duration. Loan amounts are typically 15-20% of your annual sales revenues.

Royalty finance

Asset based non bank business lines of credit

Tax credit financing (SR&ED bridge loans)

Equipment Leasing / Sale leasebacks – Equipment financing in Canada is used by almost 80% of all companies looking to acquire new, and used, assets.

Govt Guaranteed Small Business Loan program – Government Loans in Canada are sometimes referred to as ‘ SBL’, aka Note: BDC Finance solutions are available from this Canadian non-bricks and morter crown corporation. A small business loan via the government-guaranteed loan program comes with true flexibility around term loan duration, market rates, no pre payment penalties, and of course the low personal guarantee that is required by borrowers. These two ‘ government ‘ loan solutions are often perfect for financing a new business.

If you’re focused on not making mistakes in your business finance needs and want to capitalize on the solutions your competitors are probably already using seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor who can assist you with your cash flow and commercial financing needs.

Stan has had a successful career with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.

His employers over the last 25 years were, ASHLAND OIL, ( 1977-1980) DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, ( 1980-1990) ) CABLE & WIRELESS PLC,( 1991 -1993) ) AND HEWLETT PACKARD ( 1994-2004 ) In 2004 Stan founded 7 PARK AVENUE FINANCIAL – He is an expert in Canadian Business Financing.