Alternative Sources of Business Growth Finance: There Is More Than One Way to Fund Growth

Talk to any business owner or read the business section of any newspaper and you’re likely to come across stories of struggles to access sufficient finance to grow or maintain their business. But we are beginning to witness a change in how business owners access finance with many now actively seeking out alternative sources.

A survey carried out by the UK’s Forum of Private Business found that 26% of businesses were hunting out alternative financial products, with 21% seeking them outside of the traditional main High Street lenders. In fact, in another survey undertaken by the Federation of Small Businesses, it was discovered that only 35% of respondents used a traditional overdraft facility in 2011.

So, if banks are continually reluctant to lend to all but the lowest risk businesses, how can the remainder of the UK’s business population finance growth? Here are some of the increasingly popular alternative sources of finance to investigate.

Better Management of Working Capital

This may appear to be an odd source of finance but very often businesses are sitting on undiscovered cash reserves which can be used to finance growth. A report issued by Deloitte in 2011 revealed that the UK’s largest businesses were sitting on £60 billion of unproductive working capital. Inefficiencies in how working capital (debtors, stock and creditors) is handled can unnecessarily tie up your cash. Cash can be unlocked and released back in to the system thereby allowing self-financed growth plans by taking a close look at credit procedures, how credit terms are granted and how outstanding payments are chased.

Ensuring that stock is kept at an optimum level via better inventory management is another area where cash can be released to support and finance growth. Take a good look at your inventory management process and identify areas where cash is trapped.

Good management of working capital is not just about better control of debtors and stock, it is also about maximising the terms given by creditors. Are you too eager to maintain a first class relationship with your suppliers by paying well before the due date? You can positively impact your cash position by taking full advantage of terms offered by your suppliers. Have you fully leveraged your position by seeking an extensive of terms from say 30 days to 45 days?

Being more efficient in how working capital is managed can release sufficient funds to self-finance growth plans.

Personal Resources

With traditional avenues of funding being more difficult to access business owners are now looking to their personal resources to fund growth. Whether it be drawing on cash savings, using personal credit cards or taking additional mortgages on residential properties, such sources are an instant solution. A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses found that 33% of respondents had utilised their savings to fund growth. As well as being more immediately accessible using personal resources is often a cheaper source of finance.

Family and Friends

Sometimes referred to as the three F’s – family, friends and fools – this can appear to be a less stressful way of raising finance. In some ways it can but it can also be a journey fraught with danger. Tapping into their personal network business owners source finance by either seeking a loan and offering to pay an interest rate higher than that on offer on a High Street savings account, or offering a slice of equity in the business in return for investment.

Raising finance in this way can be relatively easy because the request and fulfilment is very much based on personal trust. Typically a Business Plan would be presented highlighting both the investment opportunity and the risks but at the end of the day success is down to the depth of the relationship and level of trust.

The danger in raising funds this way is that the nature of the relationship will change from that of a personal nature to a business transaction. Failure to regularly pay as per agreed terms, or even total failure to pay, can irreparably damage the relationship so tread with care.

Asset Finance

The Asset Finance industry is based on the concept of either preserving cash or speeding up access to it. Asset finance, which consists of invoice discounting, factoring and funding of asset purchases, has been available as a source of finance for many years, yet it’s only now gaining more recognition. Figures released by the Asset Based Finance Association, a trade association representing the industry, show that to the third quarter of 2011 the amount financed by the Association’s members increased by 9% compared to the same period in the previous year. Whilst the increase may not seem significant it is against the backdrop of a fall in traditional bank lending.

In a world where ‘cash is king’ asset financiers help preserve cash by financing the purchase of assets such as vehicles, machinery and equipment. Because the financier is looking to the underlying asset as security there is usually no requirement for additional collateral. According to the Asset Finance and Leasing Association one in three UK businesses that have external finance now utilise asset finance.

Asset financiers can help speed up the flow of cash within a business by allowing quicker access to cash tied up in the debtor book. An invoice discounting and factoring facility gives businesses the ability to immediately access up to 80% of an invoice instead of waiting for the agreed credit terms to run their course. Such finance facilities will speed up the velocity of cash within the business thereby allowing the business to fund a high rate of growth.

New players such as Market Invoice are entering the market to allow businesses to raise finance against selected invoices. Tapping into high net worth individuals and funds Market Invoice acts as an auction house with funders ‘bidding’ to advance against certain invoices.

Crowfunding and Peer-to-Peer

A relatively new phenomenon is the concept of raising finance by tapping into the power of the crowd. The historically low rates of interest payable on savings have led to depositors seeking out new ways to increase their returns. With business owners struggling to raise the funding they need it’s only natural that a market would be created to bring these two parties together.

CrowdCube entered the market in 2010 to match private investors seeking to be Dragons with those businesses looking to raise capital. Once a business passes the initial review stage their proposal is posted on the site and potential investors indicate the level of investment they wish to make with the minimum amount being as low as £10.

Businesses looking for a more traditional loan should consider Funding Circle. Established in 2010 Funding Circle also matches individual investors looking for a better return with those businesses seeking additional finance. Businesses can apply for funding between £5,000 and £250,000 for a period of 1, 3 or 5 years. As a minimum the business has to have submitted two years Accounts with Companies House and be assessed in order to arrive at a risk rating which guides potential investors.

As the crowd sourcing concept matures we are likely to see more players enter this market to capitalise on the need for better investor returns and easier access to business finance.

There is More Than One Way to Fund Growth

Furniture Financing – Rent to Own

Are you looking for furniture but you have bad credit? A few missed payments can easily cause your credit score to drop. As you have no doubt discovered, lowering your credit score is significantly easier than raising it. Less than perfect credit can be incredibly frustrating if you are looking for furniture financing for your home. Rent or lease to own companies offer a payment plans for those who have poor credit.

Rent or lease to own companies require very little information from you to begin financing. A rental application will be required to fill out. Next, you will need a bill to verify address, a recent payment stub to verify income and place of employment, and several personal references. Most rent or lease to own companies require no money down and will offer interest free options for up to six months. They often also offer pay out early options. A pay out early option saves you on the high interest rates that rent or lease to own companies tack onto their merchandise. Perhaps you need new furniture now, but know that you have a bonus or income taxes coming to you in the future. If this is the case, you can begin the process of furniture finance now and then pay it off in the near future. When signing a contract for rent or lease to own furniture it is important to read the fine print. Most companies will visit your home and retrieve the merchandise if a payment is not made. If for some reason you face a financial hardship for a week or two, it is beneficial to speak with a store manager about the situation. Many times the company will offer forgiveness for a few weeks while your financial standing is improved.

Finding furniture financing is easier than you may think. Many companies now showcase their furniture options on their websites. This gives you the option to view the furniture you like and apply for online furniture financing. By applying for financing online you can feel comfortable not being embarrassed by your less than perfect credit. A few poor credit choices in the past are no reason to not enjoy the finer things in life like new furniture for your home. While furniture can be expensive, rent or lease to own companies can offer you affordable monthly payments for the furniture you like. Now anyone can dress their home with rent to own companies.

The New Rule For Buying a Home – Using Owner Financing

The American Dream; what does it mean to you? People have different jobs or hobbies or passions in life, but one constant remains the same among all of us, and this common thread that unites our dreams is that of Home Ownership! Unfortunately, in this current economy, achieving the dream of home ownership is becoming more difficult than any time in recent history. Too many Americans are following the unwritten rule of home ownership that tells us to ‘Find a Realtor and Get a Bank Loan’. In past economies, with thriving job markets, lower inflation, and less credit restraint, that ‘rule’ may have made sense to follow.

But our current economic system is making it difficult for the average person to achieve the American Dream of Home Ownership. In times of unstable job markets, with double digit unemployment forcing people to become self-employed to make a living, the banks are requiring a W-2 stable job history in order to issue loans. In times of a great credit crisis, the banks are requiring stricter credit scores than most people are able to achieve. Fewer and fewer honest, hard working Americans who are used to following the ‘traditional rules’ for owning a home are having the opportunity to own their own homes.

What if you could achieve the American Dream of Home Ownership without the assistance of a bank?

The purpose of this document is to allow motivated home seekers an opportunity to write a New Rule of Home Ownership that allows you to declare your freedom from the services of a Bank in order to partake in your piece of the American Dream of Home Ownership!

In order to understand the New Rule of Home Ownership, let’s take a closer look at the existing rules of purchasing a house with Traditional Bank Financing.

The first part of the Traditional Bank Financing focuses on Qualifying for a Loan. While many different loan packages exist, the most common loan written in today’s market is an FHA Loan, and therefore, we shall use their guidelines as an example. The following are guidelines for an FHA Loan:

o FHA Loans require a minimum credit score of 620 to be eligible for a loan
o FHA will require 3.5% down on the home. This down payment MUST come from your account. You are not allowed to borrow from friends, family or anyone else. You must document where the funds for the down payment came from. Specifically, the source of the down payment must be from your personal checking, savings or retirement account and CAN NOT be borrowed!

In order to work with most Realtors, you must first get pre-approved for a bank. Many Realtors won’t even show you a house unless you can prove that you are able to afford and receive financing for the property. This painful process of pre-approval from a bank can take 2-3 days and involve the following steps:

o Proof of Creditworthiness
o You must provide 2-4 years worth of tax returns!
o You must provide your last 4 pay check stubs if you are an employee or an updated Profit and Loss statement if you are self-employed, a business owner, an independent contractor or entrepreneur. However, if you cannot show a consistent pay stub as proof of income, then you may want to skip ahead to the part of this document where ‘Owner Financing’ is discussed, as you will find it increasingly difficult to qualify for a mortgage.
o Your bank may require you pay off other debit to help improve your credit score to qualify for the loan
o And the worst part… this proof of creditworthiness is done throughout the entire home buying process! Even once you qualify and pick out the home of your dreams; underwriters at the bank will have you go through the same process to make sure you still qualify.

Now that you are pre-qualified for the home of your dreams, you may finally begin the process of working with a Realtor to find your new home.

Once you’ve found your home, the Traditional Banks will want an inspection performed on the home and may require the seller to fix EVERYTHING for the bank to finance your loan. Some people just want a small discount on the house and they will do their own repairs however, many times a traditional bank will not allow you to do this! These small fixes may add to the total price of the house.

Also, expect to pay Realtor fees, bank fees, filling fees, “point buy down” fees, loan origination fees, closing costs, title fees, surveys, appraisal fees, and anything else imaginable for which to be charged. Though many of these fees can be rolled into your loan, over the long term, you may be paying an extra 10% in unnecessary Financing Fees that are loaded into your loan!

What if there was a quicker, easier, and less intrusive way to take your share of the American Dream? What if you could look at homes without having to pay a Realtor fee, pre-qualify for a loan, and go through a 3 month home buying process? After all, we ARE in a BUYER’S market in Real Estate, so why shouldn’t we be able to buy?

Consider the possibility of declaring a New Rule. Instead of working with (and paying for) a Realtor, why not work with the Seller directly? Especially if that seller is a Professional Real Estate Investor who is not only willing to sell the house in a quick and simple matter, but is also will to FINANCE the sale of the house on a short-term basis!

Earlier in this eBook, we went over the process of the Tradition Bank Financing. Now, we shall detail the 7 Easy Steps of Purchasing Your Home with Owner Financing:
* Contact the Seller of the Home without having to pre-qualify for a loan and look at the home to decide if you want to purchase.
* Settle on a price
* Agree to a down-payment and interest rate
* Once you’ve agreed to a price, down payment, and interest rate, complete a Deposit to Hold form and pay this 1% fee applicable to the sales price of the property. This fee will take the property off the market while you are closing on the home.
* Fill out credit application; provide 2 most recent paycheck stubs and bank statements as proof that you can afford the monthly payment.
* (Optional) If you chose, you can order your own home inspection to review the condition of the home
* Close in 2-5 business days

Buying a home from a Professional Real Estate Investor is quick and easy. Once you have settled on the price and monthly payments, you have minimal paperwork to complete and can close on the transaction within one week! The following is a summary of some of the benefits of Owner Financing compared with Traditional Bank Financing:
* In many cases, there is no minimum credit score required
* Instead of 10% Traditional Bank Finance Fees / Closing Costs, your Owner Finance Fee averages to 5% of the transaction.
* Unlike Traditional Bank Financing, your down payment for Owner Financing may come from almost anywhere (as long as it is a legal way to raise the funds). You can borrow the money from family, friends, others. There are also some tax incentives for you to use part of your retirement savings. Either way, with Owner Financing, you are allowed to raise your own down payment as you see fit!
* You and the Owner Finance Seller will agree on a time to “close” on the home and may close within 5 business days!
* Your Owner Finance loan is dependent on your down payment and ability to pay the monthly payment and NOT on your credit or having a W-2 Job. Therefore, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Independent Contractors, and the Self-Employed may qualify for Owner Financed Homes!
* You are not required to provide extensive documentation to obtain your loan

Due to the efficiency, simplicity, and cost effectiveness, you can see why buying directly from an investor with Owner Financing is the New Rule for Buying Homes. Owner Financing interest rates may be a little higher than market price when you initially purchase your home, however, this higher rate, along with a sizeable down payment, will actually help you obtain conventional financing at a lower rate down the road when you decide to refinance!

A good way to look at Owner Financing is that is a solution to buying a home with short-term financing. Once you have paid your Owner Financed note on time for say 12-24 months, it’s easier to refinance your existing note with a traditional bank loan at a lower interest. It’s much quicker, easier, and less intrusive to refinance a home into traditional financing then it is to purchase a home with traditional financing!

The following example will detail the process and the costs of owner financing:

o John chooses to purchase a beautiful home for $150,000 with a traditional bank loan. John’s credit score is 590 and the bank will not loan him any money until his credit score is at least 620. John understands the importance of owning a home and wants to buy something now.
o John finds a home that is being offered for $150,000 with Owner Financing. John has $15,000 to put down and wants to close in 5 business days. John’s new loan is at an 8.5% rate for 30 years and the sellers would like John to refinance his loan in 24-36 months. John’s monthly payment is $1,350 and it includes Principle, Interest, Insurance, and HOA fees. John is happy because he can afford $1,350 per month and is able to take his part of the American Dream!
o As John pays on time for, say, 24 months, John has an excellent payment history with his current lender. John will also need to be working on his credit in those 24 months to raise his score to the current minimum of 620.
o When John approaches a traditional bank John will be able to demonstrate the following:
o John’s $15,000 down payment shows that he has ‘skin in the game’ and is not just going to bail on his house payments
o John CAN afford and has been paying $1,350 a month at a 8.5% rate for his loan
o John’s credit score is now above the minimum required 620
o If John can afford $1,350 a month at 8.5% interest, John can easily afford a $1,100 a month payment at 6.5%!

It is much easier to refinance a loan rather than trying to get a loan for the original financing! Since you are already in the house, there is no inspection required, no lengthily closing procedures and there is no longer all that extra red tape that is associated with buying a home with traditional financing!

As you can see, purchasing with Owner Financing can be easily done and quickly closed for those who cannot use a traditional bank loan but deserve to own a home now.


In today’s market, due to tough economic times, there are many people selling their properties. Yet, despite the fact that this is a ‘buyer’s market’, it is tougher to buy a home with Traditional Bank Financing than ever before. Following the old, unwritten rules will lead you to a long and unhappy life in an apartment complex. Motivated home seekers looking for their piece of the American Dream are unable to achieve this great promise by traditional and conventional means due to stringent lending requirements initiated by the very same financial institutions that gladly took over 1 billion of our tax dollars to bail them out! Banks tightening up on their lending practices is causing a shortage of homebuyers in the market. This is one of the biggest reasons that real estate values continue to free fall because there are not enough people who can qualify for available homes while following the unwritten rules.

Inspired home seekers, looking to break away from the old rules and ready to write his or her own New Rules to Home Ownership will be able to take advantage of this buyer’s market, and with Owner Financing, you will see more and more people purchasing homes. If you are in the market to buy a home however, you cannot qualify for a traditional loan, I strongly recommend you contact a company that specializes in Owner Finance Homes.