Small business owners frequently need to offer a personal guarantee to get commercial financing. Sometimes, these guarantees can cause anxiety for owners — it’s a little uncomfortable to put your personal assets on the line to secure the financing you need. So, why do lenders ask business owners for these personal guarantees?

In this article, we’ll talk about personal guarantees, including why lenders want them and how they work.

Why Lenders Want Personal Guarantees

Small businesses may have a limited credit history, which means they pose a fair amount of risk to a lender. Credit history is often the first thing a lender looks at when working to approve your loan. A lack of credit history can make it more difficult for a lender to understand how you’ve treated lending institutions in the past.

When a business owner provides a personal guarantee to secure a loan, they are promising to pay back the loan personally if their business defaults. Because of their flexibility, personal guarantees have become more common in recent years, especially since the 2008 financial crisis and recession.

Personal guarantees are often used as an alternative to loan covenants. A loan covenant is a clause in a loan where the borrower agrees to certain conditions and restrictions. Loan covenants can serve a purpose, but for most borrowers, a personal guarantee is simpler and more flexible. Some loan covenants can be overly restrictive and complicated, which may cause borrowers to violate the covenant on accident, possibly without even knowing it.

In general, there’s a strong relationship between personal credit and small business credit; if a small business owner has good personal credit, chances are their small business is creditworthy.

It can be intimidating for a business owner to put their personal assets on the line to get financing — but that’s also part of the reason why these guarantees are effective. The personal guarantee shows the financing partner that the business owner has “skin in the game” and is committed to repaying the credit.

RELATED: 5 Tips to Improve Your Personal Credit Score

Should I Sign a Personal Guarantee?

A personal guarantee is more of a safety net for a lender than anything else. If your business is able to meet its debt obligations, your personal assets won’t be at risk. Often, the most important function of a personal guarantee is to show the lender that you’re strongly motivated and serious about establishing a successful business.

Personal guarantees also offer some distinct advantages for borrowers. A guarantee can give you more financing options and help you secure a loan when you don’t have collateral that you want tied to a loan. And since a personal guarantee makes the transaction less risky for the lender, signing the guarantee may allow your lender to make your loan more affordable or otherwise offer more favorable financing terms.

However, it is important to remember that you take on responsibility when you sign a personal guarantee. Before you sign a guarantee, you should feel very confident about your ability to repay the loan.

Can I Negotiate My Personal Guarantee?

Even if a lender asks for a personal guarantee, you may have some room for negotiation and flexibility, especially if you work with an independent financing partner like Team Financial Group.

For example, you may want to ask if the lender will either put a time limit on the guarantee or agree to review the guarantee after a certain amount of time. Often, the lender is asking for the guarantee because your business hasn’t been around long enough to establish a track record of financial responsibility. After a couple of years, they may have a better understanding of your business’ current situation and history of profits, and they may be willing to remove the guarantee at that point.

Partner With Team Financial Group and Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today

At Team Financial Group, we offer flexible payment terms tailored to meet your business needs. Our application process is easy and won’t affect your credit score, so apply today to get started.

If you have any questions about the financing application process or which financing option is right for your business, fill out our online contact form or call us at 616-735-2393. We’d love to chat with you about your options.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

KM Industrial Machinery has been selling quality machine tools since 1942. The company provides high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment for the molding, stamping, and machining industries.

A third-generation family business based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, KM Industrial Machinery decided to partner with Team Financial Group as a vendor to offer reliable, flexible financing options to their customers. KM Industrial Vice President Patrick W. Byers dealt with other lenders before Team Financial Group, and he says the difference was apparent from the first moment of the partnership.

“They’re great people to work with,” Patrick says of the Team Financial Group staff. “You don’t have to go to a committee for approval. They’re easy, friendly, trustworthy people, and they fund our customers when the big guys struggle to.”

KM Industrial’s partnership with Team Financial Group has lasted nearly 10 years as of today and is still going strong. Team Financial Group’s single-source funding has consistently helped close deals, Patrick says, and customer feedback has been outstanding throughout. He reports that KM Industrial’s  customers say Team Financial Group is easy to work with and gets the job done.

“Customers like the fact that everything is based right here in West Michigan, and you talk with the people who make the decisions. Team Financial Group gets our customers approved promptly when others make them jump through hoop after hoop.”

RELATED: Forklift Financing Turns Into a Long-Term Partnership

Get Fast Financing and Trustworthy Advice With Team Financial Group

At Team Financial Group, we offer a variety of fast, flexible financing terms and options to meet your business’ needs. Whether you need to finance heavy equipment, new office furniture, or have other specific needs, you can count on Team Financial Group to offer sound advice and sensible solutions.

Ready to get started? Apply for financing now using our quick and easy online application, or give us a call at 616-735-2393 if you have questions.

 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, pleasecontact our commercial financing experts.

JDE Concrete is a concrete services company that has served businesses and residential customers in West Michigan (and beyond) since 1997. The company specializes in commercial, residential, and agricultural concrete projects, including pump, flatwork, stamped concrete, and footings.

Joel Eerdmans, the owner of JDE concrete, founded the company 23 years ago on the principles of faith, hard work, discipline, and respect. Since then, the business has grown enormously, providing an essential service along with a work ethic and commitment to quality that the community has come to rely on and trust.

JDE Concrete Finds True Partnership With Team Financial Group

Like many service companies, JDE Concrete needs a large fleet of equipment, tools, and vehicles to keep their business running, including large pump trucks and cranes. The company needed access to financing options so they could continue to grow, stay competitive, and maintain their high standards of service and integrity. However, according to owner Joel Eerdmans, obtaining financing for these large pieces of equipment can be tricky, and when funds don’t come through, it can create challenges.

Seeking alternative, creative financing solutions, JDE Concrete found Team Financial Group and chose to form a partnership based on the two companies’ shared values of faith and hard work. Joel Eerdmans says that since the first financing transaction over 10 years ago, Team Financial Group has never wavered in their commitment to helping his company grow.

“Initially, they provided funding and sound advice when we bought our Greenville operation, which really was key to the growth of JDE,” Joel says. “After that, Team Financial Group was creative in helping us acquire our current building by providing a quick and easy sale-leaseback to buy the property, which allowed me to move fast and also saved us significant closing costs and headaches.”

What makes the partnership invaluable, Joel says, is Team Financial Group’s guidance during big decisions, especially regarding strategic growth opportunities. Not only that, but Joel says he appreciates the way Team Financial Group makes every financing transaction fast, flexible, and efficient.


What makes the partnership invaluable, Joel says, is Team Financial Group’s guidance during big decisions, especially regarding strategic growth opportunities. Not only that, but Joel says he appreciates the way Team Financial Group makes every financing transaction fast, flexible, and efficient.


“Time is money for me,” Joel explains, “and Team Financial Group saves me so much time by making it extremely easy to get financing and service. When I need something, it is a simple phone call, email, or text, and it is done!”

RELATED: Harrison Tree & Lawn Care Relies on Team Financial Group as a Partner in Growth

Get Fast Financing and Trustworthy Advice With Team Financial Group

At Team Financial Group, we offer a variety of fast, flexible financing terms and options to meet your business’ needs. Whether you need to finance heavy equipment, new office furniture, or have other specific needs, you can count on Team Financial Group to offer sound advice and sensible solutions.

Ready to get started? Apply for financing now using our quick and easy online application, or give us a call at 616-735-2393 if you have questions.

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The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, pleasecontact our commercial financing experts.

A UCC-1 is a financing statement that a creditor files to notify other parties that they have a security interest against one or all of your assets. UCC-1s sometimes cause confusion for business owners who need equipment financing, and these filings can affect your business credit score. However, UCC-1s are generally nothing to be afraid of.

This article will explain what UCC-1s are, why lenders use them, and how they affect your business.

Understanding UCC-1s

UCC stands for the Uniform Commercial Code. The UCC is a set of rules designed to ensure that lenders and borrowers receive some fundamental protections. Every state has its own laws regarding commercial sales, leases, and financial agreements. The UCC exists to standardize the applications of these laws, so companies that do business across state lines don’t have to deal with a patchwork of laws and systems. Today, most states have adopted the UCC.

There are various types of UCC filings, but UCC-1 financing statements (often called UCC-1 filings) are the type of UCC filing that business owners most often encounter. Lenders file UCC-1 documents with the secretary of state when they provide a secured loan for a customer. When a lender files a UCC-1 statement, they announce their right to collateral or liens to secure a loan.

This filing process is also called “perfecting” the lender’s security interest in the collateral. This “perfected” interest becomes a part of the public record, so other potential lenders can see it and recognize the lender’s claim on the collateral.

A UCC-1 financing statement contains the following information:

Why Do Lenders Use UCC-1s?

UCC-1s let lenders communicate to other lenders that there is a lien on an asset. Before the UCC came into effect, there was no universal system to register an asset that was used as collateral in a lending transaction. A business could put the same piece of equipment or set of assets up as collateral for multiple loans. If the business defaulted on the loan, it would create a situation where several lenders all had claims to the same assets.

Lenders don’t file UCC-1s because they’re suspicious of you or believe you won’t pay back your loan. A UCC-1 is just a way for a lender to announce and protect their rights over collateral. When another lender sees the UCC-1 filing for an asset or set of assets, they know not to accept those assets as collateral for another loan (in most cases).

Single Equipment Filings vs. All-Asset Filings

There are two types of UCC-1 filings: liens against specific collateral, such as a piece of equipment, and blanket liens that cover all assets.

What is Purchase Money Security Interest?

Many companies have an all-asset filing on their business because of a line of credit or a bank loan they have. If you have an all-asset filing, you may wonder if it’s still possible to finance a newly acquired piece of equipment.  The answer is yes.

If a business buys a new or used piece of equipment, they may choose to finance that item with someone other than the financing partner who has the all-asset UCC filing. The new finance company will perfect their lien with a UCC-1 and will get in front of the older all-asset UCC using a purchase money security interest on that particular piece of equipment only.

How Will a UCC-1 Affect My Business?

A UCC-1 filing can have a few effects on your business:

Should I Worry if a Lender Files a UCC-1?

In general, UCC-1 filings are a normal part of the financing process and are nothing to worry about. Once you successfully pay back your loan, your lender should either file a UCC-3 financing statement, terminating the earlier UCC-1 they filed, or let the UCC-1 expire.

Most of the time, lenders can simply allow the UCC-1 to expire, and it won’t cause any issues. However, in certain circumstances, it might be important to remove the UCC-1 before it naturally expires. If you find that you need to get your UCC-1 removed, you’ll need to contact the lender and ask them to file the UCC-3 Termination Statement.

At Team Financial Group, we can release a UCC-1 after financing is repaid if you need us to do so, and we’re always happy to review and answer any questions you might have.

Partner With Team Financial Group and Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today

At Team Financial Group, we work with clients to identify and customize financing solutions that meet their unique needs. Our commercial equipment financing options can improve your business’ cash flow and overall financial health. To get fast, flexible financing today, fill out our simple online application and let us do the rest.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

Duo Robotics supplies the automotive, aerospace, and composite industries with cost-effective turnkey robotic solutions. The company provides systems for material removal applications such as waterjet cutting, routing, and laser cutting, among others.

Based in Shelby Township, Michigan, Duo Robotics is the sister company of Duo Shanghai, Asia’s largest robotic water jet integrator. Duo Shanghai has captured more than 50% of the market in China since starting operations in 2010.

Team Financial Group’s Leasing Solutions Help Drive Sales for Duo Robotics

Duo Robotics initially partnered with Team Financial Group in September 2017 to finance a forklift. Duo Robotics considered several financing options and found that Team Financial Group offered the best package with the most flexibility.

Since then, Team Financial Group has maintained a relationship with Duo Robotics, partnering with them both as a customer and a vendor. Team Financial Group’s ability to provide leasing options for Duo Robotics’ customers has been especially helpful when selling the company’s robotics systems, according to Duo Robotics President Dominique Girard. No leasing is often a dealbreaker in these transactions, Girard says.

“Team Financial has gone the extra mile listening to our customers and our company, with several phone conferences,” says Girard. “We will encourage our potential customers to lease through Team Financial.”

RELATED: Equipment Financing Options From Team Financial Group

Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today With Team Financial Group

At Team Financial Group, we offer a variety of flexible financing options and terms, and we’ll work with you to develop a plan that’s right for your business. Whether you’re a start-up looking to finance your first pieces of equipment or you need to scale up an established business to keep up with demand, Team Financial Group is here to help.

Ready to get started? Apply for financing now using our quick and easy online application, or call us at 616-735-2393 if you have questions.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

Every business has its own working capital needs. Large companies more often have working capital lines of credit, allowing them flexibility to manage their working capital. For small businesses and newer companies, these lines of credit are rarely available, so it’s much more important to preserve working capital.

In this article, we’ll define working capital and explain how to figure out your business’ needs and whether you have enough working capital. We’ll also talk about how you can use equipment financing to preserve working capital.

What Is Working Capital?

Net working capital (NWC) is the difference between your company’s current assets and your current liabilities. You should be able to calculate your company’s working capital by taking the current assets and liabilities from your balance sheet and applying this formula:

Working capital = (Current assets) / (Current liabilities)

The figure you’ll get when you use this formula is called your current ratio. Another similar measurement is called a quick ratio. To calculate your quick ratio, consider only assets that you can convert to cash in 90 days or less. The quick ratio offers a more conservative view of your company’s ability to resolve short-term liabilities.

In general, when your assets add up to more than your liabilities, your current working capital is positive. When liabilities overtake assets, working capital becomes negative.

Why Working Capital Matters

Your company’s working capital can indicate whether you’re able to keep up with your short-term debt obligations. For example, let’s say your business has zero working capital. You’re keeping up with your financial obligations and day-to-day operating needs every month, so there’s no problem, right? But what happens if business suddenly slows down, and your revenue isn’t enough to meet your debt obligations? Now you need to dip into your working capital. And if you don’t have any, your company may be in trouble.

At Team Financial Group, we try to learn about every business we partner with to get the full picture of their health and challenges — we never reduce a business’ story to one number. But some analysts and financing partners like to rely on a few simple numbers when assessing a company’s health, and working capital can serve as one of those numbers. Working capital that’s negative or barely positive may signal to these analysts that your company is struggling to move inventory, taking on too many short-term expenses, collecting on bills too slowly, or paying debts too quickly.

Sometimes, a working capital crunch can even be a good thing. For example, periods of growth often lead to an increase in accounts receivable, which can reduce working capital. Growth is obviously a positive development on your business, but its effect on working capital still needs to be accounted for.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Better Manage Cash Flow

How Much Working Capital Do I Need, Exactly?

Many first-time small business owners want to know how much working capital they need. Without knowing any details about your business, it’s hard to provide an exact amount of working capital that you should aim for. Different types of businesses can have working capital needs that are worlds apart.

For instance, let’s say you run a consulting business that operates as a sole proprietorship out of your home. You have no employees, no inventory, and almost no operating expenses or overhead. In this case, your working capital needs might be almost zero.

On the other hand, imagine you run a family agricultural business here in Michigan that produces apples, cherries, and blueberries. You have employees, and your business depends on specialized, expensive equipment to operate. Not only that, but your cash flows become much smaller in the winter when nothing can grow. You’ll need enough cash to maintain equipment, pay bills, and service debts during your business’ slow season.

Consider Your Business Goals and Cash Conversion Cycle

Another factor that can affect your working capital needs is your set of business goals. If you’re looking to expand aggressively and move into new markets or product areas, you’ll need more working capital than a business that only wants to maintain what it’s doing.

Also, when you’re trying to figure out how much working capital you need, make sure to consider your cash conversion cycle (CCC), which is the time in days it takes for your company to convert inventory and other expenditures into cash.

To get a better picture of your cash conversion cycle, you’ll want to calculate your days of inventory outstanding (DIO), days sales outstanding (DSO), and days payable outstanding (DPO). DIO is the average number of days it takes your company to turn inventory into sales. DSO is the average number of days it takes your company to collect payment after making a sale. And DPO is the average number of days it takes your company to pay bills and invoices.

The formula for cash conversion cycle is:

CCC = (DIO) + (DSO) – (DPO)

For example, let’s say you run a woodworking business that makes custom tables and chairs. Starting from when you buy the wood, it takes, on average,  45 days to create a table or chair and sell it, so your DIO is 45 days. Then, it takes 30 days on average to receive payment from the sale, so your DSO is 30. Finally, it takes 15 days on average to pay bills and invoices, so your DPO is 15.

(45) + (30) – (15) = 60

In this case, your company’s cash conversion cycle is 60 days.

In general, the longer your cash conversion cycle, the more working capital you’ll need to keep your business healthy and stable.

How to Preserve Working Capital With Equipment Financing

Even if your company can get a working capital line of credit (LOC), making large purchases like equipment is probably not the best way to use it. Generally, a line of credit is used to fulfil working capital needs and the typical sales cycle.  Most LOCs come with a variable interest rate and a monthly interest payment, with principal payments to be made throughout the cash conversion cycle of the business. Short term debt, such as inventory purchases and accounts receivable should be matched with short term borrowing such as LOC.  Longer term debt should be used for equipment purchases to more closely match the life of the equipment.

When you need to purchase or upgrade equipment, you should explore your options for a term loan or lease. When you work with an independent financing partner like Team Financial Group, you may be able to get an equipment financing solution that’s customized based on your exact needs. There may also be some tax benefits from utilizing an equipment finance agreement or lease.

RELATED: Get These Tax Benefits With Commercial Equipment Financing

Partner With Team Financial Group and Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today

At Team Financial Group, we offer flexible payment terms tailored to meet your business needs. Our application process is easy and won’t affect your credit score, so apply today to get started.

If you have any questions about the financing application process or which financing option is right for your business, fill out our online contact form or call us at 616-735-2393. We’d love to chat with you about your options.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

An equipment finance agreement (EFA) is like a loan, security agreement, and promissory note all packaged together into a single document. EFAs also contain some unique features that make them one of the most popular and versatile equipment financing options.

In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth overview of equipment financing agreements, including how they work, how they’re different than equipment leasing, their advantages, and how to get one.

A Little Bit of Loan, a Little Bit of Lease

It’s easy to confuse an EFA with a simple interest loan, since these two financing options look very similar from the financing applicant’s point of view. However, EFAs contain some unique provisions that make them more like a blend of a loan and a lease.

An EFA is like a loan because it creates ownership of the equipment: you get the financing up-front and purchase the equipment outright, then pay back the financing over time. The equipment shows up on your business’ balance sheet as an asset.

With a traditional loan, you’ll receive stated interest rates in your loan agreement, and when you get a balance statement, you’ll see it broken down into principal and interest. EFAs don’t work this way. Instead of interest rates, EFAs have finance charges, which are rolled into fixed payments that you’ll make on a regular basis (usually monthly). These fixed payments will last for the life of the financing term. So, during the repayment process, an EFA works more like a lease agreement than a loan.

In some ways, an EFA is more flexible than a simple interest loan. If you get an EFA with a financing term of 36 months, for example, you’ll need to make 36 equal monthly payments.

How Is an EFA Different From a Bank Loan?

EFAs have some distinct advantages compared to bank loans. When you get a simple interest loan from a bank, the bank will require collateral. Often, they’ll apply a lien to other assets as collateral for the loan. With an EFA, your financing partner has a security interest in the equipment itself, so you often won’t need any additional collateral — the financed equipment serves as the collateral.

A bank loan also may have variable interest rates that are tied to market rates, which involves more risk and uncertainty. If the market rate goes up over the term of your loan, then so will your financing interest rate.

Finally, banks don’t have the flexibility of other types of lenders since they operate in such a highly regulated space. As a result, bank loans often contain loan covenants with restrictive provisions that will require your business to maintain a certain debt service coverage ratio. This type of covenant can make it difficult for your business to borrow money until the loan is fully paid off. If you violate the loan covenant, the bank may demand that you pay the full outstanding balance on the loan.

RELATED: Loans, Leases, and Finance Agreements: Which One Is Right for My Business?

What Are the Benefits of an EFA?

Equipment financing solutions, including EFAs, are extremely popular with small business owners. According to the Equipment Financing and Leasing Association, 79% of companies in the United States use some form of financing when acquiring equipment. Some of the reasons that business owners love equipment financing include:

RELATED: Get These Tax Benefits With Commercial Equipment Financing

Do I Want an EFA, a Loan, or a Lease?

Usually, to answer this question, you should ask yourself three follow-up questions:

1. What Type of Equipment Am I Financing?

If the equipment you want to acquire will hold its value and stay in use for many years, then you probably want to own that equipment. An EFA makes a lot of sense in these situations.

On the other hand, if the equipment will need frequent upgrades or go obsolete in several years (example: computers), then owning the equipment doesn’t offer a lot of upsides. An operating lease is usually the best financing option for these types of equipment.

2. Do I Need 100 Percent Financing?

EFAs are a great option when you want to own the equipment and need financing for the full cost of the equipment. If your business has cash available for a down payment, your financing partner should be able to use that to reduce your payments or the length of the financing term.

If you don’t need anything close to 100 percent financing, then you may want to consider a simple interest loan.

3. Do I Have Any Unique Financial Considerations?

One of the biggest advantages of EFAs is their flexibility. If your business has unique needs, such as season cash flow fluctuations that are specific to your industry, then your financing partner should be able to tailor a payment structure around these requirements.

How Do I Get an EFA?

To get an EFA, you’ll want to find an independent financing partner who understands your business and can customize your financing terms based on your unique needs. At Team Financial Group, we get to know your business so we can work with you to adjust financing terms and amounts. We offer fast, flexible financing and can frequently deliver same-day approval and financing.

Ready to get started? Applying is easy! Just visit our application page, fill out your contact information, and one of our commercial financing experts will get in touch to help walk you through the application process and determine which option is right for you.

If you have questions or concerns you want to address before you begin the application process, we can help. Get in touch with us by calling 616-735-2393 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.

Reference

Industry overview. (n.d.). Equipment Leasing and Finance Association. Retrieved from https://www.elfaonline.org/about/industry-overview

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

Harrison Tree & Lawn Care provides lawn fertilizing and complete tree care for Michigan residents in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties. The company offers a range of services that include integrated pest management, tree pruning and removal, landscaping, cabling, and screw rodding.

The company’s namesake, William Harrison, founded Harrison Tree & Lawn Care in 1927. Although the company has changed ownership since then, current owners (and brothers) John and Joseph Snider continue to run the company based on the principles it was founded on 80 years ago. Harrison Tree & Lawn builds lasting relationships in the community, thanks to a friendly, knowledgeable staff. The team at Harrison Tree & Lawn does outstanding work at an affordable rate and gives customers the information they need to decide which services are right for them.

Harrison Tree & Lawn Care Stays Competitive With Help From Team Financial Group

For Harrison Tree & Lawn Care to keep providing outstanding service, they need to maintain an up-to-date fleet of equipment. Thanks to the company’s longstanding partnership with Team Financial Group, they’ve always been able to secure the financing required to maintain their high standards for service and professionalism.

Harrison Tree & Lawn Care President John Snyder says he chose Team Financial Group as a partner because of the constant access to the staff and family atmosphere they provided. Not only did his company secure the financing they needed, John says, but they also gained a long-term partner in growth.

“Team Financial Group is there for us and our needs,” John says. “We are in constant communication with Tim and his reps. They are our financial mentors and help guide us through decision-making.”

Equipment that Harrison Tree & Lawn Care has acquired with help from Team Financial Group includes:

RELATED: A Handy Guide to Equipment Financing Language

Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today With Team Financial Group

At Team Financial Group, we offer a variety of flexible financing options and terms, and we’ll work with you to develop a plan that’s right for your business. Whether you’re a start-up looking to finance your first pieces of equipment or you need to scale up an established business to keep up with demand, Team Financial Group is here to help.

Ready to get started? Apply for financing now using our quick and easy online application, or give us a call at 616-735-2393 if you have questions.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

Managing your cash flow in your everyday operations is extremely important to your company’s success, and even more so when things start to get tight in terms of your ability to pay bills. Different articles we have written touch on this topic, but in this article, we want to outline six specific ways to help better manage your cash flow.

1. Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable

Most every company will have accounts payable and accounts receivable. Payment terms differ greatly between certain industries and can also differ from company to company.

Accounts Payable

Managing your payments can be a vital source of cash flow. While we don’t recommend “slow-paying,” sometimes paying early can be harmful to your cashflow.

For example, let’s say you purchase material from a company, and the payment terms are net 30 days. If you pay in 10 days without the option of a discount, that is 20 days early.

Above all, communicating with your trade partners is key. If you regularly paid in 10 days and now expect to start paying in 30 days, make your partner aware of that. (They are also working to manage their cash flows). Setting up automatic payments can also take some of the busy work away and eliminate human error.

Accounts Receivable

Just as managing when you pay is important, it’s also vital to manage when you get paid. Again, different industries have different business norms for payments terms, but late payments are never okay when trying to manage cash.

If late payments are an issue, then ask: Why are your customers paying late? Poor invoicing? Lack of clarity? Poor collections strategies? Lack of flexibility?

Offering a discount may be an option. 2/10 net 30 means you will give your customers a 2% discount if they pay you within 10 days of the invoice. This can help increase cash flow, but it will cut into your profit margin, which is something you need to consider.

2. Just-in-Time Inventory Management

Inventory management can also provide some much-needed cash flow. If you apply the just-in-time inventory management model, then your company will purchase inventory only when it’s needed.

While this approach is great in theory, it’s not easy to accomplish. Succeeding with the just-in-time model takes an extensive knowledge of your sales pipeline, manufacturing timeline, and supply chain. When implementing this strategy, many companies run into issues, like not having a part or material. Sometimes, these inventory issues hold up an entire project and delay delivery.

However, if executed properly, the just-in-time strategy for inventory management can save you much-needed cash by eliminating excess inventory and freeing up storage space.

3. Working Capital Line of Credit (LOC)

Opening a working capital line of credit with your bank can help you manage your cash position. Most working capital LOC accounts have a variable interest rate and are secured with an “all asset filing” by your bank. The draw limits are often tied to your inventory and receivables balances (example — 50% of inventory and 75% of receivables).

One of the main advantages of a working capital LOC is that it creates flexibility. There are few limitations on what you can spend the money on as long as the expenditure has to do with your business’s operations.

4. Using Term Debt for Your Cap Ex

You can take advantage of long-term financing to finance different capital expenditures instead of using the cash you have on hand. We have written an entire blog article on this topic, which we suggest reading.

RELATED: Business Health: How Equipment Financing Can Help Your Cash Flow

5. Extending Credit to Customers Who Are Credit-Worthy

Late-paying customers can hinder your company’s cash flow, so you need to understand the full picture of a customer’s creditworthiness before you give them credit terms. Companies such as Dun & Bradstreet and Paynet will give you a report on the creditworthiness of your customers. If you do not have access to those resources, you can ask yourself the following questions about new customers:

The answers to these questions should provide you with a general idea of the creditworthiness of your potential customer.

6. Manage Expenses

Managing expenses is not only important on a day-to-day basis, but there may need to be budget cuts depending on your company’s situation. While ideas in this article can help you manage your expenses, it is up to you as a business owner to decide which expenses you can cut without hindering the operations, morale, and overall health of your business.

RELATED: Business Health: How Equipment Financing Can Help Your Cash Flow

Partner With Team Financial Group and Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today

At Team Financial Group, we work with clients to identify and customize financing solutions that meet their unique needs. Our commercial equipment financing options can improve your business’ cash flow and overall financial health. To get fast, flexible financing today, fill out our simple online application and let us do the rest.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

 

Small businesses can become cash-strapped for lots of reasons, some of them beyond your control: seasonal fluctuations, natural disasters, and world events (we’re looking at you, COVID-19). If your business needs to cut costs, it’s important to do so with a coherent plan in mind — you don’t want to hurt your business’ long-term viability when you make sacrifices for the short-term.

In general, small business owners have a few primary areas where they can cut expenses:

In this article, we’ll give you nine tips you can use to evaluate your expenses and implement sensible cost-cutting measures.

#1: Reduce Nonessential Expenses

Now is the time to keep a tight hold on the company credit card. Check every discretionary expense to look for ways you can save. Unless a particular expense is critical to your business’ health and development, you should reduce or eliminate it.

Even if you’ve already signed a contract or made a commitment to spend money, don’t write off that money as spent and gone. If you contact the other party or service provider and explain your company’s current situation, they may be willing to cancel the contract or renegotiate its terms or interest rates, especially if they’re a long-term partner or are likely to become one. In the end, they may say no, but it never hurts to ask.

#2: Consolidate the Business Expenses You Can’t Cut

Even the most cash-conscious businesses have to make nonessential expenditures once in a while. If you can’t get rid of an expense, look for ways to consolidate.

For example, maybe you’ve determined you can’t do away with every celebration and team-building event because it would damage employee morale. Rather than canceling these events entirely, look for ways to combine them and reduce their frequency for an overall cost savings. You can also try to combine social activities with employee training sessions and other vital employee development efforts.

#3: Look for Ways to Save on Office Space

If you’re dealing with a down market or economic downturn, then chances are your business isn’t the only one hurting. The upside of a bad business climate is that prices for office space and commercial real estate tend to fall. You may be able to use this to your advantage and negotiate with your landlord for a better lease or move to a newer, more budget-friendly space.

If you run a solo operation or a small business with very few employees, it might be time to reconsider whether you need an office. Doing business out of your home can save you a fortune in rent, and it can also open up various tax breaks and deductions. Just make sure to do some research before you make the move — in many areas, zoning issues and local bylaws restrict the type and scale of businesses that you can operate out of your home.

RELATED: 5 Tips to Improve Your Personal Credit Score

#4: Re-Examine Your Advertising Costs

Don’t stop advertising altogether just because you’re cutting costs — marketing is essential to your business’ long-term health and growth. However, marketing can also burn up a lot of money, so you need to judicious with your budget.

More and more businesses connect with the majority of their new customers online, and digital advertising is often much more affordable and cost-effective than traditional media like billboards and TV ads. If you’ve been spending money on expensive ad space like a billboard or newspaper ad, you can probably cut that expense, take half of it and reinvest it in your web presence, and still get more long-term value than you were before.

Even if your business doesn’t have a website and you can’t afford one right now, you can still start building a web presence. You can create business pages and profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Yelp!, and Google My Business for free and start connecting with potential customers online.

#5: Try to Reduce Your Debt

If you’re behind on the bills and creditors are calling, you may want to ask whether your creditors are willing to restructure your debt or provide some payment relief. This strategy will probably work better with some types of creditors than others; a credit card company probably won’t offer you much help, for example. However, lenders and independent financial partners like Team Financial Group have many different options available to help you in these types of situations. We would always rather work with a customer than see them fail.

The most important element to working with your creditors is communication. The sooner you let a creditor know that you may have trouble making payments, the better. If you can work with your creditor and come up with proactive solutions before you start missing payments, then you may be able to avoid consequences like negative items on your credit history and collection actions.

#6: Be Careful About What You Buy

Your business can’t stop spending money altogether. You still need to pay for the essential equipment you need to do business, whether it’s maintenance, upgrades, or purchasing new equipment that you absolutely need. You also need to pay for essential business costs like phone and internet service, utilities, custodial services, and payments to vendors.

However, just like we discussed with real estate, an overall down market can give you some leverage to renegotiate prices on essential expenditures. Your vendors and partners may give you a lower price if you make it clear that it’s necessary. And don’t be afraid to shop around — now is the time to take bids and re-evaluate vendor relationships to see whether they still make sense for your business. This advice holds true whether your business needs to purchase heavy equipment or small office supplies.

You also don’t have to sacrifice your business’ bottom line to get the equipment you need. At Team Financial Group, we specialize in providing fast, flexible equipment financing for businesses of all sizes. We can work with you to find an affordable, customized financing option that makes sense based on your business’ current financial situation and unique needs.

#7: Lower Your Insurance Costs

Since insurance is so essential for any business, it can be an easy area to overlook when trying to save money. Under no circumstances should you eliminate essential coverage for natural disasters, theft and vandalism, or liability. However, you may be able to reduce your payments, even for essential coverage.

Check out some different insurance providers and try to find the most competitive rates. Then, ask your current provider if they can match that rate. You can also take stock of your policies to make sure you don’t have any redundant coverage and look for opportunities to consolidate policies under a single carrier. And if you’re in a bind and still need to cut insurance costs further, you could ask about increasing your deductibles to lower your premiums.

#8: Consider Personnel Changes

It’s not fun to think about laying off employees, but if your business is facing serious cash flow challenges that threaten your survival, you may have no choice. Ask how busy your employees are and whether every position is truly essential. Consider every option as being on the table, whether it’s consolidating positions, moving full-time employees to part-time work, or hiring freelancers.

But before you fire someone who’s not as productive as you’d like, make sure the problem lies with the employee. Ask whether your staff has the tools they need to get their work done efficiently. Look for inefficiencies, distractions, and timewasters within your company policies and culture, whether it’s meetings, departmental structures, or communication practices. You can downsize your team, but if you’re not putting employees in a position to succeed, you won’t get outstanding results from a team of any size.

#9: Cut Employee Perks and Benefits

Slashing benefits hurts, but most employees can handle it if they understand that it’s temporary and may be saving their jobs. During a crisis, you may need to suspend certain employee benefits. Don’t sacrifice your employees’ health plan unless it’s the only way to survive — losing health insurance puts your employees in an extremely risky position and could drive away your best workers. However, it may be appropriate to suspend or reduce other benefits and perks like free meals in the breakroom, employee wellness programs, and gym memberships.

Be transparent with your employees about the company’s current cash flow and financial situation. Let your workers know why you’re changing their benefits and how long they can expect the changes to last. If you’re going to make policy changes that make life harder for your employees, the least you can do is be honest with them throughout the process.

Partner With Team Financial Group and Get Fast, Flexible Financing Today

At Team Financial Group, we offer flexible payment terms tailored to meet your business needs. Even if you have a low credit score, don’t get discouraged — our commercial financing experts are here to help, and we’ve been able to provide financing for businesses with all types of unique circumstances. Our application process is easy and won’t affect your credit score, so apply today to get started.

If you have any questions about the financing application process or which financing option is right for your business, fill out our online contact form or call us at 616-735-2393. We’d love to chat with you about your options.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only. For financial advice, please contact our commercial financing experts.

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