If you’ve been in business for at least three or four years and can show a history of profitable operations, a whole new world of financing options opens up to you. The major advantage you have over a start-up is that you can prove what you say, whereas a start-up can’t. Be careful if you’ve been in business for less than three years or can’t show a profitable history financing sources may consider you a start-up and put you in a higher risk category
After you establish a reliable record of prompt payment with your suppliers, normally they will consider extending additional credit for your expansion plans. Let them know of your plans well in advance; if you begin delaying your payments to finance your expansion without notifying them, they may get annoyed. They have an interest in seeing you grow; after all, you’ll be buying more from them in the future. Sometimes they will even introduce you to their bankers and investors if you approach them with a well-thought-out business plan.
Remember those banks that were so hard to get money from when you started your business? Well, once you can show a profitable history, they become a lot more friendly. As an established businessperson, you can often secure flexibility from banks that you might not expect. For example, they may lend you money and take a security interest in your accounts receivable. Or they may take a security interest in your inventory, equipment, or other business assets.
Equipment Leasing Companies
Leasing companies own equipment that they rent to businesses and individuals. Some leasing companies are similar to rental yards in that they have a supply of equipment on hand that they rent out. Sometimes these companies offer repair and trade-in privileges in addition to short-term rentals.
Accounts Receivable Factoring Companies
Factoring companies also called factors buy your accounts receivable at a discount. Then, they collect your accounts at full face value. This can be a very expensive way to raise cash I only recommend it as a last resort. Some factors require that your accounts pay them directly instead 70 | how to write a business plan of paying you. This can cause problems with customers, who’ll assume that you are having serious cash flow problems. Approach factors with caution and make sure you understand the implications of the agreement before you sign it.
Some venture capitalists specialize in funding businesses after they have a track record and are willing to take a smaller return as a result. The industry is changing, and more venture capitalists are looking at a wider range of possibilities and client companies. Often a venture capitalist will specialize in a market area and company size or stage of growth. The possibilities have increased, and so has the work involved in finding just the right backers.