How Do I Grow My Business?

Growing Profithow to grow a business

Finding a way to become profitable over time may be challenging for the entrepreneur.  Challenges encountered by the entrepreneur typically involve one or more of the following issues:

1.  Excessive activities serving many types of customers/clients;

2.  Thin gross profit margins;

3.  Bloated overhead or operating expenses; and

4.  Poor cash flow management causing financial crisis.

The entrepreneur who is willing to discover where his/her profit is coming from, or alternatively, what the root cause of financial losses is, has the opportunity to grow profit and ultimately increase business value.  Learn how…

Growing a Business by Acquisition

When the entrepreneur has a stable, profitable business with a capable management team, growing a business through acquisition of competitors and/or synergistic businesses is worth consideration.  Other businesses ripe for acquisition may lack management and/or capital or simply be owned by an entrepreneur ready to move on into retirement or a new business venture.

Building Multiple Business Entities

It’s common practice for entrepreneurs to start and operate multiple businesses.  Sometimes such businesses are related to one another.  In other cases, there is no apparent connection between the entities.

Using multiple business entities is one way entrepreneurs separate their assets for liability protection purposes.  Almost any combination of entities, including C and S Corporations, Partnerships, LLC’s and LLP’s, may be used.  Although establishing a certificate to Do Business As (DBA) in a State or jurisdiction is common practice, it does not establish the line of business as a separate legal entity and a separate Employer Identification Number (EIN) is not dedicated to a line of business with DBA certification.

Structuring multiple entities should be carefully considered with the assistance of a business Attorney licensed to practice in the state where the businesses have established operations.

Growing Pains
As the entrepreneur grows a business, he/she will undoubtedly experience growing pains.  Proactively addressing key important matters, before they become problematic to the business, is wise.  Generally speaking, the following areas should be addressed:

1. Key Employees

2. Customer Concentration

3. Long Term Supplier Agreements

4. The Protection of Intellectual Property

Financial Key Performance Indicators

“That which is measured, improves.” is quoted often by performance coaches and business leaders for a good reason; it’s true and it works!   Some believe the quote was authored by Peter Drucker.  Many others have taken claim to it, or a variation of the quote, as well.

Regardless of its origin, successful entrepreneurs apply this quote to their journey by learning what they need to measure to reach their financial goals of profitability and business value.  They do so by discovering and continuously measuring Financial Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for their business and its industry.  By applying their own real time financial KPI’s to those achieved by their industry peers, the entrepreneur is able to see where they exceed or fall short of their benchmarks.  Ultimately, this drives changes to the business and its financial performance improves.

Outside Investors

Debt and Equity Mezzanine Bridge Capital
Bridge Capital is used by high growth middle market businesses in need of $5 Million or more for a period of three-to-seven years and who are capable of paying 20% plus for the use of the Investors capital.  Debt Mezzanine is often used in conjunction with a bank debt facility and is considered quasi-equity.    Accounts Receivable and Inventory may be used as collateral with Debt Mezzanine.  Equity Mezzanine is best suited when there is a very large potential upside in the business valuation in the future.  Whether using Debt or Equity Mezzanine for capital, it’s safe to assume the business is expected to grow significantly, become more profitable, and be sold to a third party in three-to-five years. When a business crosses the line and takes on Mezzanine Debt or Equity, it is considereda business that is ‘in play’.

Private Equity Group
Private Equity Groups invest capital in the form of equity into private businesses and typically buyout part or the majority of the original founders/shareholders.   This recapitalization offers the business owner an opportunity to sell twice:  once to the PEG; and then again when the PEG sells to another investor and/or buyer.  PEG’s invest in a business because they believe in its management team while recognizing the need for both capital and strategic management to take the business to the next level.

Venture Capital
Venture Capital firms invest capital in the form of equity into private businesses based on their belief in the business model and the   management team’s ability to scale-up with capital, connections, and advice.  Board participation on the part of the VC firm nearly always is mandated, and often controlled by the venture capital firm.

Angel Investors
Angel Investors invest capital in the form of equity into private businesses based on their relationship and confidence in its founder.  Angels invest capital in the early stage and their participation in the business management varies widely.

Alternative Capital

Accessing alternative capital sources outside of banks, credit unions, friends and family comes with an increase in the overall cost of capital.  In other words, as the business owner travels up the business capital food chain, access to capital becomes more expensive in terms of the net interest rate or cost of business capital paid on an annual basis.  Below is a summary of the cost of business capital  by the following categories:

Debt – Banks, Credit Unions, Friends and Family | Alternative Capital; and

Equity – Mezzanine, Private Equity Groups, Venture Capital, and Angel Investors:

types of business captial

Alternative Forms of Business Capital include:

Financing Companies
These provide Capital and Operating Leases to business, similar to a term loan, however the underlying interest rate (cost of capital) is greater.

Peer-to-Peer Crowdsourced Lenders
Following the lead from the U.K., these lenders are now emerging in the United States.  They pool private investors cash and lend to entrepreneurs in a streamlined application process.

Accounts Receivable Factoring
This lender acquires or buys some or all of the Accounts Receivable of a business and subsequently collects the payments directly from customers.

Purchase Order Financing
This lender is similar to an A/R Factoring Lender, however instead of purchasing the Account Receivable related to a customer, the lender acquires the Purchase Order from the customer.  The P.O. Financier advances the capital needed to fulfill a purchase order, and once paid by the customer, it pays the business owner who produced the product at a reduced factor.

Inventory Financing
This lender typically lends money to the business owner for high-priced merchandise that takes a long time to sell.  Automobiles, boats, and jewelry businesses use this form of financing.  When the business sells the product, it pays the Inventory Financier.

Merchant Cash Advances
A sum of money is advanced to a business that collects sales revenue through credit and debit cards from its customers.  Such a business is called a merchant and, at the end of each day, a portion of the daily receipts is remitted to pay down the sum of money initially received.  Retailers and restaurants frequently use this form of alternative capital.

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Holly Magister ExitPromise Founder
Holly Magister is the founder of ExitPromise where she helps entrepreneurs start, grow, and in some cases sell or transfer their businesses to new owners. As a Certified Financial Planner and CPA, Holly built to bring more than three decades of business experience, learning and know-how to the 28 million small business owners across America. Continue Reading...
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