Are we out of options?

I spend lots of time thinking about the economy and read a story that again talked about the same topics I have seen for almost a decade:

Low interest rates and flat economies

In the greater world around us improvements generally seem to be marginal at best.  No one country is really changing our world and the number of entrepreneurs pursuing true innovation seems to be a limited group.

I personally believe that Continue reading “Are we out of options?”

When is the right time to raise capital?

I have a friend who is pursuing a new direction with his business and was looking for some advice.  His existing business has been operating for many years and he has been boot-strapping his new venture.  It looks like he was able to get validation for the idea and even has a few paying customers.  He has used the cash from his operating business to bootstrap this new venture and it looks like he really has a shot at bringing a very innovative (and disruptive) solution to market.  His challenge is to figure out when he should seek financing to support the opportunity.  He could probably continue to nurture the business along and do well however to really capitalize on the opportunity he needs to pre-pay the expenses that come along with capturing a market.

It’s an interesting question/challenge he poised.  I told him to Continue reading “When is the right time to raise capital?”

If Marc, Fred and Bill can talk about it – so can I

That would be Marc Andreessen, Fred Wilson and Bill Gurley (if you don’t know who they are Google them).  As venture capitalists’ they are seeing an environment amongst technology companies who have raised money and are burning through it because they have no understanding that money doesn’t grow on trees.  While I am not in the venture capital business I see an amazing comparison to in my every day activities.

When Lisa and I applied for our first mortgage our interest rate was Continue reading “If Marc, Fred and Bill can talk about it – so can I”

Equipment leasing – things you always wanted to know

Have you ever wondered about what is involved in leasing (or financing) equipment?  I chatted with Danilo (Dan) Terra of Leasex Financial this morning and we covered lots of ground.  Dan is quite optimistic about the current economy here in Alberta and is excited to see the growth that is happening with his clients.  Having been an ex-banker Dan has been able to become a specialist in equipment leasing and financing and he shares his opinions, thoughts and advice on our Google Hangout.

Continue reading “Equipment leasing – things you always wanted to know”

Is your balance sheet a junk drawer or garage?

I chatted this morning with Calgary based consultant and CA, Brad Celmainis about small business finance.  Brad is an accountant with a great personality who thrives on helping small businesses.  In addition to being somewhat of an Instagram celebrity (click here for his account) Brad specializes as a contract CFO and/or controller.  We chatted about some basic finance topics that every small business owner should consider including why a balance sheet is so important to review on a regular basis and clean-up as necessary.  Brad drew a comparison based on his experience that many business owners treat a balance sheet like a junk drawer or a garage – lots of items in there but no one really knows what they are.

Continue reading “Is your balance sheet a junk drawer or garage?”

Why wasn’t I approved?

I talk about this often but it’s always good to repeat valuable pieces of information – especially if it saves someone from wasting their time.  One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that their bank has their interests in mind.  I am not saying that banks do not care about their clients but I do think it is important for people to know that banks are businesses not charities.  As such they have a business plan, target customer types, sales goals, profit margins, etc. which all attribute to their ability to help someone looking to borrow money.  Many people think that just because they know their banker they can ask for whatever they want and if the bank says no that they have no other options.  Here is how it really works.

Continue reading “Why wasn’t I approved?”

Do you really need an investor for your business?

I had a great meeting with a new contact yesterday who was seeking some financing for her business.  When asked what the funds were for she advised that the money would be used for marketing.  Her business has already had a small measure of success and has accumulated a few hundred interested prospects and a handful of customers.  Her reason for wanting to spend money on marketing the business was to try and drive more people to the front door of her business.  I have heard different versions of this story from many entrepreneurs and businesses including Bridge Capital who has had outside investors.

Continue reading “Do you really need an investor for your business?”

Why is it so hard to talk about needing money?

There seems to be a spectrum that exists for people who need money. On one end of the spectrum are those that think they can tell a bank or lender what their looking for and demand the terms they want. On the other end of the spectrum are people who don’t say anything and assume they are destined to be declined if they step out and ask a bank or lender for money. In either case talking about needing money can be very hard.  Why is this? Continue reading “Why is it so hard to talk about needing money?”

Banks want to lend you money (really they do)

I had meeting this past week with an accountant and we were discussing the Business Development Bank of Canada.  He did not have good things to say about them based on a past experience and as we talked through the experience a few things became evident that I thought were important to share.  Here are three (3) things to know if you are looking to borrow money (forgive me if they seem obvious): Continue reading “Banks want to lend you money (really they do)”

Who owns a piece of you? (Understanding guarantees)

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.  This is one of those topics that causes heart burn for individuals and businesses that may be unfamiliar with how banks and lenders operate.  This topic is almost as bad as discussing bank fees – but not quite.  What is a guarantee?  A guarantee is an agreement that either you or your company is liable for a debt or obligation.  There are 2 basic kinds of guarantees: personal and corporate.  A personal guarantee means you are liable for a debt or obligation and a corporate guarantee means your company is liable for a debt or obligation.  So what’s the big deal? Continue reading “Who owns a piece of you? (Understanding guarantees)”