Angel Investors and Alternative Financing

It is extremely important to keep your financing options open. Prior to looking for angel investors, you should look at programs offered by the Small Business Administration. Angel investors are the life blood of small business investment. In limited instances, these private investors will syndicate their investment with other funding sources if the investment is large but not large enough for a venture capital firm. Not every business needs a capital investment. Writing a business plan for your company is a difficult process.

There are many industries that are less risky and therefore more attractive to angel investors. If you business is profitable then a SBA loan may be a better fit for you. Popular industries amount angel investors include auto repair businesses, medical businesses, law firms, and other companies that are always in need. When seeking private investment, you will need a well developed cash flow analysis. In some instances, your certified public accountant can handle issues as it relates to incorporating your business in the state for a business friendly state. If you qualify for a bank loan, then using angel investor may not be in your best interest.

Only extremely large businesses, with values in excess of $50 million, are appropriate candidates for an initial public offering if you are seeking an extensive amount of capital. As an alternative to seeking equity investors you may want to look into specialized white using programs. Your lawyer should have a number of documents prepared for you in regards to raising capital as you are going to need to comply with any and all applicable securities laws.

When writing your business plan, either for an angel investor or any other type of funding source, you should always include a yearly budget as part your financial forecasts. There are many quality sample business plans available online that can assist you with this process as you are seeking financing.

Technology-based businesses are highly prized by angel investors that may qualify you for alternatives to private funding sources. It is imperative that you work with a properly qualified attorney when you are looking for private funding sources. It should be noted that most private funding sources that provide equity usually do not provide loans. Technology businesses are highly favored by venture capital firms, and this may be a better alternative if you need a large capital investment. Hard money may be an alternative for you as it relates to raising money from outside funding sources.

Personal Finance Technology Trends For 2012

Hello and here’s wishing all of you the best of health, wealth, peace of mind and success with your financial goals in 2012.

I thought I’d start the year off with some trends; especially in technology, that might help you better meet your personal financial goals, because there are a host of personal finance services and applications, or apps as they’re called, that are going to change the way we Americans invest, bank, track our finances, shop, get coupons and so on.

Some of these apps use the web, but increasingly, many are available on mobile devices because more than a third of all American adults now carry “smartphones” with amazing amounts of display using processors that are as powerful as the ones in your laptop.

In fact, if you’re like many of my clients who’ve been holding out against the invasion of technology you might want to reconsider your decision in 2012. This might just be the year to allow the benefits of these innovations to help you gain better control over your finances.

Maybe now’s just the time to stop using a pen to write checks, paper to track your expenses, and scissors to clip coupons, to let technology streamline this process for you a little, and in so doing, to add to your savings and bottom line. Because, let’s face it, your best coupon deals or hotel and airfare discounts no longer come as inserts or advertisements in your newspaper but go to those who use the Internet.

So here are a few ideas for you to reflect on and consider opening yourself up to, and while I encourage you to listen to these with an open mind, adopt only those that you are 100% comfortable with, knowing full well that you could always revert to paper and pen if this turns out to not be your cup of tea, so here are some new ways to think:

1. Think “Mobile Money” How does that sound? Well, here’s the lowdown. With technology where it’s at today, you can now wave your smartphone in front of an intelligent device to make all sorts of payments, and this trend appears to be really catching on because it helps retailers, mass transit operators and others sell more while cutting down costs. With mobile money, your smartphone is securely linked to your bank or credit card account and saves you the hassle of carrying a card, swiping it, getting a bill, signing it, and so on: and it saves the seller money too. Moreover, I suspect merchants and service providers, such as Google Wallet, are going to make this more attractive by offering promotions and discounts to folks that adopt this mobile payment technology, much like they offered incentives in the early days of the Internet.

2. Think: Person to Person Payments. Remember how, when you’re at a restaurant with friends and it’s time to split the bill, you either ask for separate bills or fumble for cash to pay your share of the bill. Well, how about just clicking your smartphones against each other and you’re done? Companies like American Express, Mastercard, Visa and PayPal now offer a host of services that let you easily transfer money between friends using verified bank or credit card accounts. This makes sending money across the street, neighborhood or country faster, easier and less expensive, and remember, you are ALWAYS the bearer of any expense your bank or credit card company incurs in all the transactions you make, so if this technology reduces costs, chances are, some of these savings will flow through to you too.

3. Think: Money Management. There are new web sites that have also turned into apps on your smart phone, such as Manilla.com which I mentioned a few weeks ago in my interview with Terry Savage, and Pageonce which help you manage bills, payments, subscriptions, coupons and more; for free! So you never have to worry about a missed payment, late fees, trips to the post office, stamps, missed deals where you could’ve used a coupon to save big, and so on. What’s more, many of these services genuinely have an environmentally friendly agenda and want to help replace paper clutter with electronic account statements. Other, more specialized sites such as savvymoney.com help customers manage their debt: credit card payments, mortgages, car loans, and automatically give you tips on when to refinance or make extra payments to reduce your overall interest expenses, and so on. Others like betterment.com are designed to simplify investing and finally there is mint.com, whose CEO I interviewed about a year ago which was the first site like this out of the gate. And it’s a good site to bring all of your financial accounts together. So, with an open mind, check them out and sign up for the ones that make sense to you. And remember, you can always opt out if you don’t like ‘em.

Now, before I go further, I want to stress that I am not recommending these specific sites or validating what they offer but merely citing examples of technology advances in personal finance that are worth exploring further.

4. Think: Personalized Deals. We all heard about the promise of personalization, and while this has happened to some extent with the Internet, it hadn’t quite panned out in the personal finance space, until now. In fact, to understand personalization, consider trying this experiment. Take your laptop over to a friend’s house and type in the same search phrase: say, “top 10 deals in Miami” in google.com or any other search engine: your friend on his computer and you on your laptop using your friend’s Internet connection while sitting right next to him, I am almost 100% certain that your search results will differ because search engines personalize search results to your browsing history. The good news is that with smartphones and location-based services, stores can now know when you walk into them, what your purchase history and profiles is, and entice you with special offers just for you: personalized discounts and on the spot deals to customers willing to opt into these programs. And frankly, for the most part, you have little personal information to lose that you haven’t already lost by simply using the Internet, Facebook, email, search engines or smartphones at home!

I know it sounds a little scary: like an Orwellian universe, but it’s not as bad as all that. YOU have the right to opt in or opt out of any of these services.

5. And Finally, Think: Social commerce. The Internet spawns strange terms like this one, but what the heck! Apps now let you borrow or even legally take money from individuals across the world: who might want to give you a loan where they believe in you more than a bank, help you out in a crisis, lend you money to do up a kitchen or bathroom, or simply invest in a brilliant idea: private individuals reaching out to each other and opening their wallets in what’s called social commerce without borders. Check out sites like weemba.com or kickstarter.com if you have an idea you think others may want to fund. It’s actually pretty cool to think that banks will no longer control what you can and cannot do, financially. I love the free markets.

But don’t think large banks and corporations aren’t watching all of this very closely and actively stepping in where they sense success: so in 2012 you will likely see a lot more happening in the space of personal finance technology… and as we kick off the new year, I urge you to try and “get with it” if you like, and explore ways of saving time and money by using technology to your advantage.

Why Companies Should Consider Leasing Computers and Technology

Many companies are not aware of the significant benefits related to acquisition financing in computers and technology segments. The proper term for this type of financing is ‘ Technology lifecycle management ‘. Most business owners simply consider the following question: ‘Should I buy or lease my firms new computers and software and related products and services?’

Two old adages related to leasing still ring true when it comes to the technological aspect. That is that one should finance something and depreciates, and one should buy something that appreciates in value. Most business owners, and consumers as well know very well that computers depreciate in value. Systems we paid thousands of dollars for years ago are now hundreds of dollars. Walk into any ‘ big box ‘ retailer and see the dramatic moves in technology.

Business owners who finance technology demonstrate a higher level of cost effectiveness. The company wants to reap the benefits of the technology over the useful life of the asset, and, importantly, more evenly match the cash outflows with the benefits. Leasing and financing your technology allows you to stay ahead of the technology curve; that is to say you are always using the latest technology as it relates to your firms needs.

Businesses that lease and finance their technology needs are often working better within their capital budgets. Simply speaking they can buy more and buy smarter. Many companies that are larger in size have balance sheet issues and ROA (return on assets) issues that are compelling. They must stay within bank credit covenants and are measure often on their ability to generate income on the total level of assets being deployed in the company.

Lease financing allows those firms to address both of those issues. Companies can choose to employ an ‘ operating lease ‘ structure for their technology financing. This is more prevalent in larger firms, but works almost equally as well in small organizations. Operating leases are ‘ off balance sheet ‘. The firm adopts the stance of using technology, not owning technology. The lessor/lender owns the equipment, and has a stake in the residual value of the technology. The main benefit for the company is that the debt associated with the technology acquisition is not directly held on the balance sheet. This optimizes debt levels and profitability ratios.

At the end of those operating leases, which are usually 36 months long, the customer has the option of:

1. Returning the equipment
2. Buying the equipment ( not likely though )
3. Negotiating an extension of the financing for continued use of the computers, technology, etc.

Companies that have recently acquired computers and technology can in fact negotiate a’ sale leaseback ‘ on those same assets. This financing strategy brings cash back into the company, as the firm has employed a leasing and financing strategy building on our above noted them – using technology, not owning technology.

In summary, the key benefits of computer and technology lease financing are:

* The company can stay ahead of the technology curve
* Computer leasing and financing has significant balance sheet and income statement benefits
* The firm has flexibility with respect to buying new product, returning existing technology, and generating cash flow for purchases already made

Many of the benefits we have discussed relate to leasing in general. However, technology and lease financing are very perfectly suited to the business financing strategy of leasing.

Technology Equipment and Software Financing

Technology equipment and software are very important for a business in today’s world. Technological or software equipment includes new computer system, routing software, safety equipment and so on. These types of equipment are generally very expensive and so the need for technology equipment and software financing arises. However most of the traditional lenders may not be ready to finance technological equipment or software. This is due to their inability to understand the purpose and type of this equipment. Therefore an expertise approach is required to understand the need for technological and software equipment. There are some genuine financing companies that offer help to acquire these types of equipment.

There are various categories of technology and software equipment. Therefore various options are allowed by financial institutions to get technology equipment and financing help. Audio visual equipment is one among them which includes cameras, sound equipment and so on. This equipment is really important for companies that specialize in audio video. Seeking the financial assistance of financing companies is required due to high price tags of this equipment.

Safety and security equipment is essential for certain companies. These types of equipment include metal detector, alarm equipment, closed circuit TV, digital video recording, motion detector, security gate, fire suppression and so on. These types are vitally important for maintaining the personal safety and security. Due to its highest price ranges, most of the companies could not afford to buy it. But technology equipment and software financing makes it possible for almost all companies to acquire safety and security equipment.

Telecommunication equipment helps in effective business communication. Thanks to these types of equipment, many companies are functioning properly without any communication gap. Latest telecommunication equipment is available now which helps in effective communication. Broadcasting equipment, multiplex equipment, telephone system, transmitting equipment etc are really important for a modern office. However their price ranges are extremely high making it impossible to afford for small and medium companies. Technology equipment and software financing is the only best option to meet all the essential requirements.

Computer hardware is essential for most of the companies. Since their prices come down, most of the companies can get it easily. The data storage equipment, server, work station, network etc are vitally important for any business in today’s world. But the computer hardware has undergone constant changes. When the existing hardware becomes old, you need to buy a new one. This situation calls for the help of technology equipment and software financing.

Software financing is required to acquire the latest software. The traditional lenders would not be willing to provide financial assistance to buy the software. However accounting software, ecommerce software, manufacturing software, CAD software etc are essential for the business operation of most of the companies. In fact, every company requires certain type of software. Some of the reliable financing companies recognize the need for software financing and they offer essential help.

Since there are no embarrassing procedures for getting the technology equipment and software financing help, any company can apply for the financial assistance from the valid financing company.