We’ve all heard the saying, Cash is Queen. Accessing more cash to launch and scale a business is a very common request we help clients with. This includes business plans and financial forecasts to grant applications and pitch decks. As a business owner, here are the top 6 sources of cash for your business.
But first, a few very helpful general finance resources
Use the Canadian government Concierge Canada services to find different sources of government programs and funding based on your company life-cycle, industry and province.
Calculate your Working Capital needs whether using an online tool or simple cash flow spreadsheet so you know when those cash crunches will occur. A surprising time for many is during a large increase in sales as there is a delay from expenses occurring to complete the sale and the time when payment is received.
Speak with a business consultant such as BrightGo Solutions which can guide you in developing a solid business plan and forecasted financials.
Keep track of the money you lend your company - yes lend! This is considered Owner’s or Shareholder’s Investment and is tracked on your Balance Sheet either in Owner’s Equity or in Liabilities depending on if it is an Investment or a Loan. Check with your Accountant to see your best options.
Consider financing your initial start-up by continuing to work as an employee. Just double check “moonlighting” isn’t against company policy. Working evenings and weekends to get things starting can seem manic but it stretches your runway and allows you to run experiments and establish product/market fit before going all-in.
Credit Cards, Loans and Lines of Credit
Ensure the rates you’re paying are less than the return on investment (ROI) you are getting. A financial tool to use is ensuring your Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for this investment is the highest of the options and is greater than the Hurdle Rate you’ve calculated.
The Canadian federal government’s Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) partners with banks such as RBC to provide loans up to $1,000,000 (max $300,000 for equipment and leasehold improvements).
Vancity’s Be Your Own Boss microloan is for up to $50,000 for pre-startup companies with emphasis on community contribution and personal character of the entrepreneur.
Family and Friends
Friends and family can be an enticing source of cash as you already know them and they want to see you succeed. But be cautious as many relationships have deteriorated due to money issues. If you go this route be sure you get all agreements, payments and changes in writing plus treat it like a business with dividends, payments and interest paid.
Investors, Angels and VCs
Spring’s Virtual Funding Workshop has both free and member only content for those seeking a DIY approach to securing Investors
Investors want to see a solid team with some “unfair advantage” that makes you significantly better, different or cheaper than the competition. They are also typically looking for Product/Market Fit proof via customers and revenues so they are fueling growth not you figuring out the market. Also, consider how will they scale and exit.
There are numerous grants, non repayable and repayable, that can be applied for at multiple levels of government. The Concierge Canada tool allows you to search based on location and industry. While the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) has both funding and advisory services.
Specific to companies exporting into new and emerging markets is the CanExport program. It covers market development activities 50/50 up to $50,000.
There are multiple job grants that cover portions of employee wages and training. Mitacs has a particular focus on research projects both with local and interactional researchers including Post Doctorates. The Canada Jobs Grant provides ⅔ of training costs up to $10,000 per employee for job training, coaching and development.
Rather than provide non repayable grants, multiple governments have procurement programs that work to support new or scaling businesses. At the federal level is the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) with up to $500,000 for non-military products/services and up to $1M for military departments. Recently started is the BC government’s STart-up In Residence (STIR) program which pairs new companies with government departments over a 16-week challenge period.
A key Tax Credit for Canadian companies is the Scientific Experimental & Research Development (SE&RD) tax credit for those undertaking scientific or technological advancements.
Pre purchases, deposits and platforms like Kickstarter - i.e. Revenue!
This is the best kind of cash - hard earned :) as it also helps to validate your idea since people are paying you to provide them your product, service or platform.
Using pre-purchases wisely, you can fund your company through negative working capital where you have accounts receivable paid before having to pay accounts payable.
Funding your business will have many stages as you launch, expand, scale and acquire. With each stage, business, industry, economic environment and owner’s level of risk tolerance there will be different sources of cash that are best for you. Not sure? Speak with Concierge Canada or IRAP or BrightGo Solutions to help find the best cash solution for your needs.