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Dry Powder in Private Equity: A Struggle to Spend or a Welcome Resource?

Dry powder is currently a hot topic within the private equity industry because the levels of dry powder are at a record high since the financial crisis, with over $1T of committed capital available.

It is the term used for the amount of cash reserves or liquid assets used by an investor for investment purposes, but has not yet been deployed and there are a number of reasons why there is an excess. In part, there are surplus cash reserves as a result of the strength of fundraising – more cash risen, more cash reserves. However, this is a tale of two halves as private equity has not been spending as much in previous years – asset prices have been inflating and private equity firms are reluctant to pay a premium for these assets. In fact, there has been a year-on-year decrease in private equity funding from 2015 to 2017.

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I Need Capital to Grow My Business, Where do I Start?

It takes capital to start a business and it takes capital to grow a business. However, when you have exhausted your personal reserves, what are your options? There are a handful of ways additional capital can be gained to continue the growth of your business. Simply put, there are four categories that most types of capital fall into when you’re looking to grow your business: your own revenue, debt, public equity, and private equity options.

Your Own Revenue

Most start-ups begin from your own pocket. This might be a good way to get the ball rolling, and you can hit up friends and family for additional funds along the way as well. As long as your business grows at a steady pace, this might even be a reasonable ongoing source of capital as it encourages organic growth. This capital pool allows you to stay in control and if the business changes, you can make adjustments accordingly.

Using your own revenue to grow the business allows you to remain in control, but it may take longer to reach your growth objectives. Opportunities could potentially be lost because there is not enough available capital to take on new projects. Additionally, if you spend all your time and money concentrating on growth, you may never get to see the full value of your work because all your profits are going back into the business.

Debt

All businesses have some sort of debt whether from a bank loan, credit card loan, or mortgage for a business property. You just need to decide how you plan to use debt to help your business grow. Using debt allows you to grow your business without giving away any of your ownership in the business. Taking on debt for new equipment, for example, will increase your company productivity and allow you to pay down the loan quicker.

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