Every business owner wants to grow their company, but having access to capital to make it happen can make all the difference in the world. Growth capital is money that you borrow to help grow your business’s operations and, ideally, its profitability. There are many different forms of growth capital. It may be structured as a short- or long-term loan or as a line of credit. Long-term financing is the most common because it is easier to repay.
There are several reasons that growth capital can be secured by a business.
- To purchase commercial real estate
- To buy equipment to increase production
- To increase workforce
- To expand into new markets
- To increase advertising and marketing efforts
- To purchase another company
Growth capital is different from working capital because it is debt financing to create growth, while working capital is used for financing the daily operations of the business and keep it running. It is also different from equity capital, which requires relinquishing partial ownership and entering into a strategic partnership in exchange for investor funding. Growth capital does not require giving up any ownership.
Types of Growth Capital Loans
There are several financing options for small to mid-size businesses seeking paths to growth.
- Conventional growth capital from bank lenders. This method typically offers the lowest rates and fees, and longest terms. The average conventional business lender approves between 20 to 50 percent of all growth capital loans.
- SBA financing with an enhancement guarantee by the Small Business Administration to cover your losses if you fail to repay. This financing is used for startups, acquisitions, expansion, construction, revolving funds, and working capital.
- Asset-based growth capital that shows lenders collateral and substantial cash flow for approval. If you do not have adequate cash flow to get approved, you can use assets such as real estate, equipment, or inventory as collateral. These lending rates are often higher than that of banks, and the terms are shorter.
- Alternative growth capital from private lenders, non-bank lenders, marketplace lenders and mid-prime alternative lenders have shorter terms but can be amortized over up to five years.
- Cash advance capital is a short-term advance that involves selling a part of your business’s future receivables for a lump sum. This form of financing is usually more expensive, so the ability to increase revenue needs to justify the cost.
Applying for Growth Capital
When you apply for growth capital, lenders will assess the profitability of your company. They will want to ensure that your business model is proven, cash flow is adequate, and operations are efficient. After all, they want to feel confident that the loan can be repaid.
As defined by the National Venture Capital Association, growth equity investments feature the following attributes.
- The business’s revenues are growing rapidly.
- The company is cash flow positive, profitable, or approaching profitability.
- The business is founder-owned and has no prior institutional investment.
- The investor is agnostic about control and purchases minority ownership positions more often than not.
- The industry investment mix is comparable to that of venture capital investors.
- The capital is used for company needs or shareholder liquidity and additional financing rounds aren’t expected until exit.
- The investments use zero or light leverage at purchase.
- The returns are mainly a function of growth, not leverage.
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