Business Loans In Canada: Financing Solutions Via Alternative Finance & Traditional Funding

Business loans and finance for a business just may have gotten good again? The pursuit of credit and funding of cash flow solutions for your business often seems like an eternal challenge, even in the best of times, let alone any industry or economic crisis. Let’s dig in.

Since the 2008 financial crisis there’s been a lot of change in finance options from lenders for corporate loans. Canadian business owners and financial managers have excess from everything from peer-to-peer company loans, varied alternative finance solutions, as well of course as the traditional financing offered by Canadian chartered banks.

Those online business loans referenced above are popular and arose out of the merchant cash advance programs in the United States. Loans are based on a percentage of your annual sales, typically in the 15-20% range. The loans are certainly expensive but are viewed as easy to obtain by many small businesses, including retailers who sell on a cash or credit card basis.

Depending on your firm’s circumstances and your ability to truly understand the different choices available to firms searching for SME COMMERCIAL FINANCE options. Those small to medium sized companies ( the definition of ‘ small business ‘ certainly varies as to what is small – often defined as businesses with less than 500 employees! )

How then do we create our road map for external financing techniques and solutions? A simpler way to look at it is to categorize these different financing options under:

Debt / Loans

Asset Based Financing

Alternative Hybrid type solutions

Many top experts maintain that the alternative financing solutions currently available to your firm, in fact are on par with Canadian chartered bank financing when it comes to a full spectrum of funding. The alternative lender is typically a private commercial finance company with a niche in one of the various asset finance areas

If there is one significant trend that’s ‘ sticking ‘it’s Asset Based Finance. The ability of firms to obtain funding via assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and fixed assets with no major emphasis on balance sheet structure and profits and cash flow ( those three elements drive bank financing approval in no small measure ) is the key to success in ABL ( Asset Based Lending ).

Factoring, aka ‘ Receivable Finance ‘ is the other huge driver in trade finance in Canada. In some cases, it’s the only way for firms to be able to sell and finance clients in other geographies/countries.

The rise of ‘ online finance ‘ also can’t be diminished. Whether it’s accessing ‘ crowdfunding’ or sourcing working capital term loans, the technological pace continues at what seems a feverish pace. One only has to read a business daily such as the Globe & Mail or Financial Post to understand the challenge of small business accessing business capital.

Business owners/financial mgrs often find their company at a ‘ turning point ‘ in their history – that time when financing is needed or opportunities and risks can’t be taken. While putting or getting new equity in the business is often impossible, the reality is that the majority of businesses with SME commercial finance needs aren’t, shall we say, ‘ suited’ to this type of funding and capital raising. Business loan interest rates vary with non-traditional financing but offer more flexibility and ease of access to capital.

We’re also the first to remind clients that they should not forget govt solutions in business capital. Two of the best programs are the GovernmentSmall Business Loan Canada (maximum availability = $ 1,000,000.00) as well as the SR&ED program which allows business owners to recapture R&D capital costs. Sred credits can also be financed once they are filed.

Those latter two finance alternatives are often very well suited to business start up loans. We should not forget that asset finance, often called ‘ ABL ‘ by those Bay Street guys, can even be used as a loan to buy a business.

If you’re looking to get the right balance of liquidity and risk coupled with the flexibility to grow your business seek out and speak to a trusted, credible and experienced Canadian business financing advisor with a track record of business finance success who can assist you with your funding needs.

All About Pharmacy Technician Schools

In many countries today, healthcare industry employment continues even while other industries falter, making a health service job a good choice for anyone considering a new career.Pharmacy technician jobs are one of the main positions seeing drastic increases with hiring expected to increase as much as 25 percent over the next few years. This is a great opportunity for anyone with good attention to detail to consider a career as a Pharmacy Technician or `PT`, especially since it is possible to complete certification programs at reputable pharmacy technician schools in as little as two years and get into a well-paying job soon afterward.Different Types of Pharmacy Technician SchoolsIn the US and Canada, some PT jobs do not require any certification or schooling although most do. Those who have schooling and certification are definitely preferable for positions, however, making schooling something that anyone looking at a career as a PT should consider very seriously.In all likelihood, more jobs will move toward requiring certification as well, so skipping the education may reduce job hire and advancement opportunity.Pharmacy Technician education is available in programs that last anywhere from 6 months to two years or more, depending on the depth of training.Like many other medical training and technical programs, the shorter programs give a basic, fundamental overview of what to expect on the job and general education relating to basic pharmacology, pharmacology law, pharmacology records, inventory, labeling, ordering and many other relevant topics to working in a retail pharmacy environment.Courses and diploma programsStudents that attend the shorter programs usually earn a Pharmacy Technician Certificate for completion of the program, but have no actual approved certifications.Longer courses offered by schools include specialized diploma programs and Associates Degree courses that last between about 12 months to 24 months.Diploma programs are great for students who already have some healthcare service experience and want to move into a position as a PT, as well as those entering the field new.Study usually includes all that is mentioned above, plus pharmacology in more detail, dosage calculation, mixing medications and others, and usually includes an externship to prepare students to take the certification exam. Students completing a diploma course and passing their certification exam will earn the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician or CPhT.Associates in Health Sciences with a PT specialty takes two years and is recommended for any individual if there is an interest in both obtaining a college degree, and being able to advance the fastest in their career.Courses of study are much more in depth and include additional medical subjects. Externships are a required part of the curriculum, as is passing the certification examination. Those with their CPhT and an AS degree stand the best chance of being hired in non-retail pharmacy technician positions, and starting at the highest salaries.Accredited vocational programIn the UK and many other countries a pharmacy technician is required to complete both an accredited vocational program in pharmacy services and a pharmaceutical science program, and must be registered with numerous UK healthcare organizations.Courses of study include that which is mentioned above, as well as medicines management for patients and training in running and assisting in hospital clinics and more.Please note however, in the UK there is a difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacy dispenser, with the former having more vocational and educational requirements.Interested individuals are advised to contact local professional organizations in order to get additional details about attending school to become a PT such as which are the best courses and whether they offer job placement and financial aid.In the US, contact the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPA) or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), in the UK contact the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) and in Canada the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Technicians (CAPT) to name a few.Employment After Attending PT SchoolsThere are actually many more employment opportunities for PTs than most people assume. While the majority of jobs are in retail pharmacy positions there are much more specialized career options for pharmacy techs with the right training.Hospitals, medication manufacturing and packing companies, medication compounding pharmacies, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and any type of medical facility that either fills medication prescriptions or dispenses medications directly to patients make use of pharmacy technicians.These positions can be very rewarding, and tend to pay more as well. Certain qualified technicians also have the ability to counsel consumers and patients on the use of their medications, as well as answer medication questions.In any case, attending schools that offer the most detailed training and externships, and prepare students to become Certified Pharmacy Technicians are highly recommended for anyone interested in a career in healthcare services that pays well and offers plenty of room for advancement.

Case Study: From Red to Black, Generate Double-Digit Sales Increases Through Strategic Marketing

Conventional wisdom states that when times are bad and sales are down, management should cut all expenses except sales and marketing. And when things get really bad, management must cut everything but sales because selling is the fastest way to increase revenues.This business-to-business case study illustrates how, if executed properly, strategic marketing can sometimes be a quicker, more efficient and more effective way to grow sales.The Situation A manufacturing firm’s brand enjoyed high name recognition, and the longstanding business had survived and often thrived through multiple business cycles during its storied history. A competent management team had been assembled and was balancing operational needs with cash-flow requirements.However, sales of the manufacturer’s primary division were declining and the market for its products was in a severe depression. The lack of volume meant the company was not covering its overhead. Escalating energy and raw material costs were eroding profit margins.Product and Distribution ChannelsMarket perceptions of its products were mixed. The company had a strong reputation as a manufacturer of “green” building products, but it was not well regarded for solving end-user problems. The firm was not in a position to compete on price.Although the company’s products were esteemed by specifiers and designers for being sustainable and other specific performance attributes, many end-users were put off by the high cost of the products, and sometimes found these products to be difficult to work with and of questionable quality.Low sales volume and slow inventory turns decreased the company’s value to channel members and kept new distributors from taking on the line. To cut costs, existing distributors reduced their inventories of the company’s products, and dropped slower-moving niche items manufactured by the firm entirely.In response, management hired a full-service marketing firm and undertook a full-blown marketing and advertising campaign. The marketing message trumpeted the environmental friendliness of the firm’s products but failed to communicate their other performance values.Choosing Strategic PrioritiesRather than simply initiating a typical marketing campaign, the company needed to find:· A high-volume application…· In which it could be cost-competitive…· In which it had a different story to tell…· In an expanding market, enabling growth without having to take market share…· And reestablish its value to distributors.Internal AssessmentThe company’s primary product is a fiber board used for various purposes by construction trades. Reducing sound transmission in buildings appeared to be the company’s best opportunity to generate volume. Multi-family projects that required sound reduction could require multiple truckloads of product. The firm already marketed this application but was not emphasizing it.The company’s sound-reduction product performed well and was cost-competitive in flooring applications. It was installed very differently than the products dominating the market. Competing products were sold directly to specialty contractors, bypassing traditional distributors and contractors.The housing market had collapsed with no recovery in sight. The lack of money for down payments, overly strict mortgage requirements, and fear of declining home values crippled demand.Still, people needed places to live. Apartment construction, while also down, remained viable, and increased demand was forecast for the foreseeable future. Demographic changes predicted surging demand for student housing and assisted living. Changing consumer tastes were boosting the desire for urban living. The Federal government’s spending on affordable housing, often in the form of apartments, was increasing in an effort spur economic growth.Executing the Strategy A volume application had been identified that met the company’s strategic imperatives. The marketing group now needed to focus all its resources on implementing the initiative as quickly and inexpensively as possible against larger, better-capitalized competitors that dominated the market. Every problem perceived by customers that could hold back sales needed to be solved.HowThe marketing team implemented a wide array of tactics to support the new strategy:Brought It Inside. To reduce cost, the firm terminated its engagement with the full-service outside marketing agency and brought marketing in-house, with assistance from independent professionals.Aligned the Messaging. The marketing team developed a compelling tag line aligned with the new strategy. The message was simple and specific, yet universal to the company’s other product lines.Developed Aligned Materials. The team conveyed its solution and addressed all known obstacles through new marketing tools in a wide variety of mediums, including video, website, packaging, sales aides, installation graphics, product sheets, trade show booths and more.Accessed All Available Channels. The team tapped all available cost-effective channels to disseminate the message, including the company website, YouTube and industry related third-party websites.Quality Improvements. The marketing team communicated quality improvements needed to increase market acceptance to operations. The Operations Department innovated and made improvements. Third-party testing labs were engaged to refute end-user performance concerns and induce confidence.Bottom LineThe shift in marketing strategy contributed significantly to turning around declining revenues into consecutive year-over-year sales increases of 20% and beyond. Identifying and targeting an expanding market segment supported this growth in sales. Increased market share remained a goal but was not required for significant recurring revenue increases.Companies that follow conventional wisdom run the risk of leaving core problems undiagnosed and fail to turn sales around. The strategic marketing process avoids this pitfall. Strategic marketing effectively gives the sales force an improved product to sell and a better market to sell it into, thereby propelling increased sales at a rapid rate.The company could not have sold its way out of declining revenues without first changing its go-to-market strategies. It needed to find a market opportunity that met its strategic imperatives and provided a focus point for success. Compelling marketing messages provided efficient market penetration in a way that selling by individuals or teams could not.If done innovatively, with an eye on costs, strategic marketing can be the fastest way to spur sales growth.