Brad Bayless Authors Article on Creative Business Financing

Three things you never thought you could finance
Creative business financing
Brad Bayless

Most businesses require equipment to operate, grow and stay competitive. Financing office equipment, technology and other improvements is an important but often challenging part of the business lifecycle.

More than 60 percent or $903 billion in equipment and software is financed in the U.S. through loans, leases and lines of credit with equipment finance companies providing access to capital. Leases typically cover office equipment, manufacturing equipment and computers, but there are a variety of undiscovered items that businesses can also finance to help improve cash flow, preserving working capital and increase productivity and operations. Here are three items worth considering.

LED Lighting

New financing strategies and incentives make LED lighting an easy upgrade with little to no capital costs. Innovations in LED lighting, including intelligence and controls, provide significant energy savings, improved lighting levels and little to no maintenance. Leasing allows companies to recognize immediate energy savings without having to pay the full cost of a package upfront, which can include design and installation, recycling of previous lighting and a full suite of LED lighting products. Payments are often offset by energy savings and the full cost of leasing a lighting package can typically be deducted from taxable income.

Software as a Service (Saas)

Because technology is constantly evolving, it can be challenging for businesses to keep up with the latest software and make the most of significant hardware investments. Leasing licensed software or software as a service (Saas) can provide companies with the most up to date software while preserving working capital and credit lines. SaaS or “on-demand software” is licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted, which can reduce IT support costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider. SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including large-scale payroll software, CRM and ERP systems. And because this type of software can be financed with off-balance-sheet accounting via an operating lease, it is a service worth investigating.

Office Furniture, Design and Installation

Companies often wait to update office furniture until it is outdated, damaged or employee complaints surface.  What many business owners don’t realize is that they can finance a complete office furniture package, including design and installation. The equipment and office furniture that a company needs today may not meet needs in the near future and an updated design may be a necessary upgrade. A lease can be structured to help design and deliver a new layout and furniture that matches the life “usefulness” at the moment without tying up capital. Unlike bank lines and adjustable rate loans, payments for leasing office furniture are fixed for the term of the lease and are typically not affected by market conditions.

High quality office equipment, furniture and fixtures project a certain image to clients, increase productivity of employees and do not have to come with a high price tag. By leasing rather than purchasing these types of business improvement items, they can be kept off of the balance sheet, reduce a company’s debt to equity and leverage ratios and help conserve cash for other necessary expenses or growth opportunities.