If you’ve ever needed more money (who hasn’t?), then you are among a majority of business owners. Approximately one-half to two-thirds of young, small businesses — defined as those with less than 499 employees — use capital injections, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy in a February 2014 report. What’s more, not being able to obtain capital has profound implications for the ability of certain businesses to expand, the report noted.

Small business borrowing amounted to more than $1 trillion in 2013: $585 billion in business loans outstanding, $422 billion in credit from finance companies, and the rest from a mix of sources, the report said. For established businesses, owner investment and bank credit are the two most widely used kinds of financing. Young firms rely heavily on external debt, receiving about three-quarters of their funds from banks via loans, credit cards, and lines of credit, according to the SBA.

The financing experience for security operators can be vastly different than it is for a conventional small business such as a retail store. Many banks do not fully understand the nature of RMR as a source of cash flow and the asset contained in subscriber contracts. Fortunately, a few do and they offer specialized account teams to service the security industry. When it was more common for banks to turn down alarm dealers rather than to fund them, specialized finance companies sprung up to fund these
dealers instead.

Today there are so many financing options for security business owners that it can be overwhelming to evaluate your options and determine where to turn for capital. This month’s cover story, “Financial Services Beyond the Dollar,” can help you sort through all of the options and let you discover that financing can be — well, if not fun — at least satisfying when you work with the right partner.

“While financing decisions (obviously) do come down to money, there is so much more to the transaction than that,” writes SDM senior editor, Heather Klotz-Young. “It doesn’t matter if you are a small dealer selling a few accounts each month or a large integrator seeking funding for a major acquisition: you must work with a financial partner that understands your business and the industry.”

Check out the article for advice from the experts, beginning on page 48.

Paul Cronin Wants to Know ‘Why?’

Have you read Paul Cronin’s column,Today’s Systems Integrator, in SDM? This month, Cronin writes about the power of asking why. Why is it that businesses too readily take on selling new products to new markets without understanding the financial strain it puts on their companies? “The fact is we only have so much time and capital to invest before we become over-leveraged and lose our business agility,” Cronin writes. He explores the idea of new business offerings in terms of the investment that is required, the expected return on that investment over a specific time period, and other operational requirements, in “The Power of ‘Why’” on page 40.

Cronin is the senior vice president of business development at Atrion, an IT services provider based in Warwick, R.I. He is a partner and serves as a director on the Atrion board. He also is a certified Leadership Challenge Workshop facilitator, delivering workshops for Atrion employees, clients and suppliers to help them to “evoke the leaders in themselves.” Atrion, which counts 260 employees, is a Cisco Gold Partner, Microsoft Gold Partner, a consecutive-year Inc. 5000, a VAR 500recipient, and a Providence Business NewsBest Places to Work company.

 Cronin shares his 30 years of business experiences through a “pay it forward” approach. He serves on the boards of CompTIA, NSCA, IT Careers Foundation, numerous vendor councils, the PSA’s Educational Advisory Board and Cybersecurity Congress. He contributes to other non-profit causes through his pro bonowork as an auctioneer, raising tens of thousands of dollars for great causes. He is active on LinkedIn, so please contact him at www.linkedin.com/in/paulmcronin