US Markets in green on Friday; Dow 30 up over 345 points, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 up nearly 1%

US Markets were trading in the green on Friday with Dow 30 trading at 30,678.80, up by 1.14%. While S&P 500 was trading at 3,701.66, up by 0.98% and Nasdaq Composite 10,690.60 was also up by 0.71 per cent

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US Markets in green on Friday; Dow 30 up over 345 points, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 up nearly 1%
Earlier today, Indian stock markets ended the week on a winning note. It was the sixth straight gains for equity markets. Source: Reuters
US Markets were trading in the green on Friday with Dow 30 trading at 30,678.80, up by 345.25 points or1.14 per cent. While S&P 500 was trading at 3,701.66, up by 35.88 points or 0.98 per cent and Nasdaq Composite 10,690.60 was also up 75.75 points or 0.71 per cent. A Reuters report said that today’s strength was on the back of a report which said the Federal Reserve will likely debate on signaling plans for a smaller interest rate hike in December, reversing declines set off by social media firms after Snap Inc’s ad warning.

Source: Comex

Nasdaq Top Gainers and Losers

Source: Nasdaq

Earlier today, Indian stock markets ended the week on a winning note. It was the sixth straight gains for equity markets. The BSE Sensex ended at 59,307.15, up by 104.25 points or 0.18 per cent from the Thursday closing level. Meanwhile, the Nifty50 index closed at 17,590.00, higher by 26.05 points or 0.15 per cent. In the 30-share Sensex, 13 stocks gained while the remaining 17 ended on the losing side. In the 50-stock Nifty50, 21 stocks advanced while 29 declined.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Tips for Focusing Your Photographic Efforts on Your Garden

Why Take Garden Photos?Record Keeping
Taking pictures of your flower and vegetable gardens can help you keep records of what you grew and where you grew it. Many gardeners practice some form of crop rotation, being especially careful not to plant the same vegetables in the same location year after year. A photo or two can be a big help in keeping track of where you planted your tomatoes the previous season. Digital photos are especially helpful, since you can store them on your computer, label them, and click on the photo’s “properties” to see exactly when the photo was taken. A photo might also be a good reminder next year if you planted some things too close together this year.ID that Bug or Disease
The old cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words is certainly true when it comes to identifying pests, damage from pests, or disease symptoms in the garden. One or two good photos can be compared to photos online to identify the pest or disease.Send Photos to Friends
Serious gardeners enjoy sharing their garden experiences with their gardening friends and extended family. Today’s digital technology makes it easy to capture the wonder and beauty of your garden and email or text it to a special friend.Garden Photographs as Art
Photos help us preserve the beauty of our gardens. Roses will fade, sunflowers will wither, and the visiting monarch butterfly will fly away… but great photos from the garden can last a lifetime. Digital photography enables us to take lots of pictures, edit and crop them, and print them on our computers or have them printed by professionals… at a fraction of the cost than we used to spend when all cameras had film!Garden Photographs as Gifts
A great photo from your garden or from a friend’s garden can make a wonderful gift, too. Online companies can help you turn a photo into a wonderful print for framing, or your shot can be used to decorate a tee shirt or a coffee mug. With a little help from online companies, a collection of garden photos can be used to make a very personalized calendar. Personal computer software also makes it possible for you to make your own greeting cards from garden photos.Digital Slide Shows
If you’ve had the opportunity to visit one of the great public gardens in the USA, you probably took a lot of pictures. You can post them on one of the photo-sharing websites and invite others to see them, or you can make your own digital slide show by loading the images onto your personal computer, tablet, or onto a digital picture frame. With additional equipment, like Apple TV, you can play the slide show through your TV.How to Take Better Garden PhotosEquipment
By far, the two most convenient types of cameras for garden photography are compact digital cameras and smartphone cameras. They’re easy to have on hand for that spontaneous opportunity, and you can take multiple shots without worrying about wasting film. Digital photos are also relatively easy to edit and crop, and they’re very easy – and affordable – to share.If you have a digital camera with interchangeable lenses, you can be even more creative and can expand your garden photo opportunities considerably. Telephoto lenses allow you to get close-up photos of birds and bees without scaring them away. And, telephoto lenses will allow you to narrow the depth of field of your photograph so that a single bloom or piece of fruit will more clearly be highlighted.Composition
By far, composition is the most important consideration when taking a photograph for any artistic use. Composition – the design of your photo – determines how the subject is framed and how other elements can be reduced or eliminated to avoid any distraction. Many of us can improve the composition of our photos by merely moving in closer to the central subject.With a little practice, you can learn to compose interesting photos by focusing on smaller elements or interesting patterns that you may have overlooked in the past. Many people claim that a developing interest in photography has helped them see the world in different ways.Distractions
As mentioned above, good photo composition enables us to eliminate distractions that would otherwise make a photo less attractive. If the objective is to highlight the beauty of a single rose bloom, try to avoid including any foliage that might have black spots or insect damage that could distract from the beauty of the bloom.Similarly, background buildings, tools, and people can distract from the intended focus of your photo.Light
All photographers become more aware of light, and its effect on their photos, as they develop their skills. Almost all garden photos are taken outdoors, with natural light as the source. Early morning and early evening light tends to be a little warmer and softer, while a bright afternoon sun might be a little harsh. But, any light condition can be used to make interesting photos, so long as you are aware of the effect of the light on your subject.With experience, photographers see what the camera sees… good shadows or bad shadows, depending on the desired effect. Backlighting a photo, where the subject is between you and light source, can also create dramatic and lovely photos. And, certain lighting conditions can allow you to photograph a garden element as a silhouette, purposefully focusing on the shape rather than color or depth of the subject.Depth of Field
Depth of field is simply how much of the photograph is sharply focused, and it is determined by the size of the aperture (or opening) of the lens. Most automatic cameras will strive for as much depth as possible; but, you can override the camera’s settings to reduce the depth of field in order to create more artistic results. While your eyes may be focused on a single bloom, remember that the camera may very well see all of the surrounding foliage as equally important. Get to know your camera’s settings and options to create more interesting photos.Focus
While slightly blurry or “soft” images may be very artistic (especially when photographing people), most photographers usually strive for well focused central subjects. Great in-focus shots are achieved by having as fast a shutter speed as possible, and holding the camera still when shooting. If possible, it will help to have something to lean on, or against, to reduce your body’s movement when pressing the shutter. Professionals will often use tripods or other tools to help keep the camera steady while shooting.Tip:
Instead of pressing or “punching” the shoot button, hold the button down for a second or two, focus on the subject, and then release the button. Your smartphone photos will be sharper and perhaps better composed as well.Where to Get Help to Become an Even Better PhotographerOf course you can take online courses, or enroll in an adult education program. You may be motivated to subscribe to a photo magazine for a while to learn more about techniques and equipment. A simple Google search on “photographing your garden” will lead to hundreds of suggestions for books or articles to read online.If you are interested in buying a book or two to add to your library, Photographing Your Garden by David Bjurstrom is a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated book that will help you become a better garden photographer.Garden photography, like gardening itself, is a wonderful lifelong journey, with lessons and surprises, frustrations and delights, and opportunities to learn and improve. Enjoy the journey.