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.

Lettuce Gardening Tips

Gardeners can select from a large variety of lettuces that are easy to grow, highly productive in limited space, and virtually pest and disease free. Lettuce is definitely one of the more “care-free” crops. Lettuce is a great way to start gardening; it is what I started out with actually. There are a few key principles though that should always be kept in mind.LettuceFor maximum lettuce production, it’s wise to select a site where the soil drains well, yet retains some moisture. The soil should also be rich in nitrogen and potassium, The best way to accomplish this is to work in plenty of organic matter (compost, rotted manure, or leaf mold) that will loosen and enrich the soil.Most lettuce varieties mature in 45 to 55 days, allowing many gardeners to plant two or even three crops. But looseleaf and butterhead leaves can be harvested at just about any time in their development. Heading varieties take longer to mature. Romaine takes 75 to 85 days and crisphead 70 to 100 days.By choosing the right varieties and with these lettuce gardening tips, it’s possible to have lettuce in your garden throughout the growing season. This lettuce is great for salads throughout the growing season. There really is nothing better than a fresh Caesar salad with fresh romaine from the garden!Lettuce Gardening TipsLettuce HistoryLettuce, one of the oldest food plants known to man, is believed to have originated in India and Central Asia. Even Herodotus wrote of lettuce being served in ancient Greece, and it was a most favorite vegetable in ancient Rome. This is where we get “Caesar Salad”! In fact, the word “lettuce” is derived from the Latin root word “lac” meaning “milk,” referring to the milky juice found in mature lettuce stems.Columbus and other European explorers brought lettuce seeds to the New World. Our early colonists included lettuce in the first gardens planted in American soil. Today, lettuce is a favorite vegetable here and around the world. It has revolutionized all cultures of food, from hamburgers to salads.More Lettuce Gardening TipsLettuce is so easy to grow it can be started indoors for early transplants or sown directly in the garden. In fact, doing both is recommended to get maximum production. Lettuce seeds are extremely tiny, so it is recommended to be generous with them when planting. It is a good idea toRomaine Lettucestart some lettuce seeds indoors in peat pots a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. Provide the seedlings with plenty of sunlight or keep them under artificial lighting until ready to move into the garden. Transplant the seedlings as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. If a hard freeze threatens, protect the seedlings with a cloche or row cover. Reserve a number of lettuce seedlings to fill empty spaces in the garden as the season progresses.To sow lettuce directly in the garden, simply plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep, tamp them down, and water. It’s that simple! Space the sowings according to packet directions that are based on the size of the mature lettuce. For example, a crisphead may require a square foot of garden space. As many as nine plants of a small leaf lettuce variety can grow in the same space.Keep in mind that lettuce seeds won’t germinate in soil that is 80 degrees F. or warmer, so there’s no sense in sowing directly in the garden in the summer. Resort to starting heat-tolerant varieties indoors and moving the lettuce seedlings into the garden, preferably under partial shade, after they’ve developed a few true leaves.Lettuce CultivationHere are two cultivation tips to keep in mind:Succession plantings.Lettuce is ideal for succession planting. Sow seeds every two weeks for production throughout the season, starting with early lettuce varieties, using heat-tolerant varieties as your main crop, and then switching to fall crops late in the summer. Or, if you prefer, use lettuce in successions with other crops. For example, plant lettuce in the spring, followed by bush beans in the summer, followed by lettuce again in the fall.Watering.The key to lettuce production is supplying moderate but almost constant water, especially during hot weather. Unless there is regular rainfall, lettuce must be watered deeply at least once a week- more frequently during periods of drought. Mulch with a layer of compost or clean straw to help the soil retain moisture. A drip-irrigation system is ideal.Lettuce Growing TipsTo improve overall lettuce production, consider using the following four techniques.Raised beds.To maximize lettuce production, plant seeds in raised beds. The raised beds warm up faster than the surrounding ground. You should be able to get an earlier start in the spring and a later crop in the fall. Raised bed gardening is, without a doubt, the best way to garden anything out there. Its simplicity, organization, incredible fertility, and results are astounding.Living mulch.To make the most of limited garden space, plant lettuce around taller plants like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peppers, and eggplants. This helps the lettuce grow a lot better; if they are left in the beating sun without moisture, they will not be able to survive. The lettuce helps its neighbor by keeping the surrounding soil moist and cool and keeping weeds shaded out. As the taller plants grow, they provide needed shade for the lettuce as the days get warmer.’Tucking.’You can also start lettuce seedlings indoors for filling vacancies in the garden in late spring and again in early fall as other crops are harvested. Simply ‘tuck’ a seedling in the vacant spot to keep every inch of garden space in constant production.Ornamental use.Many varieties of lettuce are welcome additions to ornamental beds. For example, ‘Mighty Red Oak,’ ‘Sweet Red,’and ‘Sierra Blush’ can easily fill gaps in flowerbeds, adding splashes of red where needed.Insects and DiseasesLettuce is generally disease and pest free, but you should still be vigilant.Cutworms and slugs are the most bothersome pests. Use a paper collar around young lettuce seedlings to keep the ravenous caterpillars at bay. Slugs are tougher to control. Sprinkle wood ashes or diatomaceous earth over the soil around the plants to discourage the nasty mollusks. Be sure to reapply after each rainfall.A major threat is lettuce rot which first attacks the lower leaves in contact with the soil and then spreads throughout the plant.With these lettuce gardening tips, you can stop this. The best way to prevent fungal and bacterial diseases is to rotate crops. Don’t plant lettuce in the same bed two years in a row.Raised Bed of LettucePerhaps the greatest threat to lettuce growing are deer. If there is no protection or netting over these lettuce plants, I can assure you that the deer will have a salad bar feast and everything will be gone. I specially recommend the plastic raised beds with pre-made nets from gardeners. These are what I use for my garden. These lettuce gardening tips will save you a ton of time that I had to learn by experience.Lettuce Harvesting TipsLettuce can be harvested any time after true leaves form. For the best quality, better to pick early than late as lettuce allowed to grow too long may be bitter and tough.To harvest crisphead, Batavia, and romaine varieties, cut the plant right at the soil line when mature, if you prefer to harvest full heads. You can do the same with butterhead and looseleaf lettuce, but I prefer to harvest only the outer leaves as needed. This keeps the plants in production longer. Try to harvest in the morning when the leaves are crisp, sweet, and full of moisture.When the crown of a lettuce plant elongates, it’s about to bolt to produce seed and the plant has passed its prime. Yank the lettuce plant out, toss it on the compost pile, and replant the space with another crop like bush beans, or with another lettuce seedling.Recipes and StoragePrimarily water, lettuce does not store well. For the best quality and flavor, use homegrown lettuce soon after harvest. This is particularly true for many of the looseleaf varieties, which wilt readily.Combine crisp, crunchy lettuce varieties with soft, buttery-smooth types. For example, a blend of ‘Little Caesar,’ ‘Burpee Bibb’, ‘Mighty Red Oak Leaf,’ and ‘Crispy Frills’ makes a fine tossed salad with a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. With the lettuce gardening tips, you will be able to grow and try different blends until you find the ones that most delight your palate.

How and Why Should We Use Natural Skin Care Products

IntroductionThe human skin is the largest organ of the human body. It not only has quite a complex structure, but also performs several life sustaining functions.We can live without a Spleen, Gall Bladder, or an Appendix, and we can survive with only one Kidney or one Lung, but we cannot survive without our skin. As a result it is of the utmost importance that we take care of our skin.Using natural skin care products is a good first step in providing the skin with the right nutrients and building materials to retain its health and functionality.What Does Our Skin Actually Do for Us?Our skin has many functions, most of which we are unaware of until something goes wrong. They include:
Regulation of body temperature;
Protection against the elements;
Sensation;
Excretion;
Immunity;
Blood storage and
Synthesis of Vitamin D.
If you want to read about these functions in more detail you can have a look at this article: “Anatomy & Physiology of the Skin”.In summary, these functions provide us with awareness of our surrounding climatic environment, protect us against some of the bacteria and other potentially harmful bugs in our surroundings, allow us to experience touch and feel, eliminate toxins from our body, store blood, and provide the means for our body to obtain vitamin D while protecting our body from the sun’s UV-rays.Considering these vital functions our skin has to perform, it is no surprise that we need to look after our skin and make sure it is given every opportunity to function properly and remain healthy.Why You Should Choose Natural Skin Care Products?With all the media and news reports warning consumers of the potentially toxic ingredients in many of the commercially available skin care products sold in supermarkets and department stores, this is an easy question to answer.Firstly, many of the commonly used skin care products contain artificial and/or synthetic ingredients that the body has difficulties in eliminating, and as a result it tends to store these chemicals in its tissues. Research has shown that the accumulation of many of these substances can have serious health effects.If you are interested in learning more about some of the toxic chemicals used in skin care products, please read the article ” Potentially Toxic Ingredients In Skin Care Products”. It will provide you with much information and research references for you to be able to identify what is in your skin care products and what should not be there.Holistically natural skin care products do not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients. They should also not contain isolated, concentrated, natural substances, such as parabens (pseudo-natural preservative) and the like, that have been shown to be potentially hazardous.How To Choose Natural Skin Care Products That are Safe and Effective?This is where it starts to get really difficult. You see, many so called natural or organic skin care products are in reality nothing of the kind. Adding a minuscule amount of aloe vera to water does not constitute a holistically natural skin care product. It may be ‘natural’ or even ‘organic’, but it will not be effective and therefore is a waste of your money.To have an effective aloe vera product for example, it requires at least 10% of the overall content to be aloe vera. Or, the aloe vera needs to be combined with several other active, natural ingredients that are combined to achieve a specific result.The term ‘Organic’ is another area where consumers are being misled. Adding a single ‘organic’ ingredient and then calling the products ‘organic’, is quite simply wrong. You see the commercials on television and magazines every day… “xyz product contains organic this and organic that”… but no mention is made of the other ingredients that are contained in these products, many of which have been shown to be hazardous to our health.There is yet another problem with natural skin care products, that is an area of confusion and potentially misleading. Just ask yourself what exactly is “natural”? What is actually meant by the term “natural”?The word ‘natural’ congers up images of nature – pristine environments that make us feel good. A safe, natural environment that is conducive to health and a sense of wellbeing. Spring water, waterfalls, pristine lakes, a healthy salads, Rainforests, etc., are all images that we perceive as ‘natural’, or in other words ‘good for us’.The cosmetic industry has ceased on this and is using the word natural to instil in their advertisements a sense of wellbeing and the idea that this product is good for us. Unfortunately, one or two natural ingredients does not a natural skin care product make… Far from it, natural skin care products should not contain any ingredients that are not naturally sourced. This brings us to another problem with natural skin care products.A naturally sourced ingredient, such as the various forms of paraben, may still be potentially hazardous. Just think about it – would you put arsenic or lead on your skin? No of course you wouldn’t. But, they are natural, so what’s the problem? Natural substances too can also be deadly poisons.Applying this to skin care products, you might be looking for a product that is natural and contains AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), which we know help to remove dead skin cell layers which in turn helps to remove fine lines and wrinkles, revealing new vibrant skin.Now, you could buy a product that lists as one of its ingredients AHAs, it might even contain AHA in its name, or you could buy a product that contains a concentrate called papain, which is a natural substance from the Papaya fruit. So, yes papain is natural and yes this product could, depending on other ingredients, be called a natural skin care product. However, papain is a concentrate and as such many people have experienced side effects because the papain is present in too high a concentration for some people.A truly, holistically natural skin care product would not contain papain as an extract. Rather it would contain Papaya fruit itself. You see, the whole fruit still contains papain, however, it also contains other ingredients in the papaya that modify the excessively strong effect of the papain. Choosing such a product will, at least to a large extent, reduce any potential side effects from the papain, because the product is naturally balanced and contains naturally balanced ingredients that will benefit your skin rather than burn it.The results of removing fine lines and wrinkles may take a little longer, but are overall better and you reduce the chance of ‘burning’ your skin with a concentrated AHA. Remember AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid and we all know acids burn our skin.How To Use Natural Skin Care Products?Following directionsThis is actually a lot more important than most people think. Directions for use are a communication by the manufacturer of a product to their consumers about how to use and get the best results from a particular product.It has been our experience, that most people who purchase our natural skin care products do not read the directions and use our products the same way that they have been using their previous brand. This however, may or may not be the correct way to use our products.Properly formulated products contain ingredients in sufficiently high quantities to achieve a desired effect if used in accordance with the product’s directions. Using more does not mean better or quicker results, rather using too much can have adverse effects or no more effect than the lesser quantity.Conversely, if for example, the product’s directions suggest that it be used 2 or 3 times a day using it merely once is not likely to produce the desired effect in most cases.This is obvious when we think about taking medicine. We read the directions and take the drugs, herbs, or what ever, as prescribed and hopefully we get the desired result.So why is it that we do this when it comes to taking medicine, but ignore it (for the most part) when it comes to using skin care products or other personal care products?Reading the instructions carefully and following them ensures that a) you are not wasting your money, and b) you should get the desired results.Good and Bad Reactions from Using Skin or Personal Care ProductsThere are several possible reactions you may experience. There are good reactions and negative reactions. Let’s look at good reactions to begin with.Good Skin Reactions to New ProductsHerbs, essential oils and most of the other ingredients that you’ll find in our range of products have a medicinal actions and are included for a specific purpose, that is, the formulations that make up our various products were originally designed to treat particular skin health issues. This intent, though we do not actively promote this, continues to this day.As you probably know, there are three basic skin types; Normal, Oily and Dry. In addition, your skin may also be sensitive, prone to allergic reactions or under the influence of hormonal changes that are taking place in your body. The herbs and essential oils in our products are specifically chosen to normalize the skin given one of the skin types. The herbs and essential oils will have a therapeutic effect on the skin’s structure and function in order to provide an environment under which your skin will start to function normally again.Similarly this is relevant for sensitive skin that tends to react inappropriately to different stimuli. It is possible, for example, that an individual with sensitive skin who is using our products for the first time, will experience a reaction which they may see as being a negative reaction.This however, may well be totally the opposite to what is actually taking place. You see, in order for your skin’s health to improve, it has to change. This change may appear at first as a worsening of a particular skin issue and this will understandably be interpreted as a negative.Under normal circumstances however, this type of reaction, if the products are continued with, will only last for a few days and following this time the skin will improve and end up much healthier. This process is sometimes referred to as ‘A healing crisis’, and is actually a good thing to happen.
It signifies that the ingredients are doing what they are supposed to, that is they are repairing and normalizing the skin’s functions. This is a normal and in fact good reaction.Bad Skin Reactions to New ProductsObviously there are times when a new product may actually cause a bad skin reaction. Unfortunately a bad reaction often appears very similarly to a good reaction. So how can you tell the difference and what should you do?The first thing to do when ever you purchase a new skin or personal care product is to test it to see if you have any adverse reactions to this product. Below is a detailed outline and links that will provide you with all the information you need to test a new product in order to determine whether or not your skin is going to react adversely to it or not.Test the Products to Avoid Allergic ReactionsAnother important aspect to using any skin care, personal care or cosmetic products, whether they are natural or otherwise, is to test the products first in order to see if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.To do this, follow the steps described in our article “The Skin Patch Test”, which will provide you with a simple, yet effective step-by-step test that you can easily do at home over a 24 hour period, to reasonably ensure that you will not experience major adverse reactions to the ingredients in products you want to use on your face, or anywhere else on your body. This test is simple and very effective.Finally, before you purchase a product, look at the ingredients list and see if the ingredients are easily recognisable. As a rule of Thumb, if the ingredients are easily recognizable it is more likely that the ingredients are of a natural source and have not been excessively modified. If on the other hand you need a chemistry degree to understand what the ingredient is, it is likely not to be a holistically-natural ingredient. It may still be a natural ingredient, but it is likely that it has been isolated and is used in a concentrated, possibly even synthetic form.For the most part, most ‘natural skin care products’ widely available in the market place are far from natural or that matter organic. Most have minimal quantities of some natural ingredient in an otherwise non-natural product and are referring to the one natural ingredient in the product, rather than the nature of the product itself.Hopefully this article will clarify some of the confusion that exists about what is a natural skin care product and what is not, help you to choose natural skin care products that will actually live up to your expectations, and clarify why using natural skin care products is a healthier choice.