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Investment and Asset Management: Differences Explained

Investment Management vs. Asset Management: Which is Best for You?

Do you know the difference between investment management and asset management? Many people use the terms interchangeably, but there are some key differences. 

If you’re building a healthy savings account and looking to optimize it for later in life, it’s important to understand your options thoroughly. Read on to learn more about investment management vs. asset management, the roles of investment and asset managers, and which may be the best for you.

What is Investment Management? 

As your personal or company wealth grows, it should be invested wisely to ensure stability and maximum return. While asset management is part of this, investment management is much more all-encompassing. It’s not necessarily a case of choosing between asset management vs. investment management. Still, you need a firm understanding of the differences so you can hire the right people to protect and develop your capital. 

An investment manager’s job is to safeguard all of your investments to ensure returns. In addition to asset management, an investment manager will work to make the most of your money, incorporating tactics for:

  • Insurance relief
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate planning
  • Minimal taxation
  • Philanthropy
  • Qualified educational or medical transfers

The benefit of hiring a professional to take care of investment and asset management together is that you’ll end up with a well-rounded portfolio without any legal worries. After all, the financial landscape is constantly shifting. As a result, it’s not always feasible that busy professionals have time to stay on top of changing legislation and manage their own investments. Another benefit is that investment management/manager professionals have years of experience and data-driven insights that protect you from making poor or emotionally biased investment decisions. 

Each investor should have a customized financial plan that is revisited regularly. Because of this, many people prefer investment management vs. asset management.  This is because they see it as a more rounded and risk-averse portfolio solution. 

What is Asset Management?

An asset manager is responsible for handling investments on behalf of individuals and companies. But what is the difference between an asset vs. investment? 

Assets comprise the elements of investment portfolios that have tangible monetary value. When managed properly, these can accrue additional value over time. In other words, the main difference between asset management and investment management is that asset management does not encompass techniques to make savings on tax or donation-based financial activities, etc.

It focuses purely on the continual accrual of value through financial instruments like:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Real Estate
  • Mutual funds
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Fixed income securities
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrency

While personal services are sometimes available, many asset management companies work primarily for trust funds, charities, and large institutions. Unlike Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) in the investment management sector, they are not legally required to put their client’s financial interests ahead of their own.  As such, sometimes, asset opportunities are limited to narrow or in-house options that don’t necessarily guarantee the best return. 

Asset Manager Vs. Investment Manager: How Do the Roles Differ? 

Though the goal in both cases is to help people make money, the client base and responsibilities of an asset manager and investment manager are quite different.

Asset managers prefer to work with individuals or large businesses with considerable amounts of money to invest. On the other hand, investment managers are generally accepting of individuals and companies of any size and income. 

Investment Manager: Primary Responsibilities

Primary responsibilities include: 

Evaluating risk – Keeping abreast of the changing economic climate to gauge specific risks in client target markets. 

Advising Clients – Reviewing data through thorough statistical analysis and recommending investment opportunities that may be lucrative.

Compiling Investment Reports – Keeping clients informed about how their portfolio of investments is performing.

Profitability Forecasting – Analyzing and subsequently maintaining or adjusting a client’s investment portfolio based on projected profits.

Asset Manager: Primary Responsibilities

Primary responsibilities include: 

Meeting with Clients – To discuss specific financial needs and analyze the risks associated with their assets. 

Chasing Goals – Managing client assets to meet specific short-term and long-term goals.  

Financial Reporting – Creating statements and reports that help clients visualize and evaluate improvements and decide on changes.

Developing Portfolios – Maintaining client portfolios so financial information is clear, organized, and up to date. 

Find the Flexible Funding You Need

Your decision on whether to choose investment management vs. asset management will ultimately depend on whether you are acting as an individual or corporate entity and how much money you have to invest. Either way, the plan you select should actively maximize return based on an acceptable level of risk. 

There are times when it’s prudent to borrow rather than pull money out of your investments. For example, if you get hit by unexpected expenses that damage your cash flow, you may lose more by altering your portfolio than you would by taking a bridging loan from a third party. 

At L3 Funding, we’ve been working with business owners for years to provide flexible, reliable merchant funding solutions. Contact us today to learn more about making the most out of your investments.

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Understanding Organic vs. Inorganic Growth

Organic Growth vs. Inorganic Growth: What’s the Difference?

Growth is a positive indicator that a business is doing well and can be measured in many ways, including sales, revenue, profit, market share, and share price. 

Expansion can be achieved by two different methods – inorganic growth vs. organic growth. Strategies are different for each approach. To discover the best tactics for your business, you’ll need to take a deeper look at organic and inorganic growth, and the pros and cons of each. 

Organic vs. Inorganic Growth 

Deciding between organic and inorganic growth strategies requires constant evaluation of the company, your industry, private capital markets, and personal objectives. Let’s start with some definitions of organic growth vs. inorganic growth and how they compare.

What is Organic Growth?

Organic growth is driven internally and usually takes longer than inorganic growth. Businesses measure results year-over-year by comparing revenues and share value. 

Strategies are typically based on a combination of the following tactics:

  • The optimization of company processes
  • The reallocation of resources
  • New product offerings
  • Favorable pricing strategies

What is Inorganic Growth? 

Inorganic growth is the opposite of organic growth in that it derives from external deals rather than an increase in business activities. Inorganic business growth is usually the faster method, although it’s not a quick fix for an existing decline. Furthermore, it is highly recommended that businesses are already stable before considering these tactics:

  • Mergers
  • Acquisitions
  • Joint ventures

Pros and Cons of Organic Growth

There’s no clear-cut answer on the best option between organic growth vs. inorganic growth, as each has pros and cons. 

Pros of Organic Growth

Let’s take a closer look at the pros of organic growth: 

Better Focus – Your management team is already familiar with your business plan, and it’s likely your teams already work cohesively together. Familiarity like this takes time to develop after a merger. 

No Restructuring Challenges – Avoid the layoffs, personnel changes, and transitions to new processes and products that come with an inorganic growth strategy. 

More Control – Entrepreneurs that stay true to their goals and avoid acquisitions and mergers (A & M) have more control over business direction. 

Investor Attraction – A business with solid yet gradual growth is often more attractive to investors than one with rapid inorganic growth. 

Sustainability – Consistency is key. Without organic growth, your business is unlikely to retain value or become an acquisition target in the future.

Cons of Organic Growth

With the pros of organic growth explained, let’s explore the cons. 

Speed – Organic growth is slower because it is limited by resources, personnel, and available support. 

Loss of Competitive Edge – In markets where competitors are growing quickly or where M&A are commonplace, it can be difficult to keep up with the pace–especially when competitors that have already merged lower their prices or allocate resources more effectively. 

Hitting the Wall – Businesses relying solely on organic growth may reach a capacity point where they no longer have the resources to continue on the same trajectory. 

Pros and Cons of Inorganic Growth

It is challenging for companies to achieve rapid growth purely through internal functions. This is why looking at an inorganic strategy is sometimes a necessity. 

Pros of Inorganic Growth

Pros of inorganic growth include: 

Fast-Paced Growth – Through M&A transactions, your customer base increases, and your client list is extended. 

More Assets – With inorganic growth strategies, you acquire assets and resources virtually overnight. 

Increased Market Share – You reap the benefits of new market penetration and simultaneously inherit data insights and client relationships. 

Increased Knowledge Base – Joining forces with other firms provides a broader skills and knowledge base and more top-level managers to continue pushing plans forward. 

Strong Credit – With the value of two businesses combined, you will likely have access to stronger credit lines. 

Competitive Edge – By growing more rapidly than your competitors, you gain strategic advantages in purchasing, pricing, and overall reach. 

Cons of Inorganic Growth

What are the cons of organic growth? These can include: 

Upfront Costs – If you don’t have cash readily available, you may have to take on debt to complete the M&A. This is risky if the takeover doesn’t go well and could deter investors. 

Scaling Challenges – Rapid growth leads to complexities in restructuring at all levels, affecting service, sales, and support. If not well managed, the integration may fail. 

Inadequate Operational Processes – Acquiring another business requires having organizational processes in place to ensure a smooth transition. Big changes to operating systems and processes can lead to confusion and company-wide inefficiency.

Acquire Funding to Accelerate Your Growth

There’s no need to choose outright between organic growth vs. inorganic growth strategies as a permanent business decision. Most companies find a combination is the best way to diversify their revenue base without relying too heavily on one method over the other. 

Need help getting funding? L3 Funding is the go-to financial resource for businesses looking to grow. We specialize in helping organizations understand their financial options and provide a range of solutions, each customized to your individual business needs. Whatever type of merchant funding you need, L3 Funding is here to help you succeed.  

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Inventory Management Techniques Explained

Whether you run a physical or online store, effective inventory control is paramount. Too much inventory creates storage problems and reduces your flexibility to offer new products. Too little, and you can’t fulfill orders, which leads to customer disappointment and loss of business. 

Knowing how much stock you have leads to better buying decisions. As a result, most smart businesses use inventory control management software to track inventory from purchase to sale. 

How Does Inventory Management Work? 

The ultimate goal of business inventory management is to gain accurate real-time information on stock levels and stock locations, reduce operating costs, streamline merchandise flow, and maximize revenue. 

Store inventory management systems utilize a combination of barcodes, RFID tags, scanners, readers, and software. Products are scanned at the point of purchase, and the information is automatically relayed to the software, which updates your stock list accordingly. This means you’ll always know which items are selling, how much stock you have left, and when to reorder. 

Computerized inventory control procedures are popular because they guarantee accuracy, remove guesswork, and save on labor costs associated with human error and outdated manual processes like updating spreadsheets. 

Efficient inventory management methods aren’t just about tracking sales and available stock, though. They also save you warehouse space and reduce the amount of cash caught up in the supply chain. In addition, many systems analyze data and can communicate directly with suppliers to automate reorders when stocks get low. However, there must still be room for human intuition and input. Otherwise, it’s impossible to account for seasonal variances, sudden surges in demand, or the intricacies of whichever inventory management techniques you choose to employ. 

Inventory Management Techniques to Streamline Your Business 

If you’ve done some research already or taken inventory management training, you’ll know there are several inventory control methods to choose from. The combination that’s right for you will depend on your business, the products you sell, and your location relative to your suppliers, customers, and warehouses. 

These are the most popular inventory management techniques.

Bulk Shipping

Buying in bulk is the cheapest way to acquire stock and is a good option for businesses with a consistent demand for specific products that they know sell quickly. However, if demand drops or sales are slower than expected, storage costs rise. This is particularly problematic for small businesses and e-commerce stores that don’t have a lot of warehouse space. 

FIFO and LIFO 

FIFO (first in, first out) and LIFO (last in, first out) are inventory management methods that determine the cost of stock. FIFO assumes that older inventory is sold first, which is best for perishable goods or products in unpredictable markets. LIFO assumes that prices always rise, so newer, more expensive inventory items are sold first to ensure maximum return on investment. 

Just in Time (JIT)

JIT inventory control involves the smallest outlay and maintains the lowest stock levels possible. It is popular with small businesses and startups because it uses working capital efficiently, saves on storage space, and minimizes waste. However, there are risks for potential shortages if you don’t order enough, as typically, JIT inventory is purchased just days before sale.

ABC Inventory Management

By grouping products into categories based on sale volume (A being the most valuable and C the least), businesses can prioritize orders to maximize their stocks based on performance. This is great for analyzing product popularity but is intensive on time. Plus, you run the risk of missing out on new trends as they emerge.  

Consignment

Consignment means taking stock from a wholesaler without taking ownership of it, so you don’t pay until you’ve sold the products. This is good for businesses operating in volatile or uncertain markets as it ties up minimal capital. Plus, because you can return unsold goods without penalty, you can test new products and gather insights on buyer behavior.

Dropshipping and Cross-docking

Dropshipping eliminates warehouse costs as the manufacturer or wholesaler ships directly to your customers. However, if cross-docking is required, it’s not that straightforward. Cross-docking involves unloading from a supplier truck onto your own vehicles for delivery. Depending on your location and distribution radius, this can inflate costs significantly. 

Cycle Counting

Many businesses use cycle counting in combination with other inventory management techniques. By sampling a small amount of stock at regular intervals, you can assess how accurate your inventory records are. This is time and cost-efficient but ultimately less accurate than a full stock check and doesn’t necessarily compensate for seasonal changes in demand. 

How L3 Funding Can Help

Making the move to inventory management software is a big step forward in your company’s growth, and we understand it can be a daunting financial commitment. At L3 Funding, our mission is to give business owners the tools and advice they need to do great things. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you face your inventory management challenges and get the merchant funding you need to easily identify your best-fit products.

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Automotive Business Loans

Auto Repair Shop Business Loan: How to Secure a Loan or Grant

Securing an Auto Repair Shop Business Loan 

If you’re opening an auto repair shop, you probably need a small business loan to manage your cash flow or deal with emergencies. During this guide, we’ll address everything you need to know about the auto repair business loan and grants for auto repair shops.

What Can You Do With an Auto Repair Shop Business Loan?

Automotive business funding can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Purchasing equipment. The barrier to entry in automotive maintenance can be expensive, and this is especially true if you want to be competitive with cutting edge competitors. With mechanic shop financing, you can purchase all of the high-quality equipment that will facilitate you in opening an auto repair shop.
  • Opening the shop. If you’re a trailblazer planning to open your own shop, or if you’re already in a partnership and simply want to take full control, you can use a secured auto repair loan to get the capital car shops require for success.
  • Training and hiring staff. You can also use a personal loan for car repair shops to hire your employees, train them, and pay your employee salaries.

Loan Considerations

When thinking about applying for grant mobile auto repair loans, you should consider the following about your business:

  • Is the money needed right away?
  • Do you need a lump sum, or will installments suffice?
  • What is the entirety of your capital requirement?
  • Do you plan to pay off the loan short term, or do you need more time?

Types of Loans for Auto Repair Shops

Listed below are some of the more common loans for auto repair shops:

Equipment Financing

Equipment financing is the way to go if you’re looking to tool-up your operation from the ground floor. Oftentimes lenders will finance you the entire cost of equipment if you’re able to provide them with an estimate of your costs from a trusted source. One of the major draws to an equipment loan is that it is self-secured, meaning that the collateral and the equipment are considered one in the same. This can be crucial for businesses that are just starting out, as every penny counts, and in most cases new businesses might not have established credit. 

SBA 7(a) Loan

An SBA loan is a great avenue for businesses that already have established their credit, and also don’t need the money immediately. Although these loans are competitive, if you qualify you’ll enjoy many perks including attractive terms, higher loan amounts, low interest rates, and longer payback time frames. These loans also have the luxury of being backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration for up to 85% of the loan amount. 

Bank Term Loan

Bank term loans are issued by a bank and usually have long-term repayment plans, which extend beyond one year. These types of business loans typically come with fixed interest rates, allowing banks to distribute funds in a way similar to business lines of credit. As a business owner, you can use a bank term loan to draw funds as you need them. You must pay a fixed amount based on the remaining balance.

Business Line of Credit

Another option businesses have is a business line of credit. Think of this as somewhat of a hybrid between a credit card and a traditional bank loan. Lines of credit are applied for and approved based on specific criteria, and once you’re approved you can withdraw up to a predetermined amount. You pay interest on any outstanding balance that you carry.  

Business Credit Card

Business credit cards are probably the most similar option to consumer cards, which you’re likely already familiar with. This is a great option for businesses that don’t have a proven track record yet, and they can start small and grow as the business grows. 

Tips for Getting an Auto Repair Business Loan

Even if you are mindful of your spending and also keep a savings account, unforeseen circumstances can lead to a need for additional cash. Keep the following tips in mind when you’re considering a business loan: 

  • Is your credit in good standing?
  • Will a seasonal peak in demand influence your need for capital? 
  • Is liquidity a problem at certain time intervals?
  • What is your operating income each year?
  • How long have you been in business?

Applying for an Auto Repair Shop Business Loan

The application process for auto repair shop loans usually depends on the lender’s requirements. Most lenders require extensive documentation, including proof of income, a business plan, and a list of the current assets in your business. The lender will also check your personal and business credit scores, and they will want to know how long you’ve been in business. Once you have all the documents together, you can start looking into different lenders. 

Keep in mind that applying for a business loan for your auto repair shop isn’t always a quick and easy process, especially if you’re going through a credit union or bank. Many businesses find it faster and simpler to use an online lender or secure a business cash advance.

If you need more advice on getting an auto repair shop business loan, contact L3 Funding for help financing your business.