Debt Financing 101 for B2B SaaS Entrepreneurs

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Aug 31, 2023 · by Alisher Akbarov
Debt Financing 101 for B2B SaaS Entrepreneurs

For B2B SaaS entrepreneurs, fueling business growth is a top priority. And one way to achieve it is through debt financing. By strategically leveraging debt, SaaS companies can access much-needed capital to drive their businesses forward. In this article, we will talk about the fundamentals of debt financing for B2B SaaS entrepreneurs and how to leverage debt financing to accelerate business growth and increase revenue. 

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Contents:

What is Debt Financing? 

Debt financing is the practice of raising capital by borrowing money from external sources, such as banks or investors, with the obligation to repay the borrowed amount over time, usually with interest. 

Unlike equity financing, where ownership stakes are given in exchange for funding, debt financing allows entrepreneurs to retain complete control over their business while accessing the necessary funds. If you are a B2B SaaS entrepreneur, who is looking to expand the businesses, debt financing can be a practical option to support your growth objectives.

How it Works

These are the main steps for securing capital with debt financing:

  1. First, identify your funding needs and determine the amount required to achieve your business goals. 
  2. Then, approach lenders to present your business plan, financial forecasts, and other relevant information to convince them of the viability of your business. 
  3. If approved, you receive the agreed-upon loan amount. 
  4. You make regular payments until the loan is fully repaid. The interest rate applied to the borrowed amount is determined by your creditworthiness, market conditions, and the terms negotiated

Types of Debt Financing

When it comes to debt financing, you have several options to explore. The most common types of debt financing include bank loans, lines of credit, and convertible notes. 

  • Bank loans are a traditional form of financing where you borrow a specific amount from a bank and repay it over a predetermined period with interest. 
  • Lines of credit provide you with a pre-approved credit limit that you can draw from as needed. It is a flexible option for managing short-term cash flow instabilities. Lines of credit include recurring revenue lending, usually used by SaaS companies, as it funds businesses based on their MRR or ARR.
  • Convertible notes are often used in startup environments. These notes start as debt but have the potential to be converted into equity at a later stage. 
  • Asset-based loans are when you use your assets, such as inventory, equipment, or accounts receivable, as collateral to secure the loan. This allows you to access capital based on the value of the assets. 
  • Peer-to-peer lending is a form of debt financing where you borrow money directly from individual lenders through online platforms like KickStarter and GoFundMe. P2P lending allows your B2B SaaS business to access funding from a diverse pool of individual lenders.

How to calculate Cost of Debt

Cost of debt is the interest you pay on all loans your business has taken out.

Formula: Total interest / total debt = cost of debt

Let’s say you have these two debts:

a bank loan: $150,000 with interest rate 4.5% and

a business credit card: $7,000 with interest rate 21%.

First, we count total interest:

$150,000 * 4.5% = $6,750

$7,000 * 21% = $1,470

$6,750 + $1,470 = $8,220

Next, add up all your debts:

$150,000 + $7,000 = $157,000

Last, divide your total interest number by your total debt.

$8,220/$157,000 = 0.052

5.2% is your cost of debt.

Now, let’s count your cost of debt after taxes.

Formula: Cost of debt * (1 – tax rate)

Let’s say you have a 21% corporate tax rate (US).

5.2% (or 0.052) * (1-0.21) = 0.041 or 4.1%

So, after tax savings, your cost of debt is 4.1%.

Common Misconceptions About Debt Financing

There is a number of misconceptions about debt finance:

  1. Borrowing is not profitable

Strategic borrowing boosts sales, expands customer base, and drives profits. Missing investment opportunities hinder business growth. 

  1. Debt is expensive

Well, consider the cost of not borrowing. Nonetheless, before choosing a debt option, remember to assess fees like arrangement, early repayment, or exit fees. 

  1. Debt funding is a last resort

Loans are often misunderstood as solely representing debt, but they are essential funding tools for business success. Overcoming the loan-debt stigma creates opportunities and fuels growth for successful operations.

  1. Banks are the only place

Don’t forget to explore other lenders who offer competitive rates, quicker funding, and less paperwork. Consider options like Enterprise Guarantee loans or peer-to-peer lenders.

  1. Start-ups can’t get funding

Securing financing for a start-up can be challenging but not impossible. Options include crowdfunding, small business credit cards, and government start-up loans.

  1. No financing with a low credit score

A bad credit score limits finance options, but it doesn’t eliminate them entirely. Credit checks assess personal and business scores, though some options prioritize business revenues over credit.

  1. Debt has to be secured

It is not always obligatory. Lenders typically evaluate the need for security on a case-by-case basis, considering perceived risk and the type of loan facility. 

Pros and Cons

Debt financing has both advantages and disadvantages to consider:

Pros of debt financing: 

  • You retain complete ownership and control over your business while accessing the necessary funds.
  • You have a predictable repayment schedule, making it easier to manage cash flow and plan for the future. 
  • The interest payments on debt financing may be tax-deductible, bringing potential tax benefits for the business. 

Cons of debt financing:

  • You must make regular debt payments, which can strain cash flow, especially during challenging periods
  • Securing debt financing often requires providing collateral or personal guarantees. 
  • Failure to meet debt obligations can lead to damaged credit ratings or the loss of collateral. 

Preparing for ‌Debt Financing

Proper preparation is crucial when considering debt financing as a B2B SaaS entrepreneur. 

  1. First of all, you should have a clear understanding of your business’s financials, including revenue streams, expenses, and forecasts. Lenders will assess these financials to determine the business’s ability to repay the debt. 
  2. You should have a good business plan that outlines growth strategies and demonstrates the potential for success. 
  3. You should review the company’s credit history and ensure it is in good standing, as this can affect the terms and interest rates offered. 
  4. If collateral is required, it should be identified and appraised. 
  5. Research different lenders and compare their terms and conditions to find the best fit for the business’s needs. 
  6. Finally, be prepared to negotiate terms and have a repayment plan in place to demonstrate your commitment and ability to meet their obligations. 

Leveraging Debt Financing to Accelerate Growth

Infographic representing funding options by stages of company growth. Bootstrapped and blended companies use debt capital.

aircfo.com

Debt financing can be a powerful tool for growth acceleration of your B2B SaaS business. By accessing additional capital through debt financing, you can invest in key areas such as: 

  • product development and innovation,
  • infrastructure and technology investment,
  • marketing and sales expansion,
  • new markets exploration,
  • talent acquisition and team expansion.

The infusion of funds enables your SaaS business to scale more rapidly and gain a competitive edge. Debt financing can provide the necessary resources to seize growth opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach due to limited cash flow. 

Furthermore, the structured repayment schedule of debt allows you to plan and budget accordingly, helping financial stability and ensuring timely progress towards achieving growth targets. 

However, it is crucial to carefully assess your business’s capacity to manage the debt and the associated interest payments without compromising the financial health of your company. 

An Alternative

If you still have doubts about traditional debt financing, an alternative option to consider is revenue financing. With revenue financing, instead of making fixed installment payments, you pay a percentage of your monthly revenue to the lender. This approach provides more flexibility and aligns the repayment schedule with the company’s cash flow. By tying loan repayments to revenue, you can manage the debt more effectively during periods of unstable income. 

Conclusion

By leveraging debt financing effectively, B2B SaaS entrepreneurs can access the capital needed to accelerate growth, expand business, and gain a competitive edge in the market. However, it is vital to carefully evaluate the financial implications and consider the specific needs and circumstances of the business. 

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Amal Abdullaev

Co-founder at Comfi

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Alisher Akbarov

Alisher Akbarov

Co-founder, COO

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