Money: every business needs it at some point or another. When you’re expanding at the rate of the companies on the PROFIT 500, securing reliable (and sufficient) capital can be a major undertaking. Here, the leaders of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies reveal some of the tips, tactics and strategies they used to fund their (significant) growth:

“A good solid honest open relationship with your bank is number one. And then having a backup bank, number two, just to keep your primary bank honest.”
—Derek McGeachie, CEO, Mi5 Print & Digital Communications (No. 125)

“When you’re talking with the banks, remember: you’re the customer. Too many small businesses walk in to a small bank with their tail between their legs, almost begging for money. I always have the mentality that ‘I’m the customer, so I’m going to have you work for me.’ And that can make a big difference.”
—Steve Bosman, president, MSW Canadian Plastics Inc. (No. 50)

“I recommend BDC, because they are pro-business and they are far more forgiving in terms of whatever situations you might be going through than a street bank.”
—Chandra Clarke, president, Scribendi Inc. (No. 227)

Cash management is the single most important tactic. Keep a very close eye on your accounts receivable and negotiate the best terms possible at all times. Stretch out your payables without compromising your relationships with your suppliers. By keeping this mantra, we have been able to self-finance many of our acquisitions.”
—Isabelle Graveline, president, Kilmarnock Enterprise (No. 486)

Paying your bills on a timely basis pays huge dividends when things tighten up. Based on excellent payment history, vendors were willing to extend credit terms when times were tougher based on our previous credit history.”
—Brad Sparkman, president, Innovative Finishing Solutions Inc. (No. 493)

Don’t spend what you don’t have.”
—Vincent Fiore, president & CEO, Partners in Credit Inc. (No. 313)

Our credit union was instrumental in getting us started. It had a more realistic approach to financing vs. chartered banks in the early going. It recognized our capital constraints and worked with us.”
—Matt Mould, president, Sport Systems Canada Inc. (No. 354)

“Find a bank that actually understands your business.”
—David Urquhart-Knopf, CEO, Cue Digital Media Inc. (No. 21)

“Make sure your numbers are solid, and don’t try to fool a bank. Good numbers and a strong track record will put you in good with any chartered bank.”
—Kevin Harding, president, Cornerstone Courier Inc. (No. 442)

“Become best friends with your banker. You need a partner in your bank to help build and grow your business. Take them out to lunch. Get to know them and they will work hard for you.”
—Alina Martin, president and CEO, Danatec Educational Services Ltd. (No. 472)

“Personally, I hate bank debt. In some ways it’s good, but once you start you’re paying interest. As a growing company, that’s risky.”
—Andrew Ryu, CEO, Loyalist Group Ltd. (No. 3)

“If you can get yourself off the ground, the government has good tax-credit programs to keep you going. It’s tactical money, not strategic, but if you’re bootstrapping it’s great.”
—Jason Flick, CEO and co-founder, You.i (No. 75)

“The SR&ED program is a huge advantage for Canadian companies. It means we can actually go and invest in technology, in research and in leading-edge technology and get a significant cash return from that investment. In virtually every other country that I know of, you put in investment dollars and it’s gone. It’s risky. We’ve utilized SR&ED since the inception of the company and it’s been very, very productive and useful for us.”
—Patrick Payne, CEO, QuickMobile (No. 5)

“We’ve used everything. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to use angel investors, that’s the way to go. At the very start if you can get angel financing and prove your concept and then go to the banks you’ll end up with a much better valuation.”
—Phil Marleau, CEO, IOU Financial Inc. (No. 31)

List the company publicly. If you do it properly and you run your business well, it essentially gives you infinite access to capital. On a practical level, you can raise more money than you need.”
—Alexander Fernandes, founder, president, CEO and chairman of the board, Avigilon Corp. (No. 13)

“We bootstrapped the company by making early revenue and re-investing on short positive ROI cycles. If you can avoid taking money from investors early on, do it, but make sure you know when and if you need external capital to grow.”
—Ryan Marien, co-founder and CEO, Buytopia (No. 11)

“It’s always important to have skin in the game. It’s important to invest your own capital initially or in development phases, because it means you’ll work hard to protect your investment. That, in turn, attracts other investors to the table. It leads you to well-thought-out decisions and due diligence. It might cause you to be more conservative, but on the balance it signifies that you’re fully invested into the success of the business.”—Cameron Taylor, CEO, OUTDOORsmart! Inc. (No. 274)

Self-funding is my number one tip. I dropped out of school and didn’t have any money. I started roofing with $15,000 in personal savings. The discipline is takes to self-fund transfers in every aspect of the business. Also when it’s self-funded the stresses of lent money aren’t there. I can sleep better at night.”
—Eric Gilbert-Williams, founder and CEO, The Roof Hospital (No. 20)

“I’d recommend credit cards—as long as you have a healthy cash flow. We use them strategically. We (my senior team and I) travel lot and use the points earned on our credit cards strategically to pay for those types of trips. We play 80% of suppliers with credit cards to reap reward points. I don’t like to spend a dollar without getting something in return.”
—Claudio David, president, Office Coffee Solutions Ltd. (No. 223)

“I would suggest every single source that you can get your hands on. Period.”
—Brad Nathan, president, Lynx Equity Ltd. (No. 46)

Click here for the complete 2014 PROFIT 500

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