Debt Financing: What You Need To Know

4 Mins read
Illustration showing debt financing

If you’re familiar with startups or ever had to raise capital for your business, this is a term you’ve probably come across. If not, you’re in the right place. Here’s all you need to know about debt financing. 

Key takeaways

  1. Debt financing is when a company takes out a loan to finance its operations.
  2. It is one way to raise capital for business.
  3. It can lead to bankruptcy if not properly managed.

What is debt financing?

Debt financing is when a company borrows money to raise capital to finance its operations, usually to be paid back at a later date with interest.

This form of financing typically involves the issuance of debt securities, such as bonds or notes, which can be sold to investors.

How debt financing works

Here, the borrower agrees to make regular payments, typically on a monthly or quarterly basis, to repay the principal amount of the loan plus the interest. The interest rate on the loan is based on the borrower’s creditworthiness and the market conditions at the time of borrowing.

Debt financing can be secured, which means that the borrower pledges collateral as security for the loan. It can also be unsecured, which means that the loan is not backed by any collateral.

Debt financing is a common way for businesses to finance their operations and investments. However, excessive debt can also be a financial burden, as it increases the cost of capital and the risk of default.

Forms of debt financing

Depending on the kind of loan that’s needed, it could be;

  1. Short-term: This means the debt is repaid over a short period, usually within a year or less. Short-term debt financing is usually used for the daily operation of the business. 
  2. Long-term: This is repaid over a longer period, usually up to 10 or more years. Long-term debt financing is used for big projects like purchasing assets like buildings, different types of machinery, gadgets, etc

Types of debt financing 

  • Bank loans
  • Bonds 
  • Debentures 
  • Credit card loans
  • Trade credit
  • Family and friends
  • Instalment purchase, etc

Sources of debt financing

  • Asset managers
  • Private equity firms
  • Financial institutions
  • Individual investors
  • Business development companies

Advantages of debt financing

  1. Retain business ownership: There’s no need to share the ownership of the business with investors.
  2. Low taxes: Debt financing supports deductible taxes on interest payments. Low taxes on your interest make it easier to pay your debt. 
  3. Control business decisions: Control and implementation of business decisions rest with the company despite their debt because they still maintain full ownership. 
  4. Build credit ratings: With a good repayment history, a company can build credit ratings where they build credibility and it’s easier to take loans in future transactions. 

Disadvantages of debt financing

  1. High-interest rates: Depending on how much capital is needed, interest rates may be high and it may affect the cash flow of the company.
  2. Need for steady revenue: There’s always a need for steady income. It doesn’t matter whether the company runs at a profit or loss, it has to pay its debt according to the agreement terms. 
  3. Loss of credit ratings: If a company is unable to pay its debt as when due, it begins to lose credit ratings and that makes it difficult to borrow money subsequently. 
  4. Could lead to bankruptcy: When the debt surpasses the company’s income with no means to pay it back, it could lead to bankruptcy and the closing of the company eventually.

Debt Financing FAQs

Is debt financing a loan?

Yes, debt financing is a loan. It could be from several sources but it is a loan borrowed to raise capital for the company.

What’s the difference between equity and debt financing?

Debt and equity financing are two different ways of raising capital to finance a business. While debt financing involves borrowing money to be paid back with interest at an agreed rate, equity financing is selling a part of the shares of the company to get financial backing. 

Why do companies use debt in capital financing?

A major reason companies prefer to use debt financing to raise capital is to preserve full ownership of the company. This way, they don’t have to share profits with investors or wait on anyone to make important decisions. 

Is debt financing good or bad?

Debt financing can be good if it helps the company to grow but it could be bad if it can’t be paid or the company’s revenue cannot meet up with the interest rates.

Bottom Line 

Debt financing can be a useful tool for businesses and individuals who need to access funds to meet specific needs. However, it is important to carefully consider the terms and conditions of the loan before committing, as it can have long-term financial implications.

Financial modelling can help put things in perspective and influence how decisions are made. Before you decide to go into debt financing or not, it is also important to seek advice from a financial advisor.

Got questions or thoughts? Share with us in the comments.


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