What would make securing financing even more difficult? If your identity has been stolen.
Tess Winningham's company, Alignment Simple Solutions, which makes portable wheel alignment systems for large and small vehicles, is making money. She counts $400,000 in 2014 sales, with just four employees, and projects that she and her husband can increase the company's profit margins by 15 percent, if they buy more labor parts (cases, gauges, and machinery). Their roadblock (no pun intended), however, is their inability to get funding from traditional banks because their identities were previously stolen--by Winningham's daughter.
Winningham appears as the featured entrepreneur on today's episode of Ask Marcus Lemonis, a weekly Inc.com video series in which a business owner has the opportunity to ask Marcus Lemonis--CEO of Camping World, and star of CNBC's hit TV series The Profit--one question about an urgent business challenge.
"At this point, with the identity theft, what is the best [funding] option? Do we give up equity? Do we look at alternative funding?" she asks.
Lemonis isn't too concerned about Winningham's ability to raise money, though he concedes that she'll have to go to non-traditional partners. More pressing, he says, is that her price points--ranging from $219 to $500 per system--are unjustifiably high: "The price point is such that [the system] should solve the problem, not diagnose the problem," he warns.
He adds that Winningham shouldn't hesitate to bring on a partner with an equity stake in the company--and what's more, that she should be looking for someone with industry expertise, in addition to capital.
For more on the characteristics of an ideal funding partner, watch the episode above.