While debt has proved problematic for bigger companies, it can also be a savior for smaller ones. In the direct-to-consumer horse race, brands are trying to scale faster than their competitors—most companies have turned to selling equity in exchange for money that ends up in marketing or inventory.

But there are only 100 points of a company to sell; soon enough, founders, employees and investors are diluted, which hinders the company’s ability to keep growing profitably. We consider debt as a tool for businesses that can have positive and negative effects—it all depends on how it gets used.

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